Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea)

When to Plant

Sow directly outside in late spring or start indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost.

Location/Soil

A cool weather crop that likes well drained, moisture retaining soil. Plant in full sun. Plants do best in rich soil – the addition of compost or well rotted manure to the planting area will keep the soil in great shape.

Planting & Growing Information

Sow seeds 13 mm (1/2″) deep and 13 mm (1/2″) apart. Plants should be spaced 45 cm (18″) apart with rows spaced 60 cm (24″) apart.

When starting indoors, it is easiest to sow 3-4 seeds in a Jiffy pot and then thin to the strongest plant. It is best to have transplants set out into the garden by the time they have 6-8 leaves.

Seeds germinate in approximately 7-10 days.

Days to Maturity

From the date transplanted into the garden. If sown direct into the garden, add approximately 20 days.

Other Information

Keep plants well watered throughout the growing season.

Shade the developing cauliflower heads (curds) by tying up the leaves over the tops of the plants. It is important to keep the curds from sunlight so they are white and flavorful for harvesting.

To reduce the risk of disease, it is ideal to practice crop rotation and plant in a different area of the garden that has not grown cauliflower or its relatives (broccoli, cabbage, kale) in the previous 2-3 years.

Unstable environmental conditions like cold weather at time of transplanting, drought and extreme heat can cause the plant to produce very tiny heads at maturity or sometimes none at all.

Harvesting & Storage

Harvest when cauliflower heads are compact, firm and snowy white.

Heads can also be harvested when solid and smaller in size (about ¾ of mature size).

Heads left too long on the plant can loosen, become discolored and develop a strong flavor.

To store, do not remove the outer leaves. Simply cut from the stalk and store in the crisper of the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Also excellent for freezing.

Companion Planting

Likes: Beans, celery, oregano

How to Freeze Cauliflower

  1. Harvest the vegetables on a day you have plenty of time to prepare them.
  2. Wash the vegetables thoroughly in cool water while you start a pot of water to boil. Also, make an ice bath in the side of a sink or in a large pail at the same time.
  3. Cut cauliflower into separate florets.
  4. When water is at a rolling boil, plunge them into boiling water for about 2-3 minutes and then remove from the boiling water with a slotted spoon or dump them into a strainer and place immediately into an ice bath for 30 seconds or longer to stop the cooking.
  5. Once the cauliflower has cooled, drain them and put into freezer bags. Seal them and label them with the name and date. Stow in the freezer for up to 6 months.