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Cauliflower


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Cauliflower



Cauliflower

CULTURE: In general, cauliflower is grown like cabbage. High fertility, an abundant supply of moisture throughout the season, and "sweet" soil (pH 6.4-7.4) are important.
PLANTING: Sow 1/4" apart indoors or in outdoor seedbeds or cold frames from early March through June. If possible, keep soil at least 70F (21C) until germination, and 60F (16C) thereafter. Transplant small seedlings to 1 1/2-2" plug trays. Transplant outdoors when 4 to 5 weeks old; older plants are generally too checked in growth for good performance! For early spring planting, harden plants carefully by gradually increasing cold before transplanting out, 18" between plants and 24-36" between rows.
DISEASES, INSECT PESTS, AND IMPORTANT NOTES: See under "Cabbage".
BLANCHING: When small white heads become visible through leaves, gather the outer leaves over the head and tie with string or a large rubber band to preserve white curd color. Although tying is not necessary to grow cauliflower, the practice helps prevent yellowing of the curd due to exposure to sunlight and results in better head quality when curd develops during hot weather.
HARVEST: Keep an eye on development, cutting heads when desired size is obtained but before the curd becomes loose.
STORAGE: Store at 32F (0C) and 95% humidity for 2-3 weeks.
DAYS TO MATURITY: From transplanting; add about 20 days if crop is to be direct-seeded.
AVG. PRECISION SEEDING RATE: 4,000'/oz., 4 oz./acre at 2 seeds/ft. in rows 36" apart.
TRANSPLANTS: Avg. 5,600 plants/oz.
SIZED SEEDS: Standard except where noted.
SEED SPECS: SEEDS/LB.: 90,000-170,000 (avg. 128,000).
PKT: 0.105 gm., unless otherwise noted, (avg. 85 seeds) sows avg. 21'.


Cauliflower


A cool-weather crop grown for early summer and fall harvest, cauliflower will flower rapidly if the weather turns hot. Winter harvests are possible in mild Western or Gulf Coast climates. Plants are fairly frost hardy. Allow 60 to 80 days from transplanting to harvest-90 to 100 days for winter crops. See broccoli for culture, care, and pest control.
Start cauliflower from small plants set out 18 to 20 inches apart in rows 20 inches apart. Keep plants actively growing; any growth check might cause premature setting of undersized heads.

Unlike broccoli, with its erect plants, cauliflower forms its edible buds only a few inches above the ground. Blanching of heads whitens them by excluding light and can be done simply by gathering the long wrapper leaves and securing them at the top with a wide rubber band. This prevents the formation of green or purplish pigment. Unwrap the heads occasionally to check for pests. If the weather does turn hot, an overhead sprinkling will create the humidity that cauliflower needs. But donít substitute this for deep soaking.

Harvest heads before the bud segments or "curds" begin to separate in preparation for shooting up flower heads.

Recommended varieties. 'Snowball' and 'Snow King hybrid.' 'Purple Head' has large plants with heads of a deep purple color that turn green in cooking and a flavor somewhat like broccoli. It needs no blanching. In containers. Large size of each plant makes cauliflower impractical in containers.