Cauliflower prefers well-drained, fertile soil, and full sun. Plants grow 24-30” and take 50-60 days to mature. Set out spring plants 2 to 4 weeks before the last frost. Be prepared to protect them from cold weather with a cloth cover or old milk jug. Space plants 12-18” apart in rows 30” apart.
Cauliflower needs to be supplied with adequate, even moisture to avoid stress. Mulching around the plants with material such as straw or compost will help keep the soil cool and moist and will keep weeds in check. During dry spells, cauliflower requires 1-2” of water weekly. Young heads will benefit from a side dressing of compost matter, fish emulsion, or compost tea every few weeks.
To produce a “white” head you may need to pull the leaves up over heads once they are 2” across and fasten with a clothespin. This shades the head and encourages blanching. The heads are then ready about a week or so after you tie up the leaves.
Cauliflower brassica oleracea var. botrytis
Cauliflower culture –
Cauliflower is a cool-season crop in the Brassica oleracea family, which includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, kale, and kohlrabi. Snow Crown Cauliflower is easy to grow. Its sweet, mild flavor and rapid growth make it a popular favorite. Huge, flat heads are 7-8” across, weigh 1-2 lbs, and are very cold tolerant. A vigorous grower, it maintains its flavor whether eaten fresh or after freezing. Grows best in cool weather – 60 degrees or less is optimum.
Harvest before the curds begin to open up and are no longer in a tight formation. Use a sharp knife and cut at the base of the head no matter how small it is. At this stage, heads will not continue to grow larger, but will actually decline in quality. Harvested heads will keep when refrigerated for up to two weeks.
For a fall crop, plants should be set out 6-8 weeks before the first frost. Be prepared to shade them, if needed, to protect from heat. Plants will store for about a month if you pull them up by the roots and hang them upside down in a cool place.