Cauliflower is a cool weather crop in the Brassica family (which includes cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, broccoli and Brussels sprouts). .
Cauliflower: Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Cauliflower Plants
Like its cousin broccoli, the tightly bunched florets of cauliflower are connected by a thick core, often with a few light leaves surrounding it. .
How to Grow Cauliflower
Botanical Name Brassica oleracea (Botrytis group) Common Name Cauliflower Plant Type Biennial, grown as an annual Mature Size 12 to 30 inches tall, 12 to 24 inches wide Sun Exposure Full Sun Soil Type Rich, well-draining Soil pH Neutral (6.0 to 7.0) Bloom Time Spring, fall Flower Color White, orange, purple, green Hardiness Zones 2 to 11 Native Area Europe.How to Plant Cauliflower.The soil should be well-draining, but cauliflower needs consistent moisture, to prevent buttoning (growth of very small flower heads in place of a single large head).Provide at least 1 inch of water per week, and make sure it is soaking 6 to 8 inches into the soil.Leaving the soil dry in hot weather will cause the buds to open slightly, making the heads "ricey" rather than forming tight curds.It begins to suffer in temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why it's typically planted in spring or fall and harvested before or after the hottest days of summer.Mulch the plants at planting time, to keep the soil cool and help retain moisture..Feed every two to four weeks with an organic fertilizer, such as kelp or fish emulsion.Cauliflower Varieties.: Lime green varieties with nice flavor and no blanching required; matures in 60 to 65 days Snow crown f1 : One of the easier-to-grow white varieties with some frost-tolerance and a short season; matures in 50 to 55 days.: One of the easier-to-grow white varieties with some frost-tolerance and a short season; matures in 50 to 55 days Di sicilia violetta : Also called violetta of Sicily or some other derivation; beautiful purple, Italian heirloom with a sweet, nutty flavor; matures in 70 to 80 days.: Also called violetta of Sicily or some other derivation; beautiful purple, Italian heirloom with a sweet, nutty flavor; matures in 70 to 80 days Cheddar f1: Pretty orange heads that are slow to bolt; matures in 55 to 60 days.Colored Cauliflower.Blanching Cauliflower.White cauliflower will need to be blanched if you want it to remain white.Don't fit the leaves too tightly; block the light but leave room for the head to expand.Since they will not form heads in warm weather and can handle only a light frost, be sure to choose a variety that will have enough time to mature in your climate.Common Pests and Diseases. .
11 Reasons for Cauliflower Not Forming Heads
It has very specific needs, and when they aren’t met, your harvest basket may be full of green leaves, but no heads.Be sure to read seed packets carefully and choose varieties with days to maturity that match your climate’s growing season.Explore the latest cultivars that have improved temperature tolerance and shortened maturation periods.Transplant seedlings about two weeks prior to the last average frost date in your area, when they have grown at least two sets of true leaves.Don’t wait too long to transplant, or your seedlings may become pot-bound, with roots that wrap around and around fail to deliver water and essential nutrients to the developing plant.If your climate allows for a fall crop, wait until the average air temperature has dropped to at least 75°F, generally about eight weeks before the first frost.Seedlings require a period of gradual acclimation to the outdoors called “hardening off.” Without it, cold shock may slow growth and have a detrimental effect on development.Members of the Brassica genus like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and kohlrabi require full sun to thrive.You may increase acidity with the addition of rich organic matter, or decrease it with an application of garden lime.Poorly draining soil leaves roots vulnerable to nibbling nematodes, slugs, and snails that can impair the ability of the plant to take up water and nutrients.With some vegetables, you can get away with keeping them moist during the germination and seedling phases, and then let Mother Nature provide the rain they need.Keep in mind that it’s not only a lack of sufficient rainfall and failure to irrigate with supplemental water as needed that may leave your crops at risk of drying out.Circulating air stays cooler and less humid, helping to inhibit fungal diseases that are detrimental to cole crop development.In addition to meeting light, soil, water, drainage, temperature, and spacing requirements, cauliflower growers need to be vigilant about keeping weeds to a minimum.Thick weed growth creates competition for water, and invites insects who can hide out and be near their favorite vegetable at the same time.Please consult our article on growing cauliflower for details on how to manage common pests and diseases, as they can cause enough stress to result in failure to form heads.If you’re not rotating your crops, your soil may become spent, and thus unable to provide adequate nutrition with poor head formation as a result.You need to be a bit of a weather junkie to grow good cauliflower, because this is one stubborn vegetable.In addition to mulch, you could place lightweight shade cloth over plants to deflect the sun’s rays during a heatwave.And conversely, during a cold snap, use floating row covers with their ends snugly closed to form a warm cocoon.At any stage from seedling to flush with foliage, a cauliflower plant may experience stress that could alter the course and outcome of its development.When you finally see the crowning glory of your efforts nestled in the voluminous foliage, go back to that seed packet and see if you have a self-blanching kind.You must gently wrap several of the longest leaves over the developing head to protect it from “blanching” in the sunlight that has sustained it for so long.Not losing a head to sunburn is the final hurdle, and then you’re home free… barring a sudden hard frost, or a late-season heatwave.Once you’ve got your precious harvest, why not visit our sister site, Foodal for innovative cauliflower recipes? .
