Cauliflower reminds me of a earth born cloud, found nestled in the center of a leafy crown. Extravagantly filled with vitamin C this beauty contains anti-cancer phyto-chemicals as well as anti-bacterial and anti-viral compounds. I am growing my own - come & see!
|PARTS YOU CAN EAT:||Solid head - edible flower|
|SOWING SEASON:||Summer, Autumn - see sowing chart|
|SOIL pH:||pH 6.5 - 7.5|
|HOW MANY:||3 - 6 plants per 4 people|
|PLANT AGAIN:||Every 3 - 4 weeks in growing season|
|SEED SPACING:||Seeds 50 - 70cm apart|
|GERMINATION:||10 - 14 Days|
|HARVEST:||7 - 20 weeks after sowing|
|STORE:||Refrigerate or pickle|
|COMPANION PLANTS:||Spinach, celery, onions, sage, nasturtium, rosemary, borage|
|HEIRLOOM SEED:||Giant of Naples, Purple of Sicily, Romanesco|
GROW CAULIFLOWER IN 5 EASY STEPS...
Isn't there is something clean, fresh & pure, like a rain pregnant cloud, that fills your taste buds when you bite into this dreamy delight? Subtly sweet & crunchy crisp is my wonderful reward for growing this vegetable cloud. Cauliflower are the most fussy of brassicas, but I have found that picked fresh from my garden they help me remember why homegrown is best!
Cauliflower prefers an alkaline soil, so I add a top dressing of lime before planting, scattering it like talcum power over the surface area. They are heavy feeders so add lots of compost as well as an organic slow release fertilizer like Vita-Veg to the soil before planting. They prefer firm soil so press to compact.
2 - HOW TO PLANT:
I find it best to direct sow seeds into soil, as seedlings don't enjoy root disturbance, but if you prefer to plant seedlings then I suggest the seedling pot maker to plant your seeds in as the whole recycled paper pot gets planted into the soil = no root disturbance. I plant my seeds 1cm deep and 50-70cm apart.
*TIP: soak seeds overnight to speed up germination period which is 10 - 14 days.
Cauliflower needs constant moisture, rich soil and the right temperature to form a good head. High temperatures will stop head formation & cold snaps can cause buttoning. Take note to sow the correct cultivars as you get early (harvest 12-16 weeks) , mid (16-20 weeks) or late season seed (24 weeks or more).
A cauliflower has 4 stages of growth. 1st they develop the roots and leaves, 2nd outer leaves, 3rd build up of nutrients in outer leaves (most important stage), 4th flower formation. I find it especially important to fertilize the plant well in the 3rd phase with a liquid seaweed fertilizer to ensure good head formation.
Once heads have reached a diameter of 7.5 - 10 cm, fold the outer leaves over the head (blanching) to protect it from discolouration, heat & wind damage. The heads are ready to harvest once they become uneven & lumpy but are still firm. Do not leave them too long or the heads will branch out, spoiling the flavour.
5 - SEED & COMPANION PLANTING:
Traditionally we think of cauliflower as white (I love the 'Giant of Naples' variety) but in my journeys I have discovered delightful seed like the beautiful green spiral 'Romanesco', or the purple Italian heirloom 'Purple of Sicily'. Give them a try!
GOOD COMPANIONS: Spinach, celery, onions, sage, nasturtium, rosemary
BAD COMPANIONS: Tomatoes, strawberries
Aphids can cause the leaves to curl and distort, and holes in the leaves and eaten head is caused by caterpillars, both of which I treat with the organic insecticide Pyrol.