Cauliflower - Cultivation
Cauliflower is a cool-season vegetable from the Brassica family that is extremely sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Cauliflower needs stable weather in the 60-68-degree range, full sun, and slightly acidic, loamy soil that is rich in organic matter. The soil should be mulched and fertilized every couple of weeks with compost tea, nitrogen fertilizer, or fish emulsion to keep moisture in the soil even, consistent, and cool. Keeping the soil moist also prevents the heads from buttoning, or forming many small heads instead of one, large head. Cauliflower is best to transplant 2-4 weeks before the last frost in the spring and requires frequent watering to keep the soil moist. It can also be planted in the fall depending on the climate. As the Cauliflower grows, it may need to be covered or shaded to protect from pests and heat. It takes approximately 75-85 days from transplant for the heads to mature, but before they can be harvested, they need to be blanched, which is a process of wrapping the leaves around the head to protect it from the sun and develop the pure white color. Blanching is only required for white varieties as purple, orange, and green varieties are self-blanching and have leaves that naturally cover the head. Cauliflower can be harvested 7-12 days after blanching.