Are you intimidated by growing cauliflower in your garden? Use these tips to hone your gardening skills and, with some work, you’ll have hearty cauliflower plants in no time.
Not a lot of gardeners are comfortable with growing cauliflower, partly because it is not commonly found in seed or starter plants and also because they are afraid to try something new.
Cauliflower is not that hard to grow, and even a first time gardener can have a lot of success adding it to the garden. When you have room in your garden, or a corner of the garden that has failed to thrive, cauliflower is a great crop to tuck into the garden towards the end of the season in order to extend the growing season.
Use these tips to easily grow hearty cauliflower plants in your home garden.
Cauliflower is best planted as a transplant, directly into the garden. If you are far south enough to have a long fall season, you can start the cauliflower from seeds and still have enough time for them to fully grow and be harvested. Due to the size of cauliflower heads, you should plant seedlings a foot apart, or sow seeds two inches apart and then thin as they grow.
Cauliflower needs a nutrient rich soil, especially when it comes to nitrogen and potassium, the two nutrients cabbage family plants need most. Add organic material to the soil in the garden when you add the new plants to the soil, so mid-season when your early season crops are harvested. Till the soil around the plants that you add in order to keep the soil loose and deter any pests from taking up around the roots of young cauliflower plants.
Cauliflower is a cold season plant so they are best added to the garden towards the end of fall so that they can grow into the fall. If the temperatures rise too much once the heads of the cauliflower begins to grow it can stunt the growth of the cauliflower and you will only encourage more leaf growth.
When cauliflower plants are first planted you need to be able to add plenty of water to start with, at least an inch every three to four days. Once the heads begin to grow, add mulch or straw around the plants in order to help maintain the moisture in the soil and prevent pests from attacking the plants.
Pests and Disease
Cauliflower plants are susceptible to the common cabbage family pests and diseases, including beetles and grubs in the soil. Picking or spraying off beetles and grubs is the best line of defense and needs to be done on a regular basis.
Pests are most likely to attack plants early in the day when it is not as hot out, this also happens to be the best time of day to water plants so its a good idea to do both at the same time. You can also get ideas on essential oils for gardening that may help.
Cauliflower is ready to be harvested when buds on the florets are still closed and small. If you wait till the buds begin to open they will begin to lose their flavor and even grow bitter. Once you have harvested your cauliflower you can store it for up to a month and freeze florets even longer, if you aren’t able to use it all right away.
We love cauliflower all sort of ways. We often chop then steam or bake it coated in Parmesan cheese. It’s great raw dipped in herb cream cheese dip. You can also make loaded cauliflower soup, cauliflower rice or cauliflower buns. There are so many ways to prepare cauliflower – it’s one of my favorite veggies.
I hope these tips for growing cauliflower has been helpful for you. May you have the best heads of cauliflower growing in your backyard garden this season and every year.