Cauliflower won the “best in show” award for my winter garden. With its waist-high green leaves, it looked like a plant that belonged under the sea – not in the backyard of my Central Florida home!
I almost wrote the cauliflower off as a bust, like our pumpkin-less vine, until a nice cold snap in January motivated each plant to grow a big white head. The florets tasted delicious and according to my husband, we’re growing 10 times as many cauliflower plants next year. But I’m not quite sure we have the space for 30 of these huge plants! 🙂
How To Grow Cauliflower
What seeds did I use?
I used the Ferry-Morse cauliflower seeds in the early snowball X variety.
How did I plant the seeds?
We planted 4 seeds directly into a garden bed with mushroom dirt mixture. Make sure you leave 2 to 3 feet between each seed because, as you can see above, these plants get BIG and need the room. All but one plant took off and, in hindsight, that’s because the forth plant was right against the shaded fence which hindered growth. But that’s the beauty of a first garden, you live and learn.
Also, it’s important to note that most sources recommend “blanching” a cauliflower head when it starts to grow. No, not the cooking type of blanching. This blanching involves tