Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea botrytis L.) is a flower vegetable of which there are several varieties, some early, others late, which allows you to consume your own crops almost throughout the year. The icing on the cake, we can grow cauliflower in any region and therefore in any type of climate, but precautions must still be taken. Moreover, the cauliflower requires care that must be taken care of throughout its development. Here are the main tips for planting, maintaining, protecting and harvesting your cauliflower.
It is in spring that we plant the cauliflowers, but not too early because it is better if the risk of frost is avoided. In the regions north of the Loire one can quietly wait for the second half of May.
Planting takes place as follows:
- Dig furrows spaced about 60 cm apart from each other,
- Mix the earth with a good amount of humus,
- Dig holes every 60 cm,
- Install one cauliflower plant per hole,
- Pack the earth around the feet without damaging the still fragile roots,
We really insist on regularity watering from planting to harvesting the cauliflower, without bathing the roots in water.
The transplanting seedlings of cauliflower (bought ready to plant or obtained after sowing) takes place as soon as the soil is sufficiently warmed by the sun and the seedlings have had time to form 5 real leaves the length of which reaches at least 1 cm. For about ten days after transplanting, the growth of the seedlings pauses. There is no need to worry as this is completely normal. It will resume when the plants have acclimatized to their new environment and are well rooted.
Once the transplanting is done, patience is required because the buds do not start to form until after a month and a half.
Cauliflower loves deep soils, moderately clayey, fresh and fertile as well as sunny exposures to light shade during the hottest hours.
About the seed sowing cauliflower, they require some gardening experience. This is the reason why many people prefer to buy their plants ready to be transplanted. For information, the seeds are sown in spring, between March and April, in a soil for sowing, 2 cm deep and at a distance of 4 to 5 cm from each other. Once covered with a thin layer of potting soil, they must be watered in rain.
The germination may be more or less long since it depends on climatic conditions. If it’s too cold, it takes longer than if the temperatures are mild. Which is to say that it is not useful to sow too early.
Caring for cauliflowers in the garden
To benefit from its harvest of cauliflower, no care should be neglected.
To successfully grow cauliflower, the soil must always be wet. It is therefore necessary towater regularly and to be particularly vigilant in summer or in any season if it does not rain enough. It is very important not to let the soil dry out between two waterings. Be careful, however, not to wet the foliage.
We recommend installing a mulch at the foot cauliflowers to limit evaporation. In this way, the earth retains a bit of freshness even when it is hot. It is also useful in limiting the growth of unwanted herbs. Mulch becomes essential in severe drought or scorching temperatures, but it is just as useful for protecting the crop in harsh climates.
We are talking aboutstripping. In fact, most of the leaves are removed as they appear to promote flower formation. However, it is necessary to keep some leaves of generous size per foot since they will be used to cover the heads. They are the guarantee of a good harvest.
For stimulate recovery plants in pots, we bring them nitrogen fertilizer. Gourmet, cauliflower subsequently needs to be installed in well-amended soil. As it grows, you can add fertilizer rich in easily assimilated nitrogen, but you should know that cauliflower also needs magnesium and potassium. You can get organic fertilizer specific to garden centers.
Cover the heads with cauliflower
This is absolutely fundamental in order to achieve maturity white cauliflower. It is enough simply to take beautiful large leaves at the base of the stem and to cover each bud from its formation.
Parasites and diseases
Cauliflower is highly regarded by many many parasites such as caterpillars (cabbageworm), snails, slugs, flea beetles, sawfly larvae and aphids. Also watch out for the vegetable fly as well as the midge, another fly that can wreak havoc. To prevent infestation of all kinds of parasites, the best solution is to put an anti-insect veil as soon as the seedlings are set up.
The cauliflower hernia is to be feared. Bulges appear at the roots and gradually the plant withers. Adding lime to the plantation is a good preventive measure. At the same time, it is important to obtain plants from very resistant varieties to cauliflower hernia.
Experts recommend waiting 3 or 4 years before growing cauliflower in the same place. The crop rotation is fundamental to limit the risk of disease.
Friendly plants, enemy plants
In the vegetable garden it is useful to know associate vegetables with friendly plants. For cauliflower, these are tomatoes, lettuce, celery and beans. On the other hand, it is better to keep it away from other varieties of cruciferous plants, turnips, and we also avoid cultivating it near strawberries.
Harvest the cauliflower
The late fall marks the start of the cauliflower harvest. Signs to look out for when this flower vegetable is ripe are a very white apple and an compact head. Some varieties are harvested earlier, but the principle to appreciate the good maturity of the buds is always the same.
Cauliflower keeps well after picking when you take care to cut all the leaves and hang it upside down. We keep it in a very fresh local. Shortly before cooking it, it is recommended to immerse the stem in water for a dozen hours. It is also possible to freeze the florets. Raw, simply blanched or cooked, cauliflower is a real delight, well supplied with selenium as well as vitamins B6, B9 and C. In addition, it is low in calories and very rich in water.