With the development of the seed stalk
, lettuce leaves become bitter and tough, so the aim is to have a lettuce crop ready to harvest before or after the heat of summer.
When Nantes and Imperator are grown for seed in a hot, dry climate like the research team's central California study site, they need about 22 to 25 inches of water from the time they are planted until seed from the almost-white, umbrella-shaped king umbel - the uppermost flower cluster atop the seed stalk
- and lesser umbels beneath it matures.
A wide variety of sizes will grow onions the next year but as they get larger they are more apt to send up a seed stalk
, and the smallest will have a harder time getting going and making a good sized bulb, plus they don't keep as well.
Unfortunately, it wants to grow a seed stalk
while I still want leaves.
Plant them early in the spring and they will soon start growing a seed stalk
. I assume it would work to carefully place a plastic shopping bag over the seed stalk
, fasten it underneath so the seeds won't fall to the ground and cut the stalk.
The seed stalk
probably does take some of the energy from the bulb, but the real problem is that it doesn't tighten up as well as the others, so it won't store as long.
Production of a seed stalk
indicates the plant received an adequate winter chill for six to eight weeks (above 32 [degrees] F and below 50 [degrees] F) and thus will produce a segmented bulb.
The vigorous plants can reach four to five feet in height with the seed stalk
extending up another two to three feet.
An additional note on head lettuce is that you may need to cut an "X" into the head, allowing for the emergence of the seed stalk
. A single lettuce plant may produce up to 30,000 seeds, therefore one or two plants is more than enough for seed production.
The plants are hurrying to send up their seed stalks
to produce seeds before time runs out.
Remove them by plucking the weed before it forms seed stalks
. This weed also happens to be edible.
Cut off seed stalks
unless you are leaving them for the birds or as a design feature for the winter.