How to grow Cauliflower


Cultivation A deeply-dug well-manured soil in an open sunny position is best, but the ideal condition is when the crop follows a heavily manured one such as early potatoes. Apply a dressing of superphosphate at 55g (2oz) per sq m (sq yd) prior to planting. As for other brassicas the soil must be well firmed. The earliest cauliflowers for June cutting are raised from seed sown in boxes in a heated greenhouse in January or February. Prick off the seedlings into boxes, or pot up individually and gradually harden off until plants are ready for setting out in rows 45cm (18in) apart with 45cm (18in) between the plants in April or May as weather and locality permit. If heat is not available sow seed in a cold frame in September, prick out seedlings at 7cm (3in) intervals and plant out in the spring. Caterpillars rarely attack this early crop. Sow seed for the main crop in March in drills 6mm (0.25in) deep and 23cm (9in) apart in a sheltered seed bed and plant out in May, 60cm (2ft) apart and 75cm (21ft) between the rows. An adequate supply of water, and continuous hoeing to keep a surface dust mulch, will go a long way to ensure a good crop. As soon as a head or curd appears a leaf may be broken over it to provide shade or the curd is likely to become discolored. As with broccoli there is a wide choice of varieties with varying periods of maturity, but careful planning is required to ensure a succession of heads throughout the season. Among the best-known varieties are `Early Snowball’ and `Delfter Market’, for cutting during June or July; ‘Early London’ and ‘Dwarf Mammoth’, which mature in August; ‘Majestic’, which is ready in September; Walcheren’, an old variety, ready October to December; `Veitch’s Self Protecting’, for late October cutting; ‘Canberra’ a newer Australian variety, maturing in November and December.


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