Cauliflower is a cool-weather crop that is native to the Mediterranean region and Asia with a large eatable flower head and stalk.
HOW TO PLANT CAULIFLOWER
Cauliflower is best grown in well-drained soil with full sun and a soil pH range of 6.5 through 7.0.
They can be sown straight into the soil after the last frost or as I prefer they can be started 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost indoors using a cardboard seed starting tray.
They are best planted in rows that are about 2 feet apart, about 3 feet apart in the row, and about one-half of an inch deep.
For best results, it is recommended before planting or sowing them to till compost into the soil, known as amending the soil.
This will provide nutrients to the soil, helps with water retention, and will help to keep the soil loose which will make it easier for the roots to grow.
FERTILIZING AND WATERING
To avoid any possible issues of over-fertilizing your cauliflower, you should test your soil before adding any fertilizers.
If the soil is balanced then they need a fertilizer that is a high-nitrogen fertilizer monthly for the most growth or a homemade liquid fertilizer.
They prefer soil that is consistently moist but not soaked and they will require about 1 to 2 inches of water per week.
Cauliflower is ready for harvest between 50 and 100 days depending on the variety.
Harvesting is done with a sharp and clean pair of gardening shears or a knife, leaving between 2 to 3 inches of the main stem above the soil.
Cauliflowers are propagated through seed, therefore some plants should be allowed to go to seed for the following season.
Cauliflower has many pests that feed on them but using natural methods such as attracting predators and using natural insecticides such as essential oils, diatomaceous earth, or insecticidal soap will keep your pest control organic.
- Cabbage maggots
- Cabbage looper
- Cabbage moths
- Cabbage worm
- Diamondback moth
- Flea beetle
- Swede midge
Cauliflower that is planted close together can develop mold and mildew issues during times of high humidity.
If this is the case then preventive measures may need to be taken.
- Downy mildew
- Powdery mildew
- Damping off
- Bacterial soft rot
- Sclerotinia stem rot
- Black rot
- White rust
- Alternaria leaf spot
Plant viruses are caused by pests causing damage to a plant, therefore good pest management is a must.
- Cauliflower mosaic virus
There are several heirloom and hybrid varieties that are available in four colors which are orange, green, purple, and white.
Snowball cauliflower is a heirloom variety that is from France that produce a 4 to 5 pound head.
- Days to germinate – 4 to 10 days
- Days to harvest – 50 to 70 days
PURPLE OF SICILY CAULIFLOWER
Violet of Sicily cauliflower is a heirloom variety that is from Italy one of the easier varieties to grow with a 2 to 3 pound head.
- Days to germinate – 5 to 17 days
- Days to harvest – about 90 days
MACERATA GREEN CAULIFLOWER
Macerata green cauliflower is a lime green heirloom variety from Italy with a 2 pound head.
- Days to germinate – 8 to 10 days
- Days to harvest – 60 – 70 days