Cauliflower cannot usually be seen in home gardens. However, it can be grown easily just like other garden vegetables. It has similar health benefits as that of other green veggies like cabbage and broccoli. It is rich in fibre, vitamin C and other cancer-fighting compounds.
This cruciferous vegetable is well suited in cool weather. It can be grown even in pots or containers if you have limited garden space. Today we are going to show you how.
#1 As a rule of thumb, you need to start your cauliflower seeds 10 weeks prior to your last frost date if you are planning to have a spring crop. But if you are targeting for a fall crop, then you need to start the seeds 12 weeks before the frost date.
You can gain knowledge about the average frost dates of your area from the local extensive service.
#2 Now you will have to fill some potting soil in the plastic nursery pots. This should be done by leaving ½ inch space at the very top. Four seeds shall have to be placed at the middle of each pot.
#3 You can cover up these seeds lightly with some soil. However, the soil needs to be kept moist and not wet.
#4 As and when the seeds sprout, the pots will have to be placed under a glow lamp or near a sunny window.
#5 Once the seedlings attain a height of 2 inches, you need to thin them to one plant per pot. The soil shall also have to be kept moist until you plant your seedlings in a larger container.
Growing The Plant In Containers
#1 While filling soil inside the containers, you need to leave at least one-inch space at the top. Next you will have to remove the seedlings from the nursery pots. This can be done by squeezing the sides of the pot gently. Once you tilt the plant sideways, you can catch it with your opposite hand.
#2 Now you will have to make a big hole at the centre of your container by pushing the soil aside. The hole needs to be big enough for accommodating your seedling’s roots.
You need to next place the seedling in the hole and keep the soil adequately moistened. A well-balanced water-soluble fertilizer can be used for catering to the nutrient requirement of the seedling.
#3 The container should be placed outside for about four weeks prior to the last average frost date if you are planning for a spring crop. In the case of a fall crop, it should be placed outside for six weeks. The containers need to be positioned in such a way that it receives between six to eight hours of sunlight daily.
#4 While hydrating the soil, you need to make sure that it doesn’t become wet. Rather, the soil needs to be adequately moist. You should also be aware that the soil doesn’t dry out. The plant should ideally be fed on the passage of every four weeks using a balanced water-soluble fertilizer.
#5 Once the cauliflower plants attain a height of 2 to 3 inches, you can blanch its head. This can be done by tying the leaves of the plant in such a way that it doubles as a shade over its head. Doing this helps in keeping the head white.
Alternatively, you can proceed with the self-blanching variety. This step can also be skipped if you don’t have any problem in consuming green cauliflower.
#6 As the cauliflower attains your desired size, you can harvest its head. Generally, the cauliflower head tastes the most delicious if it is harvested on attaining a width of 6 to 8 inches. You can harvest this nutrient rich vegetable using a sharp knife.
But you need to cut if low for leaving a circle of leaves attached with its head. On completion of harvesting, you can pull out the plant from the container and put it in along with the yard debris.
Tips For Growing Cauliflower
Your container should have a diameter of 12 inches and depth of 12 inches. The ones measuring between 16 to 18 inches are ideal for growing cauliflower. You can store your pots in a place experiencing 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit temperature.
This should be done if you are aiming for a fall crop. Cauliflower transplants require between 50 to 120 days to attain maturity. They can tolerate light frost just like other cool weather plants.
You can gain more accurate information pertaining to the same from the seed packet. All directions are printed on the package and you need to follow the same while applying fertilizer.
You should stick to the recommended amount. It is also advised not to use the soil in which your cauliflower was planted for any other related crop such as kale, broccoli or cabbage. Doing so tends to increase the probability of succumbing to diseases. You can thus use this soil for growing peas, beans, tomatoes and lettuce.
The best thing about cauliflower is that it doesn’t require much sunlight for its growth. You can yield best results by planting it in early spring.
However, you need to ensure that your garden soil is rich in nutrients for best results. While growing cauliflower, you need to be especially careful about tiny button-sized heads which happens due to poor soil quality and extreme temperature.