Reasons why I let plants go to flower
I have learned a lot about pollinators and beneficial insects over the past 4 years. I always knew that honey bees are good and they make honey. But that was all. It was after I started gardening that I realized that plants and bugs go together. If there are enough bad bugs, good bugs will come along and try to control that population. Pollinators on the other hand will come if there is food in your garden for them.
Each year I plant more perennial plants that will feed pollinators, attract predatory insects and even repel bad bugs. They also add beauty to the landscape.
Some people may not know this but lots of annual plants (lettuce, spinach, radishes, cilantro, ect) if allowed to go to flower will attract many insects. In the early summer before the flowers start to bloom, bolting annual plants might be the only source of food many insects have available.
For example, if cilantro is allowed to flower it will attract hoverflies and ladybugs. Plus you get coriander seeds when the flowers mature! Parsley flowers will also attract hoverflies.
Lettuce, brocolli, radishes, chard, collards, kale, and chives will attract pollinators like honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies and wasps. Wasps are also predatory insects since they will eat bad bugs. Last year when we had horrible infestation of bean beetles, we saw all types of wasps going in and out of the bean plants.
There is also another great benefit when you let plants go to flower. Seeds! Any plant that is grown from an open pollinated seed will produce seeds that can be replanted. I "try" to buy as many heirloom or open pollinated seeds as I can for this reason. Saving seeds is a wonderful way to save money. I have also noticed that the saved seeds perform way better than brand new seeds. The reason is plants adapt to your environment and each generation will perform better than the last.
I love letting many annual plants go to seed. It provides food for pollinators, attracts beneficial insects and provides seeds for next year!
Don't be in a rush to pull those bolting plants out just yet!