Cauliflower: Site and Soil

Cauliflower, a cool season crop, is reputed to be hard to grow.  It has a more demanding requirement when it comes to climate and soil compared with its relatives like broccoli, cabbage and turnips.

This crop thrives in a relatively cool temperature.  Cauliflowers dislike extremely hot weather, drought or a temperature that’s too low.  When exposed to such conditions, the plants will produce premature curds or heads.

When selecting an area to plant cauliflowers, choose an open space where it can get enough sunlight.  However, make sure the site will not expose it to the north and east winds.

Never plant cauliflowers in an area where a member of the Brassica family has been grown the past two years.  To avoid clubroot and other problems, use at least a three-year rotation plan.

Cauliflowers also have a strict requirement when it comes to the soil where it will be planted.  They need neutral or at least slightly alkaline soil (about 6pH) to thrive.  It should also be fertile, preferably those that are high in magnesium, with the capacity to retain moisture but drain excess water.  The soil must also be firm.

If the soil requirements are not followed, there are many possible problems that might occur.

Soil that is too acidic or lacks the necessary trace elements will result to whiptail.  Boron deficiency will produce plants with hollow stems and brown discoloration.

Very small and discolored cauliflower heads will also result if the soil where the cauliflower is planted in is too limey or chalky.