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Cauliflower

Cauliflower gets a purple tinge when the blanching process is delayed. It’s harmless and doesn’t affect the taste, but it will turn an unappetizing grayish cast when cooked. Orange and purple varieties (like Cheddar and Graffiti) are delicious show-stoppers that retain their beautiful colors when cooked.


Size: 12 to 18 inches

Sunlight requirements: Full sun (A minimum of six hours is ideal.)

Water requirements: About 1 inch per week

Soil requirements: Average, well-drained garden soil, high in organic matter. Excessive nitrogen levels will result in excess foliage at the expense of good head formation and a condition called hollow stem.

When to plant: Transplant seedlings mid-March through May for early production. Autumn harvests should be planted in June and July.

Where to plant: Garden; containers (5-gallon minimum)

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When to harvest: 50 to 90 days after seeding, depending on the variety. Self-blanching varieties don’t have to be covered, but gather and fasten foliage of those that aren’t with a clothes pin when the flower curds are 1 to 2 inches across. This blanches the heads to a pure white. Expect to harvest about 2 weeks after beginning the blanching process. To harvest, cut heads along with 2 or 3 protecting leaves when white and rice-like. Over-mature cauliflower may split.

Produce storage: Store in plastic bags in high humidity at 40 degrees F for two to three weeks.

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