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Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea, in the family Brassicaceae. It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head (the white curd) of aborted floral meristems is eaten, while the stalk and surrounding thick, green leaves are used in vegetable broth or discarded. Cauliflower is nutritious, and may be eaten cooked, raw or pickled.
|Sowing time (Under glass)|
Cauliflowers require a firm, fertile soil. Acid soils encourage club root, a terrible disease of the brassica family. Add lime if necessary to get a pH of about 6.5 to 7.0. Apply a dressing of a general fertiliser like Growmore in the spring, two or three weeks before transplanting your cauliflower plants. Rake gently over the surface to keep the bed firm.
If you are practicing crop rotation you should plant them in the bed used for legume in the previous season as the roots will provide nitrogen. If you manured the legume bed last year there is no need to add additonal manure.
No Crop Rotation
If you are not practicing crop rotation and your soil is poor, dig in plenty of well rotted compost or manure as early in the autumn as possible in order to give the the soil maximum time to settle. The cauliflower will not root as well in freshly dug soil.
Sow cauliflower seed in a tray filled with seed compost. Water thoroughly and place in a greenhouse, cloche or coldframe, or on a sunny windowsill. When the first two leaves have formed plant them on to 7.5cm (3in) pots filled with potting compost and firm in the roots. Unlike other brassica (cabbage, Brussels sprouts etc) don`t transplant cauliflower into their final growing position any deeper than they were in the seed tray or seed bed (if sown oudoors) and take with it as much soil around the roots as possible.
Water in well. Leave plants to grow on until tall enough for transplanting into their final positions by following the growing instructions above.
Transplant the cauliflower plants in the evening to minimise distress and to make a quicker recovery. Keep as much soil around the roots as you can as this is very important with cauliflower plants. Firm plants into place to give a good, solid rooting position. Leave 60cm (24in) between summer and autumn varieties and 75cm (30in) between winter varieties.
Hoe regularly to keep weed down (or sow through weed suppressant matting), but don't loosen the soil too much around your plants.
Protect from birds and water regularly. Apply a foliar feed during the summer.
For summer varieties break a few leaves over the developing curd to protect it from the sun. For winter varieties do the same to protect the curd from frost and snow damage.
For a prolonged supply; begin cutting some of the heads whilst they are still fairly small to avoid all heads maturing at the same time.
If the individual florets which make up the head or curd of the plant begin to sperate then you have waited too long to harvest it.
It is possible to keep the heads up to two or three weeks after harvesting and before being used. Lift the cauliflower plant, shake the soil off the roots and hang upside down in a cool place. Spray them regularly with water.
- Full troubles list: Brassica troubles
- (2008). How to Grow Cauliflower for Best Results - it`s Not Difficult. vegetable-garden-guide.com. Retrieved: 2010-07-20.
- (2008). How to Grow Cauliflower for Best Results - it`s Not Difficult. vegetable-garden-guide.com. Retrieved: 2010-07-27.
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