According to Mark Twain, â€śCauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.â€ť
Perhaps itâ€™s this element of superiority that makes cauliflower a bit more difficult to grow than some of itsÂ brassica relatives. Cauliflower requires rich soil in order to thriveâ€”light shade is beneficial in warm weather but can slow maturity in cooler temperatures; cool, damp conditions are also important criteria to consider because excessively hot or dry conditions can prevent cauliflower heads from
Cauliflower is semi-hardy and can withstand a minor frost, but a hard frost is likely too severe for it to withstand.
In addition to the common white varieties, explore the stunning purple-headed varieties of cauliflowerâ€”the heirloom Purple of Sicily variety is popular for its color as well as its resistance to bug infestation.
Start your cauliflower seeds indoors, 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep, 3 inches apart, and then transplant outdoors at approximately 6 weeks of age, planting 18 inches apart with 30 inches between rows.
To retain your cauliflower headsâ€™ snowy whiteness, blanch them when the heads are approximately 2 inches in diameter (slightly smaller than a doorknob) before sunlight reaches the heads. To blanch them, tie or pin the leaves closed over the cauliflower heads; harvest 7 to 14 days later. (Some varieties of cauliflower are self-blanching, and the leaves naturally grow to cover the head, rendering additional blanching unnecessary.)
Read more about growing brassicas.
About the Author: Samantha Johnson is the author of several books, including a forthcoming book on gardening for children. She raises purebred Welsh Mountain Ponies in northern Wisconsin.