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How to Grow Cauliflower

by on October 22, 2012

 

cauliflower

Cauliflower is a cool season favorite that happens to come from the same family as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and collards. While it shares some traits with its cousins, cauliflower is much more temperamental when it comes to its growing needs, so extra care must be given to ensure that you are giving your precious plants what they need.
AT A GLANCE: CAULIFLOWER
Temp Range: 55 – 65 degrees F
Seed to Plate: 85 – 130 days (depends on variety)
Light Needs: min. 6 hours of full sun per day
How Much to Grow: 2 heads per person
Average Space Needs: 1 plant / 1 Square Foot
Water Needs: moist, well drained soil
Soil pH: slightly acid, 6.5 –6.8

Cauliflower can be grown in both spring and fall. For spring plants, set them out as early as possible, making sure they will have plenty of time to develop before the heat of summer burns them. If you are within a couple of weeks of the last frost (either way), you should be fine. For fall plants, set your transplants outside 6-8 weeks before the first frost of the season. If the temperatures are still high, you may need to shade the plants for a portion of the day. For small transplants, an old milk jug with the bottom cut out of it can work quite well for this.

When the head is about 2 inches across, the leaves will naturally begin to curl in and cover the head. You will most likely need to help this process along. Use a clothespin to secure the leaves over the head. This process, called “blanching”, is how you get the pretty white heat at harvest time.

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