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Cauliflower, everything there is to know about growing it


Cauliflower is a vegetable that has low calorie levels and high fiber, calcium and magnesium content.

Cauliflower facts

Name – Brassica botrytis
Family – Brassicaceae
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. Each requires specific growing conditions and planting times.

Sowing cauliflower

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

  • Sowing cauliflower in a traySow 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 purchased in nursery pots

The ideal time to plant is just after the last frost spells, towards mid-May. However, you can keep sowing or planting new ones all the way up to September. This will enable you to harvest during winter, too.

  • Plant your cauliflower in good garden soil, preferably enriched with nitrogen-rich manure.

Spacing for cauliflower seedlings

  • Space plants at least 24 to 32 inches (60 to 80 cm) apart.

Space cauliflower about 60 to 80 cm apartThis planting distance of at least two to three feet gives the plant the space it needs to unfurl its large leaves. Moreover, it’s important not to crowd plants together, or you’ll increase the risk of getting overrun with the cabbage moth caterpillar.

  • Indeed, touching leaves let caterpillars travel easily from one plant to the next.
  • You have to be able to circle around each plant to check for its eggs to remove them.

After sowing, how to care for cauliflower

Cauliflower careAs 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.


Cauliflower requires 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 wetting leaves to keep fungus from appearing.
  • Good mulch retains moisture in the soil.
  • Hoeing greatly helps reduce watering…

Parasites and diseases that attack cauliflower

Caterpillar cauliflowerThe 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. The most voracious of these is large white.

For these two pests, avoid chemicals at any cost, because your vegetables and soil could be contaminated. Try an organic solution like BT instead.

Harvesting cauliflower

Harvesting CauliflowerBest season to harvest cauliflower

Heads 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 plants from the cold from November onwards and you will be able to harvest them in winter.

Read also:

Smart tip about cauliflower

Provide your seedlings with extra nutrients. Fertilizer, manure and seaweed-based compost are excellent. This boosts growth and will greatly increase the harvest!

Images: depositphotos: Naruk; Pixabay: Carlos López, Evita Ochel, JacLou DL, J Garget, Lakeblog
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