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Bolting greens - keep the seeds?

 
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Summer is finally here in Transylvania and my leafy greens (chard, mustards, salad, lamb’s lettuce) and some carrots have bolted. I was thinking of allowing the plants to re-seed themselves and collect some of the seeds.

But I have been wondering, will there be any genetic issue with the new plants, that will make them predisposed to bolting? What is your experience with this?
 
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In general, if you save seeds from bienials, during their first season (carrots, chard) you will be selecting for offspring that don't produce their normally harvested food crop. If it's their second season, then no worries.

Annuals are great for seed saving. If you collect seed from the last plants to flower, you will be selecting for slow-bolting.
 
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The mustard is fine to let to go to seed. By "salad" do you mean lettuce? If so it's fine to let lettuce go to seed.
 
Ana Grama
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Thanks for the answer! I am a bit confused though, this chard is in its first year and I did harvest leaves from it. If this first year chard reseeds, would I not be able to consume the leaves from it?



Joseph Lofthouse wrote:In general, if you save seeds from bienials, during their first season (carrots, chard) you will be selecting for offspring that don't produce their normally harbested food crop. If it's their second season, then no worries.

Annuals are great for seed saving. If you collect seed from the last plants to flower, you will be selecting for slow-bolting.

 
pollinator
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I save seed from lettuces and always end up with far more than I need - cue constantly-expanding salad beds! Some of the seed will fall and regrow, next season, without intervention.

Nice tips about slow-bolting selection. I think I've done this by accident as I usually wait until I've eaten the rest before thinking about seed-saving!
 
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When I save seeds from annuals, I look for the best producing, least bitter, and latest bolting. It's not always an easy combination. I've culled whole types of mustards that were bitter so that they don't contribute pollen to other non-bitter mustards. Interestingly enough, the bitter mustards grow the best. Probably the bugs don't like the bitterness but neither do I.

I've eaten leaves from plants that have bolted but it's probably best to let them put everything into seed. Once something is tagged as a seed producer, I tend to leave it alone to do it's job.
 
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Ana Grama wrote:Thanks for the answer! I am a bit confused though, this chard is in its first year and I did harvest leaves from it. If this first year chard reseeds, would I not be able to consume the leaves from it?



Joseph Lofthouse wrote:In general, if you save seeds from bienials, during their first season (carrots, chard) you will be selecting for offspring that don't produce their normally harbested food crop. If it's their second season, then no worries.

Annuals are great for seed saving. If you collect seed from the last plants to flower, you will be selecting for slow-bolting.



When a leafy green plant goes to seed, the plant either stops growing new leaves altogether or the leaves get smaller, tougher, more bitter, etc. By saving seed from your bolting in its first year chard, you'll be increasing the chances that your future chard will go to seed in its first year, leaving you with a smaller, not so tasty harvest.  You might rather save seed from chard that has a year where it produces lots of leaves, then goes to seed in the second year.
 
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