Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable; perfect raw for dips or salads, but equally delicious roasted, served as a gratin, or as soup. And it’s not just that perfect, snow-white vegetable that so many of us are used to; there are also orange, purple, and bright green cauliflowers available for the home gardener!
Where to Grow Organic Cauliflower
For cauliflower, you need well drained and rich soil. Before planting, add the compost to the soil. The cauliflower need at least six hours full sun every day.
If you want to plant regular cauliflower, you can buy it’s organic transplant from the nearest nursery or garden. But, for a rare variety, you need to start you veggie with the seeds.
The best time to begin the planting is ten weeks before the last spring frost date. Sow the cauliflower indoors nearly 3 months before the frost date, and then bring them outdoor four weeks before the spring frost.
Cauliflower seed should be sown indoors ten to twelve weeks before your last spring frost date. Now, they can handle some frost and cool temperature, so it is okay.
Maintain a good distance between two plants, like 20 to 35 inches apart. To retain the moisture in the soil, use the mulch. As the plant grows, they will certainly appreciate some more mulch.
How to Grow Organic Cauliflower
If there is less moisture in the soil, the cauliflower will die for sure. They requires plenty of moisture at every cost. Along with mulch, you need to add compost tea or fish emulsion i intervals of weeks improve their growth rate.
If you are not growing a rare variety, and want to see a pure white cauliflower, you should blanch it. Blanching is to pulling some of the leaves and wrap them around the head of cauliflower to secure it. It helps in reducing the direct sunlight, and give you pristinely white cauliflower.
You can also remove a lower leaf or two and lay them over the top of the clothespinned leaves to keep out any light that would get in through the openings between the leaves.
Cauliflower Pests and Problems
The two most common problems for cauliflower are cabbage worms and flea beetles.
To control cabbage worms, consider growing your plants under a floating row cover, to prevent the cabbage white butterflies from laying eggs in the first place. You can also hand-pick the green worms, or dust with Bt if you’re dealing with a large infestation. It is really hard to control them once the heads start forming (since the worms can hide in the head) so the floating row cover is probably your best option here.
For flea beetles, consider growing under row covers or hand picking. Young plants need the most protection; older plants can usually withstand a flea beetle attack.
Another common problem is small heads. This can often be the result of either spacing the plants too closely, or, more commonly, a long, cool spring. If you have a short growing season, and cool springs, it’s probably best to grow cauliflower as a fall crop rather than a spring one; you’ll get more reliable yields this way.
Recommended Cauliflower Varieties
‘Early Snowball’ is an heirloom variety that forms 6-inch white heads with solid, crisp curds.
‘Giant of Naples’ is an Italian heirloom that forms huge, 3 pound, white heads.
‘Violetta Italia’ produces large, beautiful purple heads that turn bright green when you cook them.
‘Green Macerata’ is an Italian heirloom that produces large, bright green heads on vigorous plants.