Cauliflower, everything there is to know about growing it

Cauliflowers are vegetables that have low calorie levels and have high fiber, calcium and magnesium contents.

Key Cauliflower facts

Name – Brassica botrytis
Family – brassicas
Type – biennial vegetable

Exposure – full sun
Soil – cool, deep, moist and rich

Harvest – June to November

Special care, from sowing and planting up to harvest, will help you get magnificent cabbage.

Sowing, planting cauliflower

Cauliflower comes in different varieties and each requires specific growing conditions and planting times.

Sowing cauliflower

Growing cauliflower takes much longer, since it needs nearly 7 months from seed to harvest.

  • Sow in March and April in a sheltered place to harvest in fall.
  • It’s also possible to start sowing as early as February in a heated shelter.
  • Sow from May to July directly in the ground to harvest in winter, but protect your cauliflower plants from November onwards.

Planting cauliflower plants purchased in nursery pots

The ideal time to plant is just after the last frost spells, towards mid-May, all the way to September to be able to harvest in November.

  • Plant your cauliflower in good garden soil, preferably enriched with nitrogen-rich manure.
  • Place plants at least 24 to 32 inches (60 to 80 cm) apart.

After sowing, how to care for cauliflower

As soon as seedlings have sprouted at least 3 to 4 leaves, transplant them to their target location. Protect the seedlings if you need to plant them before the month of May.

  • Space plants 16 inches (40 cm) apart when transplanting.
    This space is needed to give the plants room to grow.
  • The soil must have been well tilled beforehand.

Watering cauliflower

Cauliflower require a lot of water and must be watered, especially during heat waves.

  • Water regularly but in smaller amounts to keep moisture at a sufficient level.
  • Avoid watering the leaves to keep fungus from appearing.
  • Good mulch retains moisture in the soil.
  • Hoeing helps reduce watering…

Parasites and diseases that attack cauliflower

The main enemy of cauliflower is downy mildew. Moisture is the primary factor that enables the spread of downy mildew.

  • Avoid watering the leaves of your broccoli cauliflower plants.
  • Don’t overcrowd plants so that air circulates well among the leaves.
  • Read our advice on how to treat downy mildew.

Note that cauliflower is also the target of aphids and, of course, caterpillars.

For these two parasites, avoid chemical treatments at any cost, because your vegetables and soil could be contaminated.

Harvesting cauliflower

Cauliflower harvest stacked with cut leaf stalks.Best season to harvest cauliflower

Cauliflower can be harvested practically all year round, depending on when they were sown.

Harvesting takes place around 3 months after planting, but this may depend on the climate.

How to harvest cauliflower

Wait for the head to be well-formed, and slice it or tear it off at ground level, since the stem can’t produce any other head for harvest.

Protect your cauliflower plants from November onwards and you will be able to harvest them in winter.

Smart tip about cauliflower

Provide your cauliflower with extra nutrients (fertilizer, manure and seaweed-based compost) to boost growth and especially enhance your own harvest!

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Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Head of cauliflower by JacLou DL under Pixabay license
Cauliflower harvest by Evita Ochel under Pixabay license