Bolting & Buttoning in Cole Crop Plants


Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are cole crops that have a tendency to bolt (go to seed) or button (produce an extremely small head) if plants are not grown properly. These crops need to be kept actively growing through their production cycle. If they slow down due to underfertilization or are stunted due to overgrowing their container, buttoning or bolting is more likely. If you are not growing your own but rather selecting plants from a retailer, choose small, stocky dark green plants. Even after transplanting, these plants need to be well-fertilized. Fertilize at transplanting with a starter solution and continue to fertilize every 2 to 3 weeks until harvest. Both buttoning and bolting are irreversible. Once a seed stalk starts for form, nothing can be done to force the plant to produce a normal crop.

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