Flowering plants are fantastic because we get to see the fruit come out shortly thereafter. This applies to fruit trees and much of our produce like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, among others.
When it comes to veggies like lettuce, cilantro, parsley, ect. the flowering means that the end of life for that plant has been reached. This is not a bad thing, it's simply how nature works.
Flowering is how these plants produce their seeds for future generations. For example, when lettuce goes to seed it will no longer look leafy and green. The lettuce leaves will grow smaller as the plant deprives the leaves of nutrients and dedicates all of it's energy to creating the best possible flowers with the best possible seeds.
During the Tours we offer we explain this process, what to do during this time frame and how to collect and store the seeds.
To collect the seeds simply wait until the flowers have died off, cut the stem and place them in a container or paper bag. Shake vigorously to loosen any debris. Then place them on a paper plate and carefully hold it up to a breeze. The lighter debris will simply fly away and what remains are the seeds. Store in an airtight container or plant the next generation right away.
This deprivation of nutrients will also happen with cilantro, parsley and even basil. This is something natural that happens in order for that plant to continue to live on thru it's seeds. From one lettuce plant we could have several hundred seeds to even a thousand of them. If you are patient enough to harvest them, then you will not need to buy those seeds for your next planting. Please note that if you have several varieties of lettuce growing that go to seed simultaneously the next generation seed may have cross pollinated and may not be true to the parent plant.
When our lettuce, cilantro and a other plants go to flower, we no longer harvest from them. This means that we continue harvesting from other areas of the farm. In order to withstand this down turn in production we rely on our propagation system in which we plant every variety we bring to the farmers market monthly. This approach helps us have steady produce for our customers and also helps us replace any diseased plants.
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