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CAULIFLOWER SOWING, PLANTING,...
CAULIFLOWER SOWING, PLANTING, GROWING, AND HARVESTING
BOTANICAL NAME: Brassica oleracea, PLANT TYPE: Vegetable, SUN EXPOSURE: Full Sun, SOIL TYPE: Loamy, SOIL PH: Slightly Acidic to Neutral, FLOWER COLOR: White, BLOOM TIME: Spring. Cauliflower is a cool-season crop and a descendant of the common cabbage. It is more difficult to than its relatives because it does not
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BOTANICAL NAME: Brassica oleracea
PLANT TYPE: Vegetable
SUN EXPOSURE: Full Sun
SOIL TYPE: Loamy
SOIL PH: Slightly Acidic to Neutral
FLOWER COLOR: White
BLOOM TIME: Spring
Cauliflower is a cool-season crop and a descendant of the common cabbage. It is more difficult to than its relatives because it does not tolerate the heat or cold as well. For this reason, cauliflower is usually grown commercially.
If you plant to attempt growing cauliflower in the home garden, it requires consistently cool temperatures with temperatures in the 60s. Otherwise, it prematurely “button”—form small button-size heads—rather than forming one, nice white head.
When to Start
Broccoli seeds are best started indoors 7 to 9 weeks before the last frost, at a temperature of 70 to 75 degrees F. They can also be sown outdoors 2 weeks before the last frost. For a winter crop in zones 8 and warmer, sow in late summer. Expect germination in 10 to 14 days.
The same guidelines apply to Cauliflower, except when starting indoors, sow your seeds 5 to 7 weeks before the last frost. Expect germination in 8 to 10 days.
Since Cauliflower is more sensitive to cold than its cabbage-family relatives, you need to start it early enough that it has a chance to mature before the heat of the summer. Be careful, however, not to start it so early it gets damaged by the cold.
How to Start
Sow your Broccoli and Cauliflower seeds at a depth of 4 times the size of the seed, or ½ inch deep, and water thoroughly. Once the seeds have sprouted, be sure to keep the soil lightly moist.
Make sure the plants receive plenty of light -- fluorescent light for around 14 to 16 hours a day is also ideal for the fastest growth. You will want to keep the seedlings just a few inches below the light so they don't“stretch”and get“leggy". If you don't have fluorescent lighting, a south-facing window will do just fine.
Broccoli -- 45 to 60 days from sowing to harvesting
Cauliflower -- 30 to 80 days from sowing to harvesting
If your seedlings have been held too long or mistreated in some way before planting, they can create“buttons”, or small heads, that tend to flower prematurely.
Climatic elements such as extreme cold and drought can cause your plants to halt their full growth and form only “buttons”.
Don't allow your transplants to get too mature before moving them to your garden. If you do, they may become stressed by transplant shock.
A starter fertilizer applied when you transplant your seedlings will get your Broccoli and Cauliflower off to a good start, but it will not compensate for all the possible problems just mentioned.
Beets, Onions, and Garlic are all good companions for your Broccoli and Cauliflower.