If you want to grow the plant from a seed, bury the seeds in flats or cell trays from a half to three quater inches deep and at a spacing of two to three inches in a controlled environment like a greenhouse. Arrange them in rows that are three to six inches apart.
The seeds absolutely must be kept moist and warm or they won't germinate. Usually four to six weeks growing time is necessary before transplanting them into your garden but it varies a bit depending upon the variety.
Soil conditions: Growing cauliflower requires a slightly acid
soil with a pH of approximately 6.5. Till the soil to a depth of 10
inches and add manure or compost and
organic vegetable fertilizer.
The transplanted seedlings need to be set 18 inches apart in rows spaced
30 inches apart. Also, care should be taken to prevent the
leaves from wilting since this will damage the plant.
After initially watering the sets, cover them with mulch to retain the moisture. Growing cauliflower requires one inch of water per week.
Also, cauliflower needs to be in full sun for at least six hours per day,
however too much heat or cold will seriously affect the quality of the
Add a organic fertilizer every three to four weeks during the growing of the plant and weed around
them very carefully and only when necessary to prevent root damage.
Whether caused by temperature extremes or drought, anything that halts the growth of
the plant will have a negative impact upon head development.
Growing Cauliflower In The Garden
Growing cauliflower plants need to be blanched to protect the head from the sun. Blanching involves tying the outer leaves
over the head of the plant when the it is about three inches wide. Failure to
do this will result in the head from turning yellow or green and
acquiring a bitter
Harvesting cauliflower: Harvest when the head is approximately
six inches in diameter. This should occur within two weeks of blanching
but you will need to untie
the leaves and check the growth of the curd every couple of days.
Cooler weather could increase this time and warmer weather decrease it.
If you do not
pick the cauliflower in time, the head will begin to turn to seed. When
the head is compact and firm, harvest it by simply cutting the main
Depending upon the variety, your cauliflower should be ready for
harvesting in 50 to 70 days.
Pests and Diseases
Some common natural enemies of growing cauliflower affect the curds and sometimes the leaves of the plant. The Imported Cabbage Worm
hatches from eggs
deposited on the plants by the Small White Cabbage butterfly. When the
eggs hatch, the worms attack the heads. Sometimes covers may prevent the
from laying their eggs and insecticides will kill the worms.
Cabbage Looper moths also lay eggs on the plant, which hatch to feed on the curds. The
Diamond Back Moth is another predator that lays eggs on the underside of the leaves. The larvae feed on the leaves.
The disease known as Brown Head is
caused by sunlight on the wet curd that forms a mildew that will curtail head growth.
Different varieties may be easier to grow under different conditions and
in different areas. Some of the different types include:
- Purple Cauliflower - Though its origin is
not certain, the coloration is natural and not scientifically or
genetically induced. The same antioxidant that is found in red wine,
anthocyanin, causes the pigmentation.
- All Year Round - This plant my be grown from
winter to spring and is ready for harvest in 70 days. It may also be
planted in the fall and is relatively easy to cultivate.
- Winter Aalsmeer - This cold hardy cauliflower is noted for producing large curds.
- Self Blanching - This type of cauliflower has leaves that curl to cover the young curds.
- Sunset F1 - With orange curds, this plant is sometimes harvested early as a baby vegetable.
- Emeraude F1 - Another hybrid with green curds, it is ready for harvesting from late summer to autumn.
The harvesting and planting schedules for growing cauliflower greatly varies depending on the climate of the growing region.
You can buy cauliflower seeds here
Successfully growing cauliflower requires the proper conditions.
You should test your soil to be certain of the proper pH and adjust your
the growing cycle. Moisture is vital to the sustained growth of the
plants, and the proper temperature range is critical. This is not a
plant it and forget
it crop, but with care, you can grow large healthy cauliflower.
Photo: Linda N.
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