Vegetable in the species Brassica oleracea.Typically, only the head is eaten – the edible white flesh sometimes called "curd" (with a similar appearance to cheese curd).Brassica oleracea also includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and kale, collectively called "cole" crops, though they are of different cultivar groups.The word "cauliflower" derives from the Italian cavolfiore, meaning "cabbage flower".Seeding and transplanting [ edit ]. Applications of fertilizer to developing seedlings begin when leaves appear, usually with a starter solution weekly.Disorders, pests, and diseases [ edit ].Harvesting [ edit ].When cauliflower is mature, heads appear as clear white, compact, and 15–20 cm (6–8 in) in diameter, and should be cooled shortly after harvest.This group also includes white, Romanesco, various brown, green, purple, and yellow cultivars.Northern European annuals: Used in Europe and North America for summer and fall harvest, it was developed in Germany in the 18th century and includes the old cultivars Erfurt and Snowball.Northwest European biennial: Used in Europe for winter and early spring harvest, this was developed in France in the 19th century and includes the old cultivars Angers and Roscoff.Asian: A tropical cauliflower used in China and India, it was developed in India during the 19th century from the now-abandoned Cornish type and includes old varieties Early Benaras and Early Patna.Varieties [ edit ].White White cauliflower is the most common color of cauliflower, having a contrasting white head (also called "curd") surrounded by green leaves.This orange trait originated from a natural mutant found in a cauliflower field in Canada.Romanesco varieties include 'Minaret' and 'Veronica'.Production [ edit ].A 100-gram (3+1⁄2-ounce) reference amount of raw cauliflower provides 104 kilojoules (25 kilocalories) of food energy, and has a high content (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin C (58% DV) and moderate levels of several B vitamins and vitamin K (13–15% DV; table).When cooking, the outer leaves and thick stalks are typically removed, leaving only the florets (the edible "curd" or "head").Cauliflower is a low-calorie, gluten-free alternative to rice and flour.Fractal dimension [ edit ]. One of the fractal properties of cauliflower is that every branch, or "module", is similar to the entire cauliflower.References [ edit ]. .
Packed with health benefits, this crisp, versatile vegetable is delicious eaten raw, gently steamed, roasted in olive oil, grilled, mashed or pickled, not to mention baked in cheese sauce to blissful perfection.Originally from the Mediterranean, cauliflower is a member of the Brassicaceae family, along with broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, turnip and rutabagas.Broccoli grows upwards and outwards, forming bunches of tiny green florets.Cauliflower, on the other hand, is a dense, compact head formed from the undeveloped flower buds of a cabbage plant.Today’s varieties include a few colorful surprises – like orange, purple, and green in addition to the familiar white cauliflower we all know and love.The heads form with the classic snowy white color because they are protected from the sun by the outer leaves.Orange cauliflower first emerged on the scene in 1970 when it was discovered growing in a marsh near Toronto, Canada.The secret to this unusual variety is extra beta-carotene, the same compound that gives carrots their signature orange color.Mild tasting and sweeter than traditional white varieties, the color becomes even more pronounced when cooked.Remember that trees may not have all their leaves in early spring when you’re selecting your garden site, and plan ahead to avoid areas that will be shaded later in the season.About six weeks before planting, remove debris and loosen the soil, breaking up any clumps that are larger than an apple.Watering: Cauliflower does not have deep roots, so it’s important to keep the garden soil evenly moist.It can be picked once the head has reached about 6 inches in diameter and is firm and compact with tightly clustered flowers.Take advantage of plants that grow well with cauliflower to deter pests, enhance flavor, encourage growth, or improve health.Spinach, loose-leaf lettuce and arugula stay fairly small, and grow better in the heat of summer when shaded by cauliflower leaves.Conversely, there are a number of plants that don’t make good neighbors for cauliflower, competing for nutrients or attracting unwanted pests.Buttoning: If you notice the plant and head look stunted, it was probably stressed by too much heat, not enough water, or lack of nutrients.Hot weather may accelerate bolting so keep a watchful eye on the crop and harvest sooner if necessary. .