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Growing Cauliflower

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

(Best months for growing Cauliflower in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays. T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings.

  • 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 in same bed): Dwarf (bush) beans, beets, celery, cucumber, onions, marigold, nasturtium, rhubarb, aromatic herbs (sage, dill, chamomile)
  • Avoid growing in same bed: 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

11 Jun 15, Yatra (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have harvested a couple of good looking cauliflowers. The tops are starting to go pinkish in small areas and also quickly covering all smaller ones in the garden. Can this be a fungal thing and will covering the tops with the leaves help? Thank you
19 Dec 13, Michelle (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Once I have picked the cauliflower, do I need to remove the plant or will another cauli grow? Thanks.
20 Dec 13, (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Thank you for the replies, I don't think I explained myself very well. I grew beautiful big cauliflowers, I've picked them and the question is, now what do I do with the plant left behind - will another cauliflower grow from the stalk or do I pull the whole plant out? Thanks
21 Jul 10, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
You can use the leaves but they might be a bit tough.
21 Jun 10, (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Cauliflowers can take 4 to 6 months to grow to a usable size, so hang in there.
11 Jul 08, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi K Harrison, It is difficult to say what is wrong without seeing your plants. One possibility is frost damage. Can you take a piece of a damaged plant into your local nursery? They may be able to look up in some reference books for you.
11 Jul 08, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Michael, to get a good size curd from each plant, you will probably only fit three plants at the most in each tub. Cauliflower like plenty of organic matter and some lime to reduce soil acidity. They are fairly slow growing and do not like hot weather. Make sure the tubs do not dry out.
21 Jun 08, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Michael, I don't know which climate area you are in, but you can still plant out cauliflower seedlings during colder weather. In tubs, protected from frost they should grow well. They will spread their leaves to about 1 1/2 x 2 feet (40x60cm),bigger leaves mean better sized curds.
01 Jun 08, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Annie, the curd keeps growing for quite a while but it is best picked while still white and firm. Each plant will grow at a different rate so they won't all be ready together.
12 Jan 08, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
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.

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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. GardenGrow 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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