Cauliflower: Three Tips for Successful Growing

Cauliflowers may have the notorious reputation of being hard to grow.  But don’t be scared off into not having them in your garden.  Aside from new varieties being more tolerant, there are also several tips you can apply to make growing cauliflowers relatively easy.

Most failure in growing this pretty vegetable is because of a lack of soil preparation.  Every plant needs nutrients to successfully grow and they don’t get this from your refrigerator of course, but from the soil where they are planted in.

Soil Preparation

So the first step you should take note of even before planting cauliflowers is to prepare the soil.  If the area has previously been planted with peas and beans the previous year, there’s no need to dig in more compost.

However, if the soil is poor, it’s best to dig in a lot of well-rotted compost into it, preferably in autumn so the soil can be given enough time to settle.  Remember that cauliflowers are heavy feeders and therefore need lots of nutrients from the soil.

The soil should also have an acidity of about 6.5 to 7pH.  A soil that is too acidic encourages club root, so add lime to the soil as necessary.  You can use a pH meter or soil testing kit to make sure how much to add.  Wait at least a month between adding manure and the lime.

Weather and Watering

Cauliflowers are sensitive to sudden changes in weather, most especially when they are exposed to too much sun.  Such a condition will cause the head to turn yellow.  During hot summers, you may want to fold a few inner leaves to shield them from the sun.  You will have to do this even with self-blanching cauliflower varieties.

Take note to water your cauliflower thoroughly and regularly especially during dry spells.  Erratic watering will result to poor head formation.

Other Useful Tips

Before transplanting, make sure seedlings are correctly hardened off by using a cold frame especially if they have been raised in a greenhouse.  A seedling that has not been hardened off will produce heads that are too small.

Protect your cauliflower plants from being feasted on by caterpillars and pigeons by netting them.

During harvest time, it might be tempting to let the cauliflower heads sit a little longer on the plant to admire how beautiful they are.  Don’t.

Doing this might cause the smooth curd to open up.  It will also encourage fungus to grow and lead to early deterioration.