How to Grow Cauliflowers
Not an easy crop to grow well, particularly summer and autumn varieties, because any check to growth, such as drought, usually results in the curds splitting and running up to flowers well before they reach their proper size.
Their main need is for a deep and fertile soil well supplied with organic matter and deeply dug, preferably well in advance of planting. Rich loams are best but light soils are fine as long as they have good organic matter, moisture and plant food reserves. All these encourage rapid growth and, hence, good quality plants.
2lb (0.9kg) per plant.
Time from Sowing to harvest
Varies widely; 3-4 months for summer and autumn varieties, 4-6 months for late autumn varieties and up to a year for those maturing in the spring.
Spring maturing, ‘Aalsmeer’, ‘Mayflower’. July-October, ‘Aviso’. September-December ‘Moby Dick’. As with, there are now some terrific ‘coloured’ varieties. For example,’GreenTrevi’ and ‘Alverda’ (green), ‘Sunset’ and ‘Cheddar’ (orange), ‘Graffiti’ (reddy purple), ‘Violet Queen’ and ‘Aviron’ (pure white). Another favourite of mine is the weirdly-shaped ‘Romanesco’ cauliflower ‘Veronica’ is a good selection but there are several others.
Spring maturing varieties, late May. Summer and early autumn, mid-March to late April. Earliest summer crops are from an early February Sowing in a heated. Autumn, mid-May.
Sow outdoors half an inch deep in a fine tilth. Water the seeds if necessary, and later the seedlings to keep them growing.
Those raised in heat should be hardened off and planted outside in mid-March. Spring maturing varieties, transplant mid-duly. Summer & early autumn, mid-May to mid-June. Autumn varieties, late June.
Keepto kill weeds. Give a pre-planting dressing to summer and autumn varieties and never allow them to run short of water. Most varieties that have to stand the winter have self-protecting curds. However, if this is not working very well, snap off an outside leaf and lay it over the curd.
Pests and diseases
Cut cauliflowers before the curds start to ‘blow’ (open out), or before that, when you consider them large enough. Cutting in the morning on sunny days stops them going floppy in the heat of a summer’s day.