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Growing Cauliflower

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
  S S P                

(Best months for growing Cauliflower in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays P = Sow seed

  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 50°F and 86°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 24 - 39 inches apart
  • Harvest in 15-22 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Dwarf (bush) beans, beets, celery, cucumber, onions, marigold, nasturtium, rhubarb, aromatic herbs (sage, dill, chamomile)
  • Avoid growing close to: Climbing (pole) beans, tomato, peppers (chili, capsicum), eggplant (aubergine), strawberry, mustard
  • Mature cauliflower
    Mature cauliflower

Large leafed cabbage-like with a white 'curd' or flower forming in the centre. It can be hard to grow successfully. More frost sensitive than most brassicas, it's also not particularly heat tolerant. They tend to fail if stressed when transplanting.

Watch for cabbage white butterfly. Grow better in cooler temperatures. Not suitable for warm areas. Break a leaf over the head to prevent the curd becoming discoloured

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Cauliflower

Cauliflower can be steamed.
Young ones can be broken into small pieces and added raw to salad.
Cook briefly and add to curry mix.
Traditionally served with cheese sauce.
Add tomato slices for colour.

Your comments and tips

13 Oct 17, John Hansen (Australia - temperate climate)
My cauliflowers are flowering but are not forming tight clusters more like separate pinheads. Planted in May 2017. Thank you
13 Oct 17, Lewis (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi! Great article on cauliflowers, thanks! I'm in Melbourne, and I planted out my cauli as seedlings from Diggers in early July. One of the caulis went to head at the end of august, but none of the others are showing any signs of heading up. I've considered feeding them with seaweed emulsion, but I'm worried that will just promote more leaves. My broccoli has been and gone which I planted at the same time. It's starting to get warm, so I'm worried they've missed their moment? Do you think I should leave them longer or chop them out for the summer crop? Many thanks!! Lewis
16 Oct 17, Lewis (Australia - temperate climate)
Oops! I meant I planted them in early June!! Thanks
16 Oct 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I don't know about where you live, but we have had quite a warm winter. So I think it has to do with the weather. I had the same problem with broccoli and savoy cabbage. Probably better to plant in April May. I use to try and grow caulies but gave up. Huge plants and no heads.
21 Jul 17, Rob (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Not realy a good plan, the old leaves both provide some nutrients and protect the flower from sun damage insects even bird guanu and if you've got kids they find it good fun to keep looking for the first flowers.when they do finally find them its a great moment as there is that success feeling, that adds to the fun and enjoyment of gardening
24 Jun 17, Stuart worsfold (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
My cauliflowers and cabbages were planted about 6 weeks ago. They have grown huge with early foliage but not starting to heart yet. Can I cut the older leaves off and would it encourage them to heart faster
26 Jun 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
I have the same problem - too much N and probably too much water. My plants struggled to get above surrounding plants and then took off. We are too good to our plants. I have stopped watering them to try and make them go to seed (heads). Take a few bottom leaves off.
27 Feb 17, robert (Australia - tropical climate)
Can I grow brocoli/cauliflower/rhubarb in Townsville and if so what time of year is best. Do they go into direct sunlight or shady area. Just moved to here and I want to establish my own garden for my needs.
28 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
You can grow broccoli and cauliflower. There is a local group called - Permaculture Townsville and their website is: permaculturetownsville.org. Have a look at their site and maybe contact them for local advice. Rhubarb would be a real challenge as it likes cooler winters. Peter Cundall of various gardening publications suggests freezing the root, wrapped in plastic for a month during what we would call winter. I have not tried it but he has had many years of eperience and says it works. Trust this helps.
13 Feb 17, Trevor (Australia - temperate climate)
I have just started cauliflower inside. The seedlings have popped up and I have the seedlings next to a bright window. They look like they are stretching/elongated but afraid to put them outside as it is too hot. Will they be ok until I put them out in 4 - 6 weeks? Or maybe find a shady spot outside? I have them growing in toilet rolls. Thanks
Showing 1 - 10 of 156 comments

The cauliflower curd is edible if it is slightly yellowed. It will have a stronger flavour, not always acceptable. Sunlight causes discolouration and this is worse in warmer climates.

- Liz

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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