Growing Cauliflower In Your Vegetable Garden
Cauliflower may be a bit more challenging to grow in your vegetable garden, but with some simple steps you’ll be able to grow this hearty vegetable, which is high in fiber, vitamin C and a good source of several other nutrients. Growing cauliflower in your vegetable garden loves fertile, well-drained loamy soil with a pH level of 6.0 to 7.0. Prepare your planting area in your vegetable garden by tilling the soil 12 to 15 inches down and then mix well-cured compost to a 6-inch depth. Situate your cauliflower bed to ensure six hours of full sun daily. Plant about three weeks before the last frost for spring gardens or about seven weeks before the first frost for fall crops. Transplant seedlings when they have five leaves, planting them 18 to 24 inches apart in rows spaced about 3 feet apart. Cover the bed with a 3-inch layer of mulch to maintain soil moisture and temperature level. If you are direct-seeding, place the seeds about 1/2 inch deep. Cauliflower needs a steady supply of both water and nutrients, so be sure that your plants receive 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water each week, including rainfall. Feed your veggies every month with fish emulsion or compost tea. To make the tea, mix 1 pound of aged compost and 1 gallon of water. Stir the mix each day. After five days, strain the results through cheesecloth and apply it to the garden. Stop using the tea three weeks before you plan to harvest.
For bright white heads, you need to blanch the cauliflower. To do this, when the head is about the size of an egg — about 2 inches in diameter — pull the leaves of the plant over the head and use clothespins to hold the leaves in place. Also, avoid stress on the plants by disturbing the roots when weeding, giving too much or too little water or putting other strain on the growing vegetables in your vegetable garden to prevent “buttoning,” or premature formation of tiny heads.