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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 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

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: 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
14 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
The legginess and leaning towards the light is a common feature of indoor grown seedlings. If you could find a light,airy spot outside that would be better. If you only have open places make a frame over them with some leafy branches or timber and an old net curtain. Keep the water up to them and they will 'harden off' as they grow. If they are still leggy when you are ready to plant them just plant them a bit deeper. Trust this helps.
12 Feb 17, Des (Australia - temperate climate)
G'day Mark, you could try a two metre fence, horses love green veg. For "Caterpillars", use Yates Nature's Way. It is organic and it stops the larvae eating. It takes longer to work but you will find almost instant results. Being organic there is no harm in using it almost up to harvest.
23 Jan 17, (Australia - temperate climate)
I plant all caterpillar eating veggies ie kale, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, in the one large bed and net it while they are still seedlings. No white butterflies can get to them.
20 Mar 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
Over the last few years I have the problem of sparrows eating off all my new seedlings planted out in early Autumn. Planted out Honi Tsai Tai, rocket, snow peas, lettuce, beetroot, green and red cabbage the other week. I have a shade cloth over to reduce the heat this time of the year but it couldn't cover all the plants. The birds went to town eating them. I went on the internet and found anti bird netting. 10x 5m $25. about 15mm mesh. This will not only keep the birds out but also cabbage moths etc. Maybe even bean fly (might double the mesh over. I also found Chinese Hong Kong people who sell it very cheap 3x 6 or 10m for less than $3. 2-3 weeks postage. I will be able to grow broccoli again now and also start earlier and finish later with my veggie growing. All you need is some PVC pipe, some pieces of wood / metal pipe about 20" long, the netting and some stakes or something to lay on the netting on the ground to stop birds etc getting in.
17 Dec 16, Agnes Lynn (Australia - temperate climate)
OOPs. i bought the seedlings from Masters and planted them. I dont think i will get any but i will keep watering.
20 Mar 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
Cauli is a winter crop - try planting now, March. I don't plant anything from August to Feb over summer - too hot (lots of watering and chance of lots of rain and wind). My soil is generally too rich and I just grow a big plant with no cauli head developing. I gave up trying to grow caulies 20 yrs ago. I fallow my ground during summer adding plant residue and grass clippings and turning it over a few times. Have pretty good soil when I plant in Feb/March. Plants just boom. Last year I had Savoy cabbage with leaves the size of a tennis racket in July/August - no head developed - other cabbage did head up though.
20 Dec 16, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Cauliflower is the same species as cabbage. If your plants don't form heads you can use the leaves in coleslaw, soup or stir fries. Unless you need the space for something else let them keep growing.
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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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