Growing Cauliflower in the Vegetable Garden
Why Grow Cauliflower in the Garden?
Cauliflower is one of Travis's favorite fall crops to grow due to three major benefits. The first benefit is the ability to succession plant it throughout the growing season. This means when growing cauliflower you can plant it at several different times throughout the fall and get multiple harvestings. The second benefit of growing cauliflower is the excellent storage it possesses. Unlike other crops, cauliflower can be stored for up to two weeks when stored properly after harvesting. The third reason is simply the taste profile that cauliflower obtains. When discussing the taste difference between store-bought and homegrown cauliflower, the best taste would be homegrown cauliflower. However, when growing cauliflower it is important to plant during accurate temperatures. During the growing stages of cauliflower if there is any type of stress they may experience a problem known as buttoning. Buttoning is a process that makes tiny button cauliflower heads which happens when temperatures are too cold or hot. The buttoning can also happen if cauliflower plants experience a drought or growing in poor soil conditions in the vegetable garden. Along with buttoning, cauliflower is susceptible to diseases such as downy mildew, black rot, and cabbage worms. To help fight off some of these pest and disease pressures we prefer to use our Spinosad Garden Insect Spray to control these problems in the vegetable garden. Overall, growing cauliflower in the vegetable garden can lead to many health benefits. Cauliflower provides plenty of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and K which are needed to fight off inflammation in the human body.
On this week's episode, Travis talks all about growing cauliflower in the vegetable garden. We recommend starting cauliflower transplants either in late summer or late August. Our seed starting trays work great for transplanting cauliflower due to the vertical root training ribs that allow for better root ball drainage and aeration. We recommend transplanting over direct seeding because you are able to achieve more consistent plant spacing and reduces disease pressures during the early growth stages. Three excellent varieties that Travis mentions is the Snow Bowl, Flame Star, and Graffiti. The Snow Bowl variety is a white cauliflower that makes wrapper leaves which helps with keeping the crowns of cauliflower protected from the sunlight in the vegetable garden. The Flame Star is a hybrid variety that produces orange/yellow heads of cauliflower. Since this variety produces a yellow cauliflower we do not have to worry about the sun bleaching the large heads. The snow bowl and flame star cauliflower are early maturing varieties that are ready for harvesting around 50 to 60 days. While the Graffiti Cauliflower variety is heat tolerant and produces a darker purple color, unlike other traditional cauliflower varieties. The Graffiti variety takes a little longer to mature in the vegetable garden and is usually ready for harvest within 80 days. The best time to harvest cauliflower is when the heads reach around 5 to 6 inches in diameter. If the cauliflower crowns become too large the plant leaves are unable to wrap the crowns which can in return cause discoloration by the sun.