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How to force bolting

 
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Put in "Force (enter plant type here) to bolt," and you'll get lots or advice about what NOT to do. i.e., how to PREVENT bolting. Search engine algorithms seem to have no criteria for "This is a non-standard request, dig deeper."

This year I grew turnips for the first time, so I need them to go to seed and I'm not at all sure what their winter survival is like. Last time my beets went to seed (I'm still using those seeds) I got seeds from seedlings that bolted in early spring after a late hard freeze. The beets I'd left in the ground over the winter didn't make it. I haven't been able to get beets to seed since then.

So I want to force both turnips and beets to bolt now, for a fall seeding. I'll still leave some in the ground for next spring, but I want to make sure I get seeds since my seeds for both are limited.

I put some of the largest beets in the refrigerator and will take them out and replant in a few weeks. Are there other things I can try?
 
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I've found not wanting them to bolt typically works. Barring that, I believe adverse conditions typically cause bolting. I know some plants, if uprooted, will spend the remainder of their energy producing seed rather than trying to prolong their own life, in order to help ensure the survival of the species.

I believe a lot of plants go by length of days and temperature to determine when to bolt.
 
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there are too many factors to answer this question as every plant is individual.

Many Veggies bolt when it gets too hot (Lettuce, Cabbages etc) others will just drop their flowers (Peppers etc)
Many trees do a last blooming before they die
Others need shorter daylight hrs like cannabis
and also dormancy periods are playing a huge rule to set flowers...

the question is what plant you want to force to produce seeds?
 
Lauren Ritz
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See Hes wrote:the question is what plant you want to force to produce seeds?

Beets and turnips.
 
See Hes
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Well that's easy.

Heat, they do not like heat and I am very surprised that you can grow them in Utah.
Here in Thailand I tried with a lot of varieties to get some Turnips but bigger than a little root till potato size was not under the leaf before they bolted.

Beets can take more heat but grow a woody heart before they bolt, they need more time.
 
Lauren Ritz
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I hadn't thought of heat, but it was well over 100 degrees (37 degrees C) here last week. I'll keep an eye on them.

We grow beets regularly.
 
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I read that you can get seeds from beets in their second season.  I did not go to the website but it was:

sowtrueseed at .com

I used "how to make beets go to seed" in google.  
 
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Beets usually make a big root the first year, then seed the second year.

I think if you try to force them to bolt the first year, it won't be terribly successful. And the few that you do succeed with will then be far more likely to have offspring that bolt easily instead of putting their effort into making a root. You'd be effectively selecting for not producing the root. Which might not be what you want long term!
 
Lauren Ritz
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Anne Miller wrote:I read that you can get seeds from beets in their second season.  I did not go to the website but it was:

sowtrueseed at .com

I used "how to make beets go to seed" in google.  

Yes, beets are biennial, as are turnips. The word "forcing" refers to making them bolt out of their usual time period. I'll be leaving a few in the soil over winter, and keeping more inside to be replanted in the spring, but I would feel much more comfortable if I had a few seeds in case those fail, which is entirely possible.
 
Lauren Ritz
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Burra Maluca wrote:Beets usually make a big root the first year, then seed the second year.

I think if you try to force them to bolt the first year, it won't be terribly successful. And the few that you do succeed with will then be far more likely to have offspring that bolt easily instead of putting their effort into making a root. You'd be effectively selecting for not producing the root. Which might not be what you want long term!

Not long term, no. This is an attempt to make sure I get seeds if the other processes fail. I haven't been able to get beet seeds for years, and then it was a few that bolted after a deep freeze. Those I've kept over the winter never succeeded, and those left in the ground survived but rotted in the spring.

Turnips I've never done before, so I don't know their winter habits.
 
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Lauren Ritz wrote:...... This is an attempt to make sure I get seeds if the other processes fail. I haven't been able to get beet seeds for years, and then it was a few that bolted after a deep freeze. .....



The few that bolted after the deep freeze is likely the angle you want to follow up on and modify for your desired objectives.

A possible good source of information for your interests is here:

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/bolting-in-spring-vegetables

From the text:  "Growers have the luxury of planting most vegetable crops on an annual basis, timed to avoid conditions that cause bolting, but some early seeded and transplanted crops may experience (bolt-inducing) conditions. Flowering in most winter annual and biennial plants is influenced by complex interactions between temperature, daylength and stresses of various kinds. Among these, periods of cool temperatures during early growth, followed by long daylight hours are often the most important determinant of unwanted bolting in vegetables."

One other thing worth trying, Lauren, and it may be too late in the season, but possibly worth a shot is to grab some beet or brassica seed now and place half in moist paper towel in your fridge and the other half leave dry in the freezer......Let the fridge set stay there for 2 weeks and the freezer set stay for 3-4 days.  Once you remove the freezer set of seeds from the freezer, place the dry seeds in moist paper towel and put into fridge until the fridge set are done.  Then plant both side by side as an experiment.  If they emerge at this time of year in your location in Utah and are able to grow, it's hopeful (not definite) that many will advance to bolting rather quickly.  Worth trying if you want to get some information from this planting year.....and hoping others with more understanding can chime in on the discussion.
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