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How to Grow Cauliflowers
By planting a succession, Cauliflowers may be cut, nearly the whole year round. The principals to success in Cauliflower growing is to keep the plants on the “go” from the time the seeds germinate until the heads are formed, as any severe check is fatal to the production of well-developed heads. Cauliflowers require a deeply-worked, good, rich soil, prepared as recommended for Cabbages. Sow early varieties, such as Extra Early Eclipse, the plants being transplanted out to their permanent position from Spring; under normal conditions, they will be ready to cut in about twelve weeks after planting out.
When to Plant Cauliflower
It depends on the type of cauliflower plant, there are three types of cauliflower; summer, autumn and winter varieties. Summer varieties can be sown in the cold frame in September, indoors in January or outdoors in April and some varieties may be harvested in June or July while other outdoor sown varieties will be ready during August. Cauliflowers need a minimum of 6-8 weeks for for growing.
Sow seeds of Late varieties, such as Late Eclipse, but it is a mistake to attempt to sow seed too late in the season. Cauliflower plants, in common with the other members of the Brassica tribe, must be raised in a box or seed bed and planted out. After sowing the seed keep the young seedlings shaded from the hot sun or cool frosts as per your climate. Should the seedlings come up too thickly thin them out, for on no account must the young plants crowd each other, as this would result in long drawn-up spindly growth. The young seedlings should be regularly and plentifully watered, other wise they will become stunted.
How far apart to plant cauliflower
Transplant seedlings 2-3 weeks after the last frost date, or when large enough to handle, transplant out in rows 3 feet apart, allowing 2½ feet between the plants in the rows.
Carry out the transplanting during cloudy or showery weather, and then, if care be taken, the young plants will not suffer any check by their removal. Should the soil be too dry when planting out, the roots may be dipped in a mixture of cow dung, blood manure, or superphosphate and water, made up to the consistency of thick paste. This will considerably lessen wilting. After transplanting, the general treatment consists in keeping the ·weeds down, and the soil between the rows and plants well loosened with the hoe.
The process of shading a cauliflower head helps keep the head bright white. To blanch cauliflower heads, wrap the leaves around the head of the plant and secure them with twine. Occasionally do a peek test to check for pests and to see how the plant is blanching.
There are many good varieties of Cauliflower available, but for the Home Garden choose both early and late varieties for your home garden. If you live in an area with hot summers, plant varieties like Snow Crown, Amazing, Cheddar and Graffiti, which can handle a little heat. Cauliflowers are susceptible to club root, I recommend you purchase clubroot resistant varieties if this is a problem in your area.
Growing Problems of Cauliflowers
Cauliflowers are also susceptible to clubroot, cabbage root fly, caterpillars, slugs and birds. Caterpillars will eat the leaves and slugs to climb the stem to eat away the surface of the curds leaving brown holes.