Growing any plant from their seeds is exciting for a gardener and if you know the right technique you can grow watercress from seeds just as well as cauliflowers. Growing cauliflower is easy, provided a few steps are followed carefully. This member of the cabbage family is most difficult to cultivate but do not despair as cauliflower is widely grown with its inflorescence providing such a tasty component of our meals.
Preparing The Soil For Planting Cauliflower
Cauliflower seeds require a rich, deep and fertile soil. Months before planting vegetable cauliflower, the soil should be dug up and organic compost or manure should be added. The soil should be well drained with an ideal pH between 6.0-6.8. Lime should be added if necessary.
Cauliflower seeds should be sown indoors in a tray and 5-6 weeks later should be planted out about 60cm apart between rows, after hardening the seedlings by placing them in a shady spot for a week. While transplanting outdoors ensure the cauliflower seeds are grown as deep as they were in the tray.
Temperature and Water Requirements Of The Organic Cauliflower
Vegetable planting is fun but you must remember to take proper care with water and temperature requirements. Growing cauliflower has certain requirements, just the way growing squash or zucchini would. Cauliflower grows well in cool weather. It is advisable to set out the plant five weeks before the last expected frost in spring, when the soil temperature is between 50°F-60°F as the young organic cauliflower can tolerate a mild frost. Alternately, cauliflower seeds may be planted in the mild winter months for a winter or spring crop. It should be grown in the sun as partial shade reduces the size of the cauliflower head.
The plant requires a regular water supply and mulch may be added to aid moisture retention, so if you are planning water conservation, do so wisely!
Blanching The Organic Cauliflower
To get the pure white curds (a name for those central cauliflower heads) the cauliflower should be blanched by bending in 5-6 large outside leaves over the crown of the organic cauliflower and folding the leaf tips into the opposite side. If the leaves are tied vertically over the head there is the risk of water accumulation between the leaves on the head of the cauliflower, causing it to rot before reaching maturity. Self blanching cultivators may also be grown that contain their own shading leaves.
Harvesting After Planting Cauliflower
The organic cauliflower should be harvested before it reaches full size. If the florets have opened by then or the heads appear discolored, you are already past the harvest time. To harvest the growing cauliflower, the stalk should be cut off leaving the leaves of the cauliflower to protect its head. Remaining stalks and roots should be pulled out and kept aside as future compost as they do not lead to formation of new heads.
Growing Cauliflower Tips
Growing cauliflower from cauliflower seeds is not hard if you take proper care of the plant and ensure the growing cauliflower plant gets the right amount of water, the right temperature etc. In addition, these growing cauliflower tips might come in handy as well.
- It is a good idea to rotate the cauliflower crop with peas and beans as the soil growing them will be rich in manure.
- Protect your vegetable cauliflower from birds, caterpillars and aphids.
- Bolting (premature flowering), buttoning (formation of undersized heads) or ricey curds (separation of heads into small rice-like sections) arising out of temperature extremes should be avoided.
Not only is it easy to grow cauliflower, but once you have had a good crop you can experiment with growing cauliflower of the purple, orange and green colored varieties from organic cauliflower seeds.
- Cauliflower – Brassica oleracea – Weekend Gardener
- How to grow cauliflower for best results – Vegetable Garden Guide