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How to Prevent Herbs from Bolting in the Garden

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Prevent Herbs Bolting

Herbs bolt about this time in our summer gardens. Managing a bolting herb is a fairly simple process. We all want more of these plants. Because herbs are the secret ingredient which helps food taste better.

Bolting is when your herbs set flower, then stop flowering and begin seed production. It is the transformational process whereby plants move from flower production to seed production. When herbs and vegetables bolt they sometimes lose or change flavor, the stems get long or gangling, and the plant will begin to slowly decline and lose production. While you cannot permanently prevent bolting, there are some tips to help you keep your herb or vegetable plants in production for a longer period of time.

4 Smart Tips to Prevent Herbs Bolting

  1. Harvest herbs often – Harvesting frequently, means you consistently trim off developing stems and flowers which will be a part of the bolt process. Simply trim off the top of the plant.
  2. Trim off herb flower buds – Cut the flowers off as soon as the bud is formed. When buds form, then open, the flavor of the herb foliage often changes.
  3. Fertilize your herbs – Organic fertilizer with a strong nitrogen and lower phosphorus content can encourage more leaf and less flowering production. Herbs need stronger leaf production, so try fertilizing as the season advances.
  4. Keep herbs cool – Mulching and covering the plant with a 30% shade awning in late summer can help stop a hard bolt. Heat will trigger a faster bolt. Therefore, make sure the plant stays cool. If the herb is in a container you can move the container to a shady area to prevent herbs bolting.

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Specific Plants in this Mixed Herb Garden

In this lovely summer elevated bed garden, I have planted a wide selection of mixed annuals and herbs. Flowering annuals in this elevated bed benefit from regular dead-heading. Herbs setting flower will also need to be trimmed back occasionally to prevent herbs bolting.

Watch this quick video sponsored by the Wave Petunia company and learn how you can help prevent your herbs from bolting. How to Prevent Herbs from Bolting in the Garden video here –

Want Pollinators in Your Garden? This is when NOT to Prevent Herbs Bolting

Pollinators are beneficial for your garden and community. Attracting positive pollinators into your garden regularly can improve the health of your plants. It also promotes positive pollinator activity in your neighborhood. I always leave a few plants wild; freely forming flowers and setting seed so that there are more flowering plants in my garden. Herbs often have lovely flowers which are well-adored by pollinators. Of course it is important to prevent herbs bolting within your garden to extend the life of your herbs. It is also important to support your local pollinators by giving them a little flower love.

Grow herbs in your garden. They can be the joy that is on your dinner plate and also a therapeutic scented wonderland for your friends and family.

Prevent Herbs Bolting
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