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     Growing Cauliflower                                                                     <<Back to Vegetable Ward

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 Introduction
Cauliflower's are grown as Annuals or biennials, they form curds about 8ins across, the plants vary in height according to variety from 18-24 ins they can spread up to 3 ft, gardeners and seed catalogues classify them by there season of use IE: Early Summer, Summer/ Autumn and Winter, with a distinction of those that will  stand  frosty conditions and those that need a frost free area.
Most cauliflower's have white or creamy curds, but there are those that have green or purple curds. There are mini cauliflower's with curds 2 in in diameter grown from early summer cultivars.
Cauliflower's are a cool season crop and don't grow well in high summer temperatures, there are several cultivars that are frost hardy. But you can only harvest Cauliflower's all year round if you live in a frost free area. On where to site Cauliflower's look at Western Brassicas, over wintering Cauliflower's need a sheltered site, I myself surround the plants with a windbreak of plastic netting as used by road repairers. But don't tell anybody or I may have the local road repairers down on my plot looking for their netting.
 
 Preparing the bed for cauliflower's
Cauliflower's need a well consolidated soil, so the rule is leave several months between digging and planting, when digging work in plenty of well rotted manure or compost, lime later if necessary. In spring apply a general fertiliser, use a protective disc if cabbage root fly is a problem, tread down surface, rake lightly remove any rubbish off the surface.
 Sowing and planting
You can sow in a seed bed, but I prefer sowing in pan's under glass, and transplanting to 2in pots, then plant out then there are 5-6 leaves transplanting into pots then planting out gives the young plant a good start in life and helps to combat many diseases.
 Looking after the crop
Never let the plants dry out, hoe regularly and put up some kind of netting against the dreaded Pigeon's. Feed occasionally with Nitro-Chalk, Cauliflower's are a hungry crop. With Summer varieties bend over the leaves to protect the curd from the Sun and the same goes for Winter varieties to protect from Snow & Frost.
 Harvesting the crop
Cut Curds in the morning while there is still dew on them, but in frosty weather leave till midday, if you want to keep them for up to 3 weeks before use dig up the whole plant shake off any soil off the roots and hang upside down in a cool shed, mist the heads occasionally.

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