Growing Cauliflower

Growing Cauliflower requires at least 65 days of cool frost free weather.

In most parts of the country this is usually in the fall.

If the spring weather warms to quickly the cauliflower will not make heads.

The newer varieties of cauliflower are bred to with stand stressful conditions and warmer weather.

These varieties can make is easier for the home gardener to grow cauliflower in the backyard.

Cauliflower varieties come in colors of white, purple, green and yellow orange.

Choose a variety that is right for your weather conditions.

Plant several varieties in the spring and the fall to determine which ones best suit your area.

Photo by Etbe

Photo by NellieBly

Planting Cauliflower

Growing cauliflower needs fertile moist soil for good development. Compost and well rotted animal manures are the best fertilizers. Work them into the soil in the fall or spring.

Start seed indoors 6 to 8 weeks before you want to plant them into the garden. Plant the seeds in separate containers so that each plant has its own space.

Seedlings are ready to set into the garden when the plants are 6 inches tall. Spring crops need to be planted so the cauliflowers mature before the weather gets hot. Fall crops need to be planted to mature before the fall frosts.

In the early spring carefully harden off the plants before planting outside by introducing them to cooler weather gradually.

Plant the cauliflower plants 18 inches apart in rows that are 24 inches apart. Dig a hole and carefully remove plants from the containers. Place into the hole without disturbing the roots and cover with soil.

Keep the plants well watered as the plants mature.

Cauliflower grow quickly and needs lots of fertility.

Fertilize with a compost tea as needed. Heavy mulch will help keep the plants moist.

No further care is usually needed until the heads begin to form.

When the flower heads begin to form and are the size of an egg, tie up leaves near the heads to protect them from the sun. Make sure the plants have enough moisture as the heads develop.

Watch the heads closely at this time. Harvest the heads when they are the right size but before the curds begin to loosen. The heads will deteriorate quickly when the curds loosen.

Cut the heads about 2 inches below the stem. Pull the rest of the plant out by the roots and throw into the compost pile.

Cauliflower heads will keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator.

Cauliflower makes a great side dish and can be steamed, broiled, or eaten raw.

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