Just like Cabbage, Cauliflower is also a cool-season crop, and perhaps just as popular. It’s another love it or hate it kinda veggie – and I pretty much love it. It is awesome pickled, and equally awesome served raw with some yummy dip! Oooh, and cooked with a bread crumb topping is superb! But this is supposed to be about growing the cauliflower, not so much eating the cauliflower, right?
The Struggle is Real
Again, like cabbage, cauliflower has all of the same challenges, plus one other, it likes the sunshine. It prefers cool temperatures, and is a heavy feeder, so it requires good soil and lots of attention. Also, it can be a magnet for some type of pests. The same types of pests as cabbage and broccoli as well. Consider planting beans and cucumbers between your cabbage and cauliflower , and heck, why not throw in a row of marigolds?
Essentially, starting the seeds indoors, well ahead of the last spring frost, fertilizing the plants, and planting them near friendly vegetables are the tickets to success here. If you read the planting schedule and growing tips for cabbage that we provided last week, you’ll know already about the same mistake I make every year.
HOW MANY CAULIFLOWER SEEDS / PLANTS TO START
Start by determining the space you want to use to grow cauliflower in. The space requirements for cauliflower are again, very similar to cabbage, and you’ll need about 24″ per healthy plant. If you’ve got a 4′ x 4′ space, you’ll have room for 4 nice big plants. You’ll want to start atleast 4 plants indoors, but err on the side of caution, and give yourself 50% more plants, so in this case 6 plants. Now, for each plant you start, start atleast 3 seeds. You will end up thinning out the smallest and sickliest looking seedlings – so in this situation, you’ll want, 6 plants x 3 seeds for each initial seedling, therefore you’ll need to start with 18 seeds. You can usually buy them in packages of 20, 50 and 100.
VEGETABLE PLANTING SCHEDULE FOR CAULIFLOWER
- Start cabbage seeds indoors 4 to 5 weeks before the last spring frost.
- Harden off plants over the course of a week.
- Till aged manure or compost into your garden soil
- Transplant to your garden after plants are hardened off, and danger of frost has passed, 18 to 24 inches apart in rows
- Soil needs be very rich in organic matter; add composted mature to the soil before planting
- Add mulch to conserve moisture.
- Harvest when heads reach desired size and are firm. This will take around 70 days for most green cabbage varieties. Most early varieties will produce 1- to 3-pound heads.
- When the heads are compact, white, and firm, then it is time to harvest them. Ideally, the heads will grow 6 to 8 inches in diameter.
GARDEN GROWING TIPS FOR CAULIFLOWER
- Choose a spot that has full sun, for a large part of the day
- Mulch thickly to retain moisture and regulate soil temperature. They like a lot of water.
- Although cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower are closely related, and require similar nutrients, it’s best not to plant them together. They are all heavy feeders, depleting the soil faster of nutrients; plus, they will attract the same pests and diseases.
- Cauliflower can be grown near beans and cucumbers.
- When the white head is about 2 to 3 inches in diameter, tie the outer leaves together over the head with a rubber band, tape, or twine.
HARVESTING TIPS FOR CAULIFLOWER
- Cut each cauliflower head with a sharp knife, leaving some of the leaves attached
- Wrap lightly in plastic and store in your refrigerator ( pickling or freezing the heads works well also)
Get your printable Planting Schedule -Starting Indoors – for reference and to help keep you on track, and check out these other gardening posts to help you get the most out of your garden
Starting Seedlings , Laying out your Plot, Maintenance Planners, Journals, Planting Schedules for Direct Seeding, and Planting Schedules for Starting Seeds Indoors and don’t forget our growing tips for cabbage.