Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea botrytis L.) is a flower vegetable of which there are several varieties, some early, others late, which allows you to consume your own crops almost throughout the year. The icing on the cake, cauliflower can be grown in any region and therefore in any type of climate, but precautions are still to be taken. Moreover, cauliflower requires care that must be ensured throughout its development. Here are the main tips to follow to plant, maintain, protect and harvest your cauliflowers.
This is in spring that the cauliflowers are planted, but not too early because it is better that the risks of frost are removed. In the regions north of the Loire, we can calmly wait for the second half of May.
Planting proceeds as follows:
- Dig furrows spaced about 60 cm from each other,
- Mix the earth with a good amount of humus,
- Dig holes every 60 cm,
- Install one cauliflower plant per hole,
- Compact the earth around the feet without damaging the still frail roots,
We really insist on regularity watering from planting to harvesting the cauliflower, without however soaking the roots in water.
The transplanting young cauliflower plants (purchased ready to plant or obtained after sowing) takes place as soon as the soil is sufficiently warmed by the sun and the seedlings have had time to form 5 real leaves whose length reaches at least 1 cm. For about ten days after transplanting, the growth of the seedlings pauses. No need to worry as this is completely normal. It will resume when the plants have acclimatized to their new environment and are well rooted.
Once transplanted, patience is required as the buds only begin to form after a month and a half.
Cauliflower loves deep soils, moderately clayey, costs et fertile as well as sunny exposures to slightly shaded during the hottest hours.
About the seed sowing cauliflower, they require some gardening experience. This is why many people prefer to buy their seedlings ready for transplanting. For information, the seeds are sown in the spring, between March and April, in a soil for seedlings, 2 cm deep and at a distance of 4 to 5 cm from each other. Once covered with a thin layer of soil, they must be watered with rain.
The germination perhaps more or less long since it depends on climatic conditions. If it’s too cold, it takes longer than if the temperatures are mild. Which is to say that it is not useful to sow too early.
Caring for cauliflowers in the garden
To benefit from your cauliflower harvest, you must not neglect any care.
To successfully grow cauliflower, the soil must always be wet. It is therefore necessary towater regularly and to be particularly vigilant in summer or in any season if it does not rain enough. It is very important not to let the soil dry out between two waterings. Be careful, however, not to wet the foliage.
We recommend installing a mulch at the foot cauliflower to limit evaporation. In this way, the earth retains a little freshness even when it is hot. It is also useful to limit the development of unwanted weeds. Mulch becomes essential in the event of severe drought or scorching temperatures, but it is just as useful to protect the crop in harsh climates.
Rather, we are talking aboutstripping. In fact, most of the leaves are removed as they appear to promote flower formation. However, it is necessary to save some leaves of generous size per foot since they will be used to cover the heads. They are the guarantee of a good harvest.
Pour stimulate recovery seedlings in pots, we bring them nitrogen fertilizer. Gourmand, cauliflower needs to be planted in well-amended soil thereafter. As it grows, you can add fertilizer rich in easily assimilated nitrogen, but you should know that cauliflower also needs magnesium and potassium. You can get hold of organic fertilizer specific to gardening.
Cover the cauliflower heads
This is absolutely fundamental to mature white cauliflowers. All you have to do is pick some nice big leaves from the base of the stem and cover every bud from its formation.
Pests and diseases
Cauliflower is very popular with many parasites such as caterpillars (cabbageworm), snails, slugs, flea beetles, sawfly larvae and aphids. Also watch for the vegetable fly and the midge, another fly that can wreak havoc. To prevent the infestation of parasites of all kinds, the best solution is to apply an anti-insect veil as soon as the seedlings are set up.
The cauliflower clubroot is to be feared. Swellings appear at the level of the roots and little by little the plant withers. Adding lime to the planting is a good means of prevention. At the same time, it is important to obtain plants from very resistant varieties to cauliflower clubroot.
Specialists recommend waiting 3 or 4 years before growing cauliflower in the same place. The rotation des cultures is essential to limit the risk of disease.
Friendly plants, enemy plants
In the vegetable garden it is useful to know associate vegetables with friendly plants. For cauliflower, these are tomatoes, lettuce, celery and beans. On the other hand, it is better to keep it away from other varieties of crucifers, turnips, and we also avoid growing it near strawberries.
The late autumn signals the start of the cauliflower harvest. The signs to look for when this flower vegetable is ready are a very white apple and an compact head. Some varieties are harvested earlier, but the principle for assessing the good maturity of the heads is always the same.
Cauliflower keeps well after picking as soon as you take care to cut all the leaves and hang it upside down. We keep it in a cool place. Shortly before cooking it, it is recommended to immerse the stalk in water for about twelve hours. It is also possible to freeze the florets. Raw, simply blanched or cooked, cauliflower is a real delicacy well endowed with selenium as well as vitamins B6, B9 and C. In addition, it is low in calories and very rich in water.