And by three months into the growing season, we’re starting not to care. We get lazy and end up with messy gardens. The tomatoes start to get yellowed leaves, the phlox is covered in powdery mildew and the lettuce has bolted to the point of being 2’ high. This is where being a lazy gardener comes in handy.
Let me backtrack for a second and explain what bolting is. Certain plants, as you probably know, grow well in hot weather, and other plants grow well in cold weather. Tomatoes, peppers, squash and zucchini are all examples of plants that thrive in the heat and shrivel up in the cold. Kale, cabbage, broccoli and greens, on the other hand, are the exact opposite. They thrive in cooler weather and die in the heat.
When the weather gets too warm, these plants, and it’s especially noticeable with lettuces, sense their growing conditions aren’t optimal and get the urge to reproduce before they die. So they “bolt”, meaning they grow a tall stalk and put out flowers. These flowers then turn into seeds or seed pods. The lettuce has accomplished its goal. Before it has died, it has produced seeds for the next generation.