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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

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

12 Feb 19, Linda (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi I was wondering when you say to plant cauliflower in seed trays undercover in February, do you mean in a glass house, or under shade cloth? I live in Taradale, Victoria, which is temperate, but we get little rain and have had some really hot sunny days lately that have fried some of my crops. However, we get frosts here that are not like the surrounding areas, and have had things die overnight from that well before and after winter. I also read that cauliflower doesn't take well to transplanting. So would sowing seed direct in February, under shade cloth be okay? Also, Thanks I love this site and all your information Linda
12 Feb 19, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
Read all the notes here about growing it. Doesn't like frosts - doesn't like hot days, doesn't like really rich soil. Caulies and cabbage take a lot of care to grow to the seedling stage.If growing seeds, need a good controlled environment - temperature and watering. Undercover means out of the sun and heat. You are starting them in hot/warm weather to transplant when the weather is a bit cooler and grow as the weather goes into winter. When you transplant it is best to have soil around the roots if possible, do it late in the afternoon and put some protection over them - shade for a week or so, water morning and night - only need a light watering. Little plants have small root system so need watering more often. Big plants - bigger watering less often. (Under cover also means protected from frosts- Liz)
23 Oct 18, Sue (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Please can you explain why my cauliflowers have small heads 10cm and open.some were planted April and August. The soil has a lot of compost in it.
24 Oct 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Read your NZ guide for caulies - plant seed in Feb. You grow them into the winter. You would probably have them picked by July/Aug. Something I have never been able to grow in our sub tropical area.
04 Aug 18, Steve (Australia - temperate climate)
Being new to the veggie planting, and can I say I really do enjoy my little garden. My question is when is the right time to remove the cauliflower heads??
06 Aug 18, Mike L (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Caulies can look a couple of different ways. A good caulie will have a nice tight head. A No 1 caulie will be open looking. Check what a good caulie looks like in a supermarket. Probably not long after they reach full size - not growing bigger any more.
25 May 18, Chris (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Gidday. Can someine tell me if St Lawrence Qld which lies smack bang between Rocky to the South and Mackay to the North is Tropical or Sub-tropical? No-one seems to actually know.
30 May 18, Mike L (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
More so Sub-Tropical as it is only just north of Rocky. The notes here say from Rocky south.
19 Apr 18, Leanne Webb (Australia - temperate climate)
You forgot bakeing cauliflower and it is fantastic better than all other types of cooking. Just a bit of olive oil and season to taste
17 Apr 18, Harriet (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
How to get rid of grub worms naturaly?
Showing 1 - 10 of 172 comments

I have Cauliflowers that have formed small heads which are visible. I suspect there is a problem as it is too soon for them to be mature. My query is- Will the head keep growing or should I harvest them now. I have covered the heads with outside cauli leaves to stop the sunlight yellowing them.

- Beth

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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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