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Growing Cauliflower

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
  S S P                

(Best months for growing Cauliflower in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays. P = Plant in the garden.

  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 50°F and 86°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 24 - 39 inches apart
  • Harvest in 15-22 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow in same bed): Dwarf (bush) beans, beets, celery, cucumber, onions, marigold, nasturtium, rhubarb, aromatic herbs (sage, dill, chamomile)
  • Avoid growing in same bed: Climbing (pole) beans, tomato, peppers (chili, capsicum), eggplant (aubergine), strawberry, mustard
  • Mature cauliflower
    Mature cauliflower

Large leafed cabbage-like with a white 'curd' or flower forming in the centre. It can be hard to grow successfully. More frost sensitive than most brassicas, it's also not particularly heat tolerant. They tend to fail if stressed when transplanting.

Watch for cabbage white butterfly. Grow better in cooler temperatures. Not suitable for warm areas. Break a leaf over the head to prevent the curd becoming discoloured

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Cauliflower

Cauliflower can be steamed.
Young ones can be broken into small pieces and added raw to salad.
Cook briefly and add to curry mix.
Traditionally served with cheese sauce.
Add tomato slices for colour.

Your comments and tips

13 Feb 17, Trevor (Australia - temperate climate)
I have just started cauliflower inside. The seedlings have popped up and I have the seedlings next to a bright window. They look like they are stretching/elongated but afraid to put them outside as it is too hot. Will they be ok until I put them out in 4 - 6 weeks? Or maybe find a shady spot outside? I have them growing in toilet rolls. Thanks
14 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
The legginess and leaning towards the light is a common feature of indoor grown seedlings. If you could find a light,airy spot outside that would be better. If you only have open places make a frame over them with some leafy branches or timber and an old net curtain. Keep the water up to them and they will 'harden off' as they grow. If they are still leggy when you are ready to plant them just plant them a bit deeper. Trust this helps.
12 Feb 17, Des (Australia - temperate climate)
G'day Mark, you could try a two metre fence, horses love green veg. For "Caterpillars", use Yates Nature's Way. It is organic and it stops the larvae eating. It takes longer to work but you will find almost instant results. Being organic there is no harm in using it almost up to harvest.
23 Jan 17, (Australia - temperate climate)
I plant all caterpillar eating veggies ie kale, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, in the one large bed and net it while they are still seedlings. No white butterflies can get to them.
17 Dec 16, Agnes Lynn (Australia - temperate climate)
OOPs. i bought the seedlings from Masters and planted them. I dont think i will get any but i will keep watering.
20 Dec 16, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Cauliflower is the same species as cabbage. If your plants don't form heads you can use the leaves in coleslaw, soup or stir fries. Unless you need the space for something else let them keep growing.
16 Jul 16, Rob (Australia - temperate climate)
Does anyone use neem oil for cabbage moth and grub? Do you have success? I just mixed 5ml of neem (80%) to 1ltr of water plus a squirt of detergent and sprayed my kale, cabbage and cauliflower seedlings. I'll see how it goes.... Do you think it will keep the green grubs off? My veggie patch is in Albion Park NSW 2527. What else is neem oil good for in the garden? Thanks, Rob.
21 Jul 16, Leigh (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Rob! I'm interested in the answer also, and I'm just up the road in Dapto :D I use neem oil to spray our lemon tree.
09 Jun 16, Margaret Thomas (Australia - temperate climate)
I grow cauliflower from plants & they take forever to form a head. The outside leaves are big green & healthy.Does it help if i tie the leaves together before a head forms?
17 Feb 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
It might be a sign of high nitrogen content in your garden bed. That would explain large leaves and little main head growth. I had the same issue and started feeding with compost tea using a sprayer , had very good results after the change.
Showing 1 - 10 of 142 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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