Inner leaves wrap to protect the deep, white curds. Produces heavy yields. Try raw with dips or broken into salads. Rich in vitamin C.
Light requirements Full sun.
Planting Space 18 inches apart.
Soil requirements Cauliflower needs well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Amend soil with compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be 6.5 to 6.8.
Water requirements Keep soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Aim for 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week through rainfall or irrigation. Mulch soil to reduce water evaporation.
Frost-fighting plan Established plants tolerate light frosts. It’s a good idea to protect newly planted seedlings from late spring frosts by covering plants with either a frost blanket or cut-off milk jugs or plastic soda bottles.
Pests to watch out for Cabbage loopers and imported cabbageworms are common cauliflower pests. Other problems include cabbage root maggots, aphids and flea beetles.
Common issues Diseases include black leg, black rot, clubroot and yellows; pests include cabbage loopers, imported cabbageworms, cabbage root maggots, aphids, and flea beetles. Cauliflower forms the best heads when temperatures are 15ºC to 20ºC; excessively small heads result when plants experience prolonged low temps (4ºC or lower) or high temps (above 25ºC).
Growing tip When the head is 2 inches across, cover it with the upper leaves, using a clothespin to hold the leaves in place. This will allow the head to turn white.
Harvesting Cut heads that are large and fully developed, with tight buds. (Judge harvest time by bud tightness, not overall head size.) Cut stems just below heads. Once cauliflower buds start to crack open, stems and buds lose their appealing texture, becoming mealy and even woody. Cut any head immediately if you see buds beginning to open.
Storage Refrigerate unwashed heads in a loosely closed plastic bag. Heads will store up to 14 days. Always store cauliflower with the stem end down to keep any stray water drops away from the florets.