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HOW to GROW CAULIFLOWER | How to Grow Series

Head of Cauliflower on a green kitchen towel
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CAULIFLOWER: is a wonderful addition to any garden. Learn more on How to Grow Cauliflower in your garden! Along with being a stand-alone vegetable,  fresh cauliflower is perfect eaten fresh or served as a vegetable side dish, plus cauliflower is a significant source of nutrients:

How to Grow Cauliflower

Cauliflower needs:

  • Well-drained
  • Fertile soils
  • Sunny location

Nutrients in Cauliflower

 
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WE WILL COVER:

  1. Soils
  2. Sunlight
  3. Temperature
  4. Planting instructions
  5. Cold Hardiness
  6. Days to Germinate
  7. Thinning
  8. Varieties
  9. Days to Maturity
  10. Harvesting
  11. Storage Tips
  12. Plus, a few fresh Cauliflower Recipes!
  13. Container Gardening
  14. Printable Growing Handout

Find Your Zone:
FREE USDA Hardiness Zone Planting Guide

Complete How to Grow Series!

1. SOILS:

Depending on your geographic location, soils vary tremendously and need different soil amendments.

It is easy to find out how to test your soil with this inexpensive soil tester from Amazon.

2. SUNLIGHT:

Cauliflower, as do most vegetables loves full sun, but can tolerate a little bit of shade; 6 Hours of the full sun should be enough for a healthy crop.

3. TEMPERATURE:

Cauliflower can be grown in cooler temperatures; it is a cool-weather crop.

They do not tolerate hot weather so plant in spring approximately 3 weeks before your last predicted frost date.

For a fall harvest, plant in mid-August so the heads mature in the cool of autumn.

Sow your fall planting approximately 60 days before scheduled hard frosts for your area.

4. PLANTING:

CAULIFLOWER is a High Feeder: Remember to Rotate Your Crops

Since cauliflower needs to be planted in cooler weather, either:

♦Plant indoors 4 to 5 weeks before the last frost

♦Transplant no later than 4 to 5 weeks old

♦Direct Seed 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost

♦Purchase Seedlings from a Nursery

Special Note: If starting cauliflower seeds indoors, plan on covering transplants with either plastic tunnels or cloches to protect them.

Specifics on Starting Cauliflower Seeds Indoors:

  1. Start seeds approximately 6 to 8 weeks before your last scheduled frost
  2. Do not start too early as the cauliflower seedlings will get too leggy and spindly
  3. Use a starting mixture or potting soil
  4. Fill your cups, 6 pack cells, or other little pots with starting mixture
  5. Plant 2 seeds per cells and cover with 1/4″ to 1/2″ dirt and tap firm
  6. Cauliflower seedlings need a good source of direct light
  7. Follow instructions from the grow light manufacturer or have a good south-facing window
  8. Water to keep starting mixture damp but not soggy
  9. Transplant when about 6″ tall
  10. Cover with plastic cloches, plastic milk jugs with tops off, plastic tunnels or cold frames
  11. As heads develop, make sure to tie up the large outer leaves around heads to protect from direct sun

Special Note:

Tying up leaves around non-self blanching cauliflower heads ensures creamy white heads. Direct sunlight on the developing cauliflower heads causes the heads to have a purple color. This is similar to how developing potatoes turn green and purple when exposed to sunlight.

Watch self blanching varieties to make sure the inner leaves are protecting the developing heads.

Specifics on Direct Seeding Cauliflower:

  1. Cauliflower is a high feeder and needs well-drained, fertile soil
  2. Add compost and organic matter to your garden soil
  3. Consider an All-Purpose Fertile or Fish Emulsion
  4. Plant 3 to 4  seeds about 18″ apart and plan on thinning to the hardiest seedling
  5. Cover with 1/2″ dirt and tap firm
  6. Seeds should be planted about 18″ apart in rows
  7. Rows should be 36″ apart
  8. Soil needs to be kept moist throughout the growing season
  9. Hand weed or mulch to suppress weeds
  10. As heads develop, make sure to tie up the large outer leaves around heads to protect from direct sun

Special Note:

Tying up leaves around non-self blanching cauliflower heads ensures creamy white heads.

Watch self blanching varieties to make sure the inner leaves are protecting the developing heads.

Find Out How to Stop Cut Worms!

Cut Worms can destroy your cauliflower seedlings overnight.  Learn How to Protect them Now!

French Watering Cans are especially useful.

♦Please Note: add this information to your Gardening Journal.

5. COLD HARDINESS:

Cauliflower can withstand cool weather. It does best under 75 degrees. So, set out transplants at the last frost. Cover with cloche or tunnels.

Direct seed 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost. It will take cauliflower seeds a little longer to germinate in cold, damp weather.

Related How to Grow Series

6. DAYS to GERMINATE: approximately 8 days

Cauliflower seeds typically germinate in approximately 8 days.

 7. THINNING: 

Cauliflower seedlings should be set out approximately 18 inches apart. If direct-seeded, thin your cauliflower plants to 18 inches apart. When cauliflower plants are to close together, small button type heads may grow instead of full normal size heads.

8. VARIETIES:

  1. Snowball 50 Days – this is an early cauliflower
  2. Bishop 62 Days – this is a mid-season to late summer cauliflower
  3. High Mowing Organic Cauliflower Seed Varieties
  4. Denali 73 Days – this is a late summer to fall cauliflower

If you would like to pick your variety, take a look here: Cauliflower Varieties

9. DAYS to MATURITY:  62 and 80 days

Dates vary but you can pick mature cauliflower heads in approximately 50 to 65 days. 

10. HOW to HARVEST: 

  • Begin cutting your cauliflower as soon as the heads appear with tight buds and are fully developed
  • If cabbage looper caterpillars are a problem, simply soak in saltwater for 15 minutes and then rinse

11. STORAGE IDEAS: 

  • Wash and Store Cauliflower for fresh eating
  • If cabbage looper caterpillars are a problem, soak for 15 minutes in saltwater and then rinse
  • Store in the crisper drawer
  • Rinse, Blanch and Freeze

Ball Canning and Freezing Resource Book

12. RECIPE IDEAS for Cauliflower

Lightly Steam and sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and Lemon Pepper

Roasted Cauliflower

Healthy Detox Cauliflower Salad

Cauliflower Recipes from Bon Appetit

Do Not Forget to:

  • Simple Eating Fresh!
  • Cauliflower florets make Beautiful garnishes plus work very well on Vegetable Trays!

13. CONTAINER GARDENING:

Cauliflower can be grown in pots or containers. They are a fairly large plant so care must be taken to provide adequate growing room. You will need a larger pot or container with at least 20″ of dirt or potting soil.

Keep soil moist throughout the growing season. Watch for hot temperatures if growing in a greenhouse setting. Use a sun or shade cloth and proper ventilation.

Harvest when heads are full, heavy and while the little buds are still tightly closed.

14. PRINTABLE GROWING GUIDE:

Yield: Depends on Number of Plants

HOW to GROW CAULIFLOWER | How to Grow Series

Freshly Harvested Head of Cauliflower on a green kitchen towel

Learn How to Grow Cauliflower

Active Time 2 months
Total Time 2 months
Difficulty Easy to Plant and Grow
Estimated Cost Inexpensive

Materials

  • Cauliflower Seeds or Seedlings
  • Starting Mixture
  • Planting Cells or Small Pots
  • Or, if Direct Seeding-fertile Garden Soil

Tools

  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Trowel
  • Gloves
  • Watering Can

Instructions

Quick Planting Review:

♦Plant indoors 5 weeks before last frost

♦Direct Seed 3 to 4 weeks before last frost

 

Specifics on Starting Cauliflower Seeds Indoors:

  1. Start seeds approximately 5 weeks before your last scheduled frost
  2. Do not start too early as the cauliflower seedlings will get too leggy and spindly
  3. Use a starting mixture or potting soil
  4. Fill your individual cups, 6 pack cells, or other little pots with starting mixture
  5. Plant 2 seeds per cells and cover with 1/4" to 1/2" dirt and tap firm
  6. Cauliflower seedlings need a good source of direct light
  7. Follow instructions from the grow light manufacturer or have a good south facing window
  8. Water to keep starting mixture damp but not soggy
  9. Transplant at approximately 5 to 6 weeks of age
  10. Transplant when about 6" tall
  11. Cover with plastic cloches, plastic milk jugs with tops off, plastic tunnels or cold frames
  12. As heads develop, make sure to tie up leaves around heads to protect from direct sun

Special Note:

Tying up leaves around non-self blanching cauliflower heads insures creamy white heads.

Watch self blanching varieties to make sure the inner leaves are protecting the developing heads.

Specifics on Direct Seeding Cauliflower:

  1. Cauliflower is a high feeder and needs well drained, fertile soil
  2. Add compost and organic matter to your garden soil
  3. Consider an All Purpose Fertile or Fish Emulsion
  4. Plant 3 to 4 seeds every 18 inches
  5. Cover with 1/2" inch dirt and tap firm
  6. Rows should be 36" apart
  7. Soil needs to be kept moist throughout the growing season
  8. Hand Weed or Mulch to suppress weeds
  9. As heads develop, make sure to tie up leaves around heads to protect from direct sun

Special Note:

Tying up leaves around non-self blanching cauliflower heads insures creamy white heads.

Watch self blanching varieties to make sure the inner leaves are protecting the developing heads.

DAYS to GERMINATE: approximately 7 to 9 days

 

THINNING: 

Cauliflower seedlings should be set out approximately 18 inches apart. If direct seeded, thin your cauliflower plants to 18 inches apart. When cauliflower plants are to close together, small button type heads may grow instead of full normal size heads.

 

DAYS to MATURITY: 50 to 72 days

 

HOW to HARVEST: 

  • Begin cutting your cauliflower as soon as full heads appear with tight buds and are fully developed
  • If cabbage looper caterpillars are a problem, simply soak in salt water for 15 minutes and then rinse

 

 STORAGE IDEAS: for Cauliflower

  • Wash and Store Cauliflower for fresh eating
  • If cabbage looper caterpillars are a problem, soak for 15 minutes in salt water and then rinse
  • Store in crisper drawer
  • Rinse, Blanch and Freeze

 

Notes

  • CAULIFLOWER is a High Feeder: Remember to Rotate Your Crops
  • IF CABBAGE LOOPER CATERPILLARS are a problem: simply soak in salt water for 15 minutes and then rinse

NOTE: Cut Worms can destroy your broccoli seedlings overnight. Protect them now!

COMPANION PLANTING for Cauliflower:

Cauliflower loves to be planted by Beets, Celery, Lettuces, Onions, Spinach & Potatoes but NOT by Peppers, Tomatoes or Strawberry!

HOW to GROW CAULIFLOWER | How to Grow Series promo image

How to Grow Cauliflower is part of the How to Grow Series and first appeared on OriginalHomesteading.com

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