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Introduction on how to grow cauliflower in your backyard.
Cauliflower is not the easiest plant to grow, but it’s not the most difficult either. In most cases, the cauliflower will not look perfect if it has problems. But it’ll still be edible.
The flowerhead can be eaten cooked, steamed or raw and besides the great taste, it’s really healthy.
what is a cauliflower in how to grow cauliflower in your backyard?
The Latin name Brassica oleracea var. botrytis shows the cauliflower is the family of the kale plants like kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
If history is right, there were already cauliflowers around in the year 100. So it seems the cauliflower has been around for quite a while.
where to grow cauliflower?
Cauliflower loves a loose, well-draining soil with a lot of aged compost or composted manure.
You can start your cauliflowers indoors in small pots or containers and plant them out in their final spot when the time is right.
The plants should be spaced at about 40 centimeters or 15 inches when planted out in rows. The width between the rows depends on what you need to walk between the plants.
When growing with the square foot method you can plant one cauliflower plant per square foot.
When to grow cauliflower?
Although most brassicas withstand cold easily, to get a nice head the cauliflower needs temperatures of around 18°C or 65°F.
You can start transplanting the plants in late spring and keep growing new seedlings to transplant up to mid-summer.
It is necessary to avoid spring frost by covering the plants or putting them in a greenhouse when frost is predicted. it’s also possible to use low tunnels as this already protects the plants from harsh cold wind.
taking care of cauliflower in your backyard.
Sowing cauliflower is easy. Just sow some seeds half an inch deep or about 1 centimeter deep. Keep the seeds moist. You can use a couple of seeds for one plant, you can thin them out later.
As already mentioned, cauliflower likes a really fertile soil. A good amount of compost or composted manure will give the plant everything it needs to thrive.
If you really need to use fertilizer, try to mix in fertilizer in the soil where it’s final place will be. When using a liquid fertilizer, you can start fertilizing as soon as the plant has 2 real leaves.
Don’t let the plant dry out because cauliflower loves moist but not wet soil.
If you treat your plants well you can harvest from 7 to 12 weeks after transplanting them. Just check the size of the head and when the head starts to crack open.
Phosphor and magnesium are 2 necessary ingredients to have decent heads. So make sure you use a well-balanced fertilizer or good compost and lots of it.
Try to avoid stressing the plants as much as possible. Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry are all stressors that can give premature small heads and you’ll lose a lot of weight when harvesting that way.
If the cauliflower has a lack in phosphorus, you’ll see the white head turn purple. At that time, you’re already too late fertilizing so taking quick action is recommended.
transplanting or planting cauliflower
standard transplanting steps
I already mentioned no to stress the plants too much. This also applies to transplanting the cauliflowers. Although the plants aren’t too sensitive concerning the roots, it’s still a good habit to gently transplant the plants to avoid more stress.
In the paragraphs above this one, I already mentioned the fact that you can start several cauliflowers in one tray and break up the tray soil with the roots inside to transplant the plants. Just do it gently and give a lot of water when the plants are just transplanted so the roots don’t dry out and can heal quickly.
It’s possible that the plants get stunted by transplanting but don’t worry about it too much, they will recover.
grow in pots
One positive thing I can mention is the fact that cauliflower can be grown in pots as well.
Use a pot with a diameter of about 30 centimeters and an equal depth. That’s about 12 inches wide and deep. Just check the water needs daily so you don’t let the plant dry out.
harvesting cauliflower in your backyard
when to harvest cauliflower?
I already mentioned it can take between 7 to 12 weeks after transplanting before you can harvest the cauliflower head.
When first growing the head will grow tightly together as a white mass.
Just wait until you start seeing small cracks in the white flower head before you harvest. The head will be at its biggest.
keeping the head white
When the head gets too much sunlight it can turn yellow.
About a week before the head is ready to harvest, you can bundle up the outer leaves over the head. This will ensure a nice white head to harvest instead of a potentially yellow one.
diseases and pests
If you want to know how to grow cauliflower in your backyard, you need to know the diseases and pests that can threaten your plant.
Clubroot on cauliflower
leaf spot disease
The large cabbage white butterfly
The small cabbage white butterfly
the cabbage root fly
the mealy cabbage aphid
The mealy cabbage aphid or Brevicoryne brassicae can give the plant a growth shock as it sucks necessary moisture and nutrients out of the plants. The aphids can also bring different diseases onto the plants by spreading it through their saliva.
Aphids are an endless pest. They keep on coming back and get more resistant to treatment time after time. While sucking out the life of your plants, aphids can spread diseases with their saliva.
You can treat the infestation with a hard spray of water or with a homemade insecticidal soap mixture. In any case, you’ll have to treat several times. Keep an interval of 3 to 5 days for 3 to 4 times to kill off the critters and the eggs.
So this is it for this article, I hope you’ve found it interesting. If so, please share on social media, with friends, and other gardeners.
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Thanks for reading and see you in the next post.