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Cauliflower

Botanical Name
Brassica oleracea var. botrytis
Height
1 to 2 feet
Width
18 to 36 inches
Light
Full sun
Soil
Moist, well-drained, fertile
Planting & Care
  • Cauliflower is the most difficult of the cole crops to grow.  Timing is critical.  Heads will not develop in hot or dry weather.
  • Too much sun, heat or nitrogen will result in deformed "ricey" heads
  • Provide plants with consistent moisture and fertility.  Shield plants from extreme cold, heat, drought or plant damage.  Any one of these can arrest the development of the head.
  • Sow seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost
  • Provide direct light so that seedlings don't become leggy
  • Transplant into garden when the soil temperature is at least 50° and the danger of frost has passed.  Plants should have four or 5 true leaves.
  • Space transplants 16 to 24 inches apart in rows 24 to 36 inches apart
  • Never buy or plant stunted or leggy transplants that have been held too long
  • Larger, older transplants are more likely to bolt when exposed to cool temperatures
  • Because of the shallow root system of cauliflower, avoid even light cultivation
  • Mulch soil around plants to conserve moisture, suppress weeds and protect roots
  • When the head is 2 to 3 inches in diameter, it's time blanch to protect the color and flavor of the head
    • With a string or rubber band, secure the outer leaves together over the center of the plant to protect the head from sunburn
  • With the proper growing conditions, the head develops quickly and can be harvested in 7 to 12 days after blanching or when the head grows to 6 to 8 inches in diameter
  • Harvest the heads by cutting the main stem
Problems
Cabbage worms, flea beetles, ahpids, slugs, snails, clubroot, purple blotch, black rot, cabbage yellows
Varieties
  • Self-Blanche - leaves naturally curl over the head and usually doesn't require blanching
  • Snowball Y Improved - another self-blanching variety, 6 inch head
  • Andes - self-blanching
  • Candid Charm - self-blanching, large head
  • Serrano - self-blanching, 6 to 7 inch head
  • Snow Crown - tolerant to heat and cold, resistant to yellows, All-America Selections winner
  • Snow Grace - improved Snow Crown
  • Snow King - 8 to 9 inch head, very early, heat tolerant
  • White Corona - small 3 to 4 inch head, very early, ideal for compact gardens and short seasons
  • Violet Queen Hybrid - purple head, self-blanching

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