The Q&A Archives: Flowering Lettuce

Question: Hi, I'm an amateur gardener and, call me stupid, but I don't know what to do with my lettuce. 3 of them are flowering and I'm not sure what I do now. The plants are about a year old, and I suppose it's about time they've flowered. They are Indian Mustard plants, for our tortoise. Can I do anything with the seeds? Do I trim the plant, or what?

Answer: Annuals are plants whose life cycle (vegetative growth, bloom, seed set) is completed in a single growing season. The plant dies at the end of the cycle and a new generation begins with seed germination. Mustard is an annual plant and it thrives in cool temperatures. So now that it's getting warm, it is "bolting," a term used for plants that develop their flower stalk and go to seed. You can save the seeds to sow again next fall. You can keep the plant going as long as possible, and then pull it out, but greens don't make it through the summer here. Pruning off the flower stalk will prolong it briefly. Greens usually get bitter when they start to bolt, although I don't know if the tortoise will notice or not!

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