How To Grow Cauliflower

Cauliflower growing guide.  Grow cauliflower in the garden.Cauliflower, like broccoli, is a member of the cabbage family.  It is very similar to broccoli in texture, taste and look. It became a delicacy in France in the 16th century. Cauliflower can be grown in a variety of colors; white being the most common.

Out of all the cabbage family plants, cauliflower is the most temperamental and difficult to grow. At the first sign of stress they tend to bolt.  It is not a recommended vegetable for new gardeners to grow; rather, it may be best to start with an easier member of the cabbage family.  That being said, cauliflower can be grown in every climate and is high in vitamins, so it’s a great addition to the vegetable garden.

Planting and Growing Cauliflower:

Cauliflower growing guide.  Fertilizing cauliflower. Watering cauliflower. Planting cauliflower.Cauliflower should be sown indoors 4 weeks before the last frost date.  Before transplanting the seedlings outdoors they should be hardened off.  Harden off cauliflower over a 3-day period by setting them outside and slowly introducing them to full sun.  Transplant the seedlings when two sets of true leaves appear.  Bury the plant to the base of the first set of true leaves, being careful not to disturb the roots when transplanting.

Cauliflower can also be directly sowed in the garden around the last frost date; however, this will produce a later crop than those shown early indoors.

Like cabbage and broccoli, cauliflower is a heavy feeder.  Amend the soil in the fall with nutrient rich compost.  After planting, spread an organic fertilizer with high levels of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous.  Repeat fertilizing every four weeks until harvest.

Water cauliflower moderately so the soil is consistently moist, but not saturated.  Soil temperatures should also remain cool, no more than 75 degrees F (24 degrees C).  To maintain consistent moisture and temperature levels, spread 3 inches (7.5 cm) of organic mulch around the plant.  As the plant reaches maturity, watering levels will need to increase to keep up with the growth and leaf expiration.

Harvesting and Preserving Cauliflower:

When the head is about 2-3” (5-7.5 cm), blanch the cauliflower to improve the color and texture.  Blanching is accomplished by folding a few large leaves over the top of the cauliflower head, and tying them together with twine. This cuts off sunlight to the head, allowing them to harden off.  It is important to check the head often for maturity. Maturity should occur between four and ten days after blanching.  Don’t wait longer than this or the head may rot. You will know it’s mature when the head is tight and even.

Blanching is not required with some varieties that produce leaves that cover the head.  Simply, leave these plants until the head is mature and ready to harvest.

After harvesting the cauliflower head, it should be eaten soon.  Cauliflower does not store well, but can last in the root cellar or refrigerator for a month or so.

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