Cauliflower is supposed to be challenging to grow. It can only survive in moderate temperatures—neither too hot nor cold. In addition, there are certain varieties that can be planted in specific seasons.
Cauliflower is part of the cabbage family, and just like their cousins, they require some extra care and attention. Here are the steps on becoming successful on growing cauliflowers:
- Location matters. Choose a place that gets full sunlight. Check for the quality of the soil. Its acidity should be around 6.0 to 7.0. It should also be well-drained, has a lot of organic matter and evenly moist.
- The soil should be prepared months before planting since cauliflowers grow better in a more consolidated soil. If not done properly, this will just waste all your efforts and get tiny buttons on your harvest.
- Grow cauliflower seeds on individual pots or trays. Transplant the seeds after 6 weeks or just the time when the seedlings are hardened just enough. Place individual seedlings at approximately 60cm apart. Make sure that the soil and air temperature is around 50 degrees F. When planting, cover the plants with soils just before the bottom leaves.
- Plants need to be evenly moist. To do this, build a small soil saucer around individual plant to keep hold of moisture. For each week, small cauliflower plants need around an inch of water especially when they are still small.
- When the flower head is about the size of a medium-sized egg, start the blanching process. Make sure the flower head is dry before starting or else, it will rot. Keep the light and moisture away but let the air in and leave some room for the flower head to grow. To do this, loop a heavy twine just around the leaves, then lift them up gently and tie them altogether.
- To determine if the cauliflower is ready for harvesting, check if the heads are already full. The correct timing is dependent on different varieties. When the flower heads grows to three to four inches across, start checking the plants daily.
- Harvest cauliflowers first thing in the morning. This is the time when they are most succulent. You can store them for three weeks by hanging them upside down and spraying mist regularly. After harvesting, break up the stalks and add them to your compost heap.
Don’t be like me. The first time I grew cauliflower, I picked a head and then thought I’d leave the rest for the following week. Well, we had a hot spell and they bolted. Bleah. Not good eats.
That was a Spring planting. For the Fall planting, I watched them carefully, and got a few good ones. The next winter, I started seeds in my home because I wanted to grow cool varieties, and I wasn’t disappointed.