GROWING PERFECT CAULIFLOWER

The cauliflower was described by Mark Twain as a a cabbage with a college education, perhaps reflecting the many problems the cauliflower may present during its production. In general terms the soil needs to be in particularly good condition to grow a large cauliflower.

Plant Spacing

Recent research work on mini-cauliflowers shows that very close planting of fast-maturing summer cauliflowers will yield mini-cauliflowers. Spaced 15 cm (6 inch) apart, the plant will yield small white hearts ideal for freezing or delicious cooked straight after picking. Late spring/summer maturing 45 cm (18 inch) apart, autumn maturing 50-60 cm (20-24 inch) apart.

Growing Instructions

Hoe occasionally to control weeds. If cold conditions cause a check in growth., turning the plant bluish-green, apply a liquid fertiliser or hoe in a nitrogenous fertiliser at a rate of 30g/sq.m (1 oz/sq.yd). (Very severe chills and/or other checks may turn the seedlings blind – I.e. with no growing point). Irrigate as frequently as possible throughout growth. As the curds develop, break the midrib of a few large leaves and fold these outer leaves over the cauliflower head. This protects the head from soil splashes and keeps it clean and white.

Harvesting

Cauliflowers can tend to mature all at the same time. Surplus can be stored temporarily by lifting mature plants and hanging them by the stalk in a cool shed. Syringe with water to keep them fresh.

Pests and Diseases

Problems here are generally the same as those affecting cabbages. In addition, if a shortage of molybdenum occurs in the soil it will cause the leaves to become narrow in form and to turn brown (commonly called whiptail). Correct this by a moly dip – a pre-planting root dip which contains a solution with molybdenum as an. ingredient. Boron shortage will cause hollow stems and-curd browning. (Correct this by hoeing a dusting of borax into the soil at a rate of 30g/50sq.m [1 oz/60 sq.yd]).

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