WHERE TO PLANTCauliflowers are a cool weather crop. Hot temperatures can reduce head development. In summer you can cover the head with the plants leaves. Plant out your seedlings at around 60cm apart. Successful cauliflower growing requires regular continuous growing conditions. Any stress to the plant will result in a reduction in head growth which is often known as ‘Buttoning’.
SOIL CONDITIONSCauliflower grows best in fertile, well-drained, consistently moist soil. They need to be planted in full sun for at least 6 hours a day. The soil should be high in both organic matter and nitrogen. Make sure the soil is well cultivated to a depth of at least 8-10 inches before planting.
MAINTENANCEFertilizer can be applied two more times during the growing season at two-week intervals. Water the seedlings immediately after transplanting; any wilting could permanently damage the plant. After planting, apply a top mulch to preserve moisture and prevent the soil from drying out and cracking. Cauliflower plants must have consistent moisture; make sure they receive at least an inch of water per week and do not let the soil completely dry out. Healthy curd development results from continuous and vigorous growth. Anything that halts or slows the plant growth will potentially lead to little or no head development. Common interruptions can include too little moisture (drought), plant damage, or extremes in weather.
HARVESTINGCauliflower heads (or curds) need to be blanched. This process involves tying the outer leaves together to cover the curd when the heads have about 2-3 inches of growth. Blanching prevents the heads from damage from the sun, turning green and obtaining an “off” taste. Once the leaves have been blanched, and if growing conditions are good, the curds develop and mature within 7-10 days. Look for full, compact, firm, white heads. To harvest the heads, simply cut the plant at the main stem (leave a few outer leaves for protection) before the heads begin to have a “ricey” appearance; by then they are overly mature and will not taste good.
COMPANION PLANTSArtichoke, Beans (bush), Beetroot, Cabbage, Celery, Garlic, Lettuce,
Nasturtium, Onion, Peas, Potato, Spinach
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