Cauliflower is one of the most popular vegetables for home gardeners. Although many people attempt growing cauliflower from seed doing so will probably result in poor results for the beginner.
Belonging to the cole family along with broccoli, brussels sprouts, collards, kale, kohlrabi and, of course, cabbage.
Start your plants early in spring or late summer. They like the bright cooler days 60F – 80F to promote good growth and will resist some colder days in fall.
Soil should be well tilled with good organic material and kept moist.
Soil PH level should be between a 6.0 to 7.0 to discourage clubroot disease and maximize nutrient availability.
A 8-16-16 rated fertilizer can be applied when preparing the soil for planting. Provide about 2 weeks lead time before planting. Later when the plants reach about 3 inches tall application of about a half pint of 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer per plant can be applied to promote growth.
Seeds can be planted indoors or in a green house to promote early growth. Plants should be spaced 24 inches apart in the row with 30 inches between rows.
After the plants have established themselves you can apply mulch at the base of the plant to reduce water evaporation and reduce weed growth.
In order to get the best crop you must promote constant growth of the plant until it matures. This means proper watering and fertilization throughout the growth cycle.
Preventing pests is also very important beatles, aphids and other pests enjoy eating the leafs of the plant which will reduce production of the flower. It is important to inspect your plants often and take steps as necessary to protect them.
When the plants start to mature you should gather the leaves and tie or tape them around the head to ensure a good bleaching or whiteness of the head. Some types of cauliflower will naturally curl its leaves around the head as it grows similar to how head lettuce grows.
Harvest the center curd or flower cluster when it gets to the desired size but before the head starts to seperate. Cut the stem below the head leaving the 2 rows of leaves on the base.