If you’ve been wondering how to plant cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis), you’ll find that it is not difficult. Growing cauliflower can be done right along with other closely related plants like broccoli, kale and turnips.
Best Time to Plant Cauliflower
Growing cauliflower is best done in cool temperatures with moist conditions. You can grow cauliflower as a summer or fall crop. Typically, you’ll plant cauliflower in mid spring for an early summer harvest or in mid summer for a fall harvest.
It takes 8 to 10 weeks to produce a summer crop and 4 to 5 weeks to produce a fall crop. When growing cauliflower, a fall crop will produce more quality plants than a summer crop.
How to Plant Cauliflower
Hot weather, too low of temperatures, or drought will result in premature heads. When growing cauliflower, remember that the plant is sensitive to conditions unfavorable for its growth.
When growing cauliflower, you should have a hotbed or greenhouse to help you produce transplants in the early spring.
Cauliflower grows best in soil that is fertile and soft so it can hold enough moisture. When thinking about how to grow cauliflower, you should remember that it requires a rich soil and lots of nutrients.
Plant the seeds ½ to ¾ inches deep. The rows should be 3 to 6 inches (7.6 to 15 cm.) apart, with a maximum of eight seeds per 1 foot (30 cm.) of row. If the plant bed starts to overcrowd, thin the plants to 1 inch (2.5 cm.) apart in the row.
When your plants are ready to be moved outside, plant cauliflower on 8- to 10-inch (20-25 cm.) rows at least 36 inches (91 cm.) apart. Make sure the rows are at least 15 inches (38 cm.) apart. When you first water, use a high phosphate fertilizer so the plants can get a good contact with the soil.
Fertilize frequently; cauliflower likes a good magnesium level as well and will show symptoms of deficiency when the soil is allowed to become too acidic.
Water your cauliflower every 5 to 7 days. This is required for your cauliflower to produce nice heads. Cauliflower is sensitive to both over and under watering as well, so be sure to irrigate the plants so they don’t get stressed.
When to Harvest Cauliflower
Mature heads that are fully developed will be clear white, compact and about 6 inches (15 cm.) in diameter. Cut the cauliflower from the plant with a large knife, leaving at least one set of leaves to protect the head.
Harvesting cauliflower doesn’t end when you cut the main head. You can harvest continuously after that because the plant will continue to produce little florets after harvesting the main head, much like broccoli. These florets can be harvested and eaten.