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.Cauliflower doesn't like having it's roots disturbed, so peat or paper pots are recommended.Whether you are planting your own seedlings or some purchased from the store, be sure to harden off your transplants before setting them out in the garden.Cauliflower plants grow best in full sun, although a little partial shade can help to prevent them from bolting in warmer weather.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.Do some sleuthing at your local cooperative extension office, to find varieties that do especially well in your area.: 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.Another unusual variety in the Botrytis group is the alien-looking vegetable commonly known as Romanesco broccoli.The flavor isn't terribly altered if you allow it to turn its natural yellowish-brown, but it does seem to remain a little sweeter and a lot more appealing if blanched.The traditional way to blanch is to fold some of the larger leaves over the head and tuck or secure them on the other side.Once the leaves are in place, try not to get them wet and check under them periodically to make sure insects aren't using them as a hideout.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.Gardeners in cold climates often have better luck putting out transplants in mid to late summer and harvesting in the fall.Another option is to lift the whole plant and store it, roots, stem and all intact, in a cool, dry place.Young transplants are also attractive to aphids and flea beetles, especially if grown in the spring.Cole crops are also problem-prone when it come to diseases, with blackleg, black rot, and club root leading the pack. .
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. .
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? .
Ask Gardenerd: Big Cauliflower
We got a question at Ask Gardenerd this week from Jeff: “I’m having trouble with cauliflower – the plants are not flowering.This is typical of places that don’t have really cold temperatures in fall or winter.A properly brewed batch of compost tea will be full of microbes that go to work to unlock trapped potassium in soils.Water – according to Organic Gardening Magazine, cauliflower requires consistent moisture.So if you water regularly and mulch around your plants, you’ll retain moisture and prevent soils from drying out.And fellow Gardenerds – if you have suggestions for how you grow cauliflower, post your comments below. .
What's Wrong With My Cauliflower?
Cauliflower is a cool weather crop in the Brassica family (which includes cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, broccoli and Brussels sprouts). .
Cauliflower heads resemble those in broccoli, which differs in having flower buds as the edible portion.Brassica oleracea also includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and kale, collectively called "cole" crops, though they are of different cultivar groups. Pliny's description likely refers to the flowering heads of an earlier cultivated variety of Brassica oleracea. This association continued into Western Europe, where cauliflowers were sometimes known as Cyprus colewort, and there was extensive trade in western Europe in cauliflower seeds from Cyprus, under the French Lusignan rulers of the island, until well into the 16th century. They were introduced to France from Genoa in the 16th century, and are featured in Olivier de Serres' Théâtre de l'agriculture (1600), as cauli-fiori "as the Italians call it, which are still rather rare in France; they hold an honorable place in the garden because of their delicacy", but they did not commonly appear on grand tables until the time of Louis XIV.Cauliflower is relatively difficult to grow compared to cabbage, with common problems such as an underdeveloped head and poor curd quality.Because weather is a limiting factor for producing cauliflower, the plant grows best in moderate daytime temperatures 21–29 °C (70–85 °F), with plentiful sun, and moist soil conditions high in organic matter and sandy soils. In the northern hemisphere, fall season plantings in July may enable harvesting before autumn frost.Long periods of sun exposure in hot summer weather may cause cauliflower heads to discolor with a red-purple hue. Applications of fertilizer to developing seedlings begin when leaves appear, usually with a starter solution weekly.Rapid vegetative growth after transplanting may benefit from such procedures as avoiding spring frosts, using starter solutions high in phosphorus, irrigating weekly, and applying fertilizer.The most important disorders affecting cauliflower quality are a hollow stem, stunted head growth or buttoning, ricing, browning and leaf-tip burn. Among major pests affecting cauliflower are aphids, root maggots, cutworms, moths, and flea beetles.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. Forced air cooling to remove heat from the field during hot weather may be needed for optimal preservation.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.This orange trait originated from a natural mutant found in a cauliflower field in Canada. Secondary producers, having 0.4–1.3 million tonnes annually, were the United States, Spain, Mexico and Italy.Raw cauliflower is 92% water, 5% carbohydrates, 2% protein, and contains negligible fat (table).Cauliflower contains several non-nutrient phytochemicals common in the cabbage family that are under preliminary research for their potential properties, including isothiocyanates and glucosinolates.Cauliflower heads can be roasted, grilled, boiled, fried, steamed, pickled, or eaten raw.Another quality, also present in other plant species, is that the angle between "modules," as they become more distant from the center, is 360 degrees divided by the golden ratio. .
Introducing Fioretto -- Flowering Cauliflower
More tender, sweet and delicate than conventional cauli, this is like an edible bouquet of coral-like florets.Flowering cauliflower has long, loose, thin, tender stems with tiny cream-colored florets.It is said that a Tokito employee wondered why they couldn’t have a cauliflower with a smaller amount of stem and a better flavor, so the company began trying to develop it.Because it is so tender, flowering cauliflower is ready to eat or cook with without any prep work.It takes a bit of time to separate the florets from a conventional head, and there is no need for that with flowering cauliflower.Sautéed with a hint of butter and sea salt (simply sear it in a skillet).I would not drench it in cheese sauce, since it is delicate, but it could take a sprinkle of grated Parmesan after a quick searing.The combined nutrients from Fioretto with a balanced healthy diet are said to help protect against heart disease, lower high blood pressure and cholesterol, strengthen the immune system and maintain a healthy nervous system.Theirs is grown in Bakersfield, California, and sold in finer grocery stores.Disclosure: Melissa’s Produce sent samples of the flowering cauliflower for review. .