Cauliflower

Overview

Cauliflower is an annual crop hardy to light frost and freezes. Brassica Root plants are one of the primary causes of Clubroot and other soil-borne diseases. Brassica remains should NEVER be composted, or it will spread disease.


Cauliflower is a plant with a central flower head and large bluish-green leaves. The size of the head is directly determined by how close together the plants are. The head is historically turned white by sun bleaching, but when the head starts to form, you should use some string and leaves to cover the fruit to prevent direct line of sight from the sun.


The trickiest part of this process is to keep it growing as you transplant it outdoors. Cauliflower does best in a long, fresh, sunny season with ample moisture. When the center grows into a ball the size of an apple, tie the leaves loosely with twine. Doing this should cause the head to bleach white within 1-2 weeks.


When to Plant

Cauliflower can be hard to grow as an early spring crop due to bolting in warm weather. Cooler weather in the fall is much more beneficial for planting. However, it's the most susceptible to the frost of all the Brassica breeds. Do not transplant outdoors until the danger of frost is over for the season. The tricky part of this is having the plants mature before the heat of the season hits. For the fall crop, try to start your seedlings to be ready to transplant in late July. Allow at least 2-3 months of growing time before the first frost.


How to Plant

Plant cauliflower in rows between 2 1/2-3', with 2' between plants. When you transplant is sure to plant them about 1" deeper than they were in their seedling pots and cover them with netting to protect them from pests.


How to Harvest

Your Cauliflower should be ready to harvest in approximately 60-80 days from your transplant date. When the head has formed and blanched, it should be cut off with a sharp knife with several leaves for protection. The head should look full but do not expect to harvest a final product the same size as what you would find in the supermarket. Try to collect the crown when the curds are smooth. When they ripen, cut them off and store them for up to several weeks. If you leave the ripened heads, the entire plant will rot and deteriorate rapidly.


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