How To Grow Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a cool season biennial. It produces seed in its second year. It prefers fertile, rich, well-drained soil full of nutrients. Soil temperature for best germination is around 65-75° F with a pH balance of 6.5-7.5. Plant the seed indoors 4-6 weeks before last spring frost. Seed Depth: ¼" deep (barely cover). Plant Spacing (once 5-6" tall): 12-24" apart. Row Spacing: 24-36" apart. Mulch well to retain moisture and fertilize frequently. Blanching is necessary to maintain the color and flavor, and to protect from getting either too cold or too hot. Simply tie leaves together to protect the heads from sunlight. ( Be sure to do this when the heads and leaves are dry to prevent the plant from rotting.) The purpose is to keep light OUT and air circulation IN. Allow 5-10 days for germination.
Cauliflower is mature when the heads are fully developed, white, smooth and compact about 6 inches wide. It is important to harvest when the curds are tight, because once they start to loosen and the heads discolor, you are past the ideal harvesting time. So be sure to check your plants often. After you harvest the main head, it will continue to produce little florets that can still be eaten and enjoyed.
Saving Cauliflower Seeds
Suggested isolation is 1 mile for cauliflower plants. Dig up the whole head, pot in sand, and keep 32-40°F. Plant back in the garden in the spring and allow it to bolt. Harvest when the seeds are dry and clean them by hand. Seed will keep for 3-5 years if kept cool and dry.
- White Cabbage Butterfly
This disease is repelled by celery plants.
- Head Rot
Head Rot decays the base of the plant and the leaves become discolored. Can develop quickly with high moisture and high humidity. Increase air circulation and make sure there is adequate boron and calcium in the soil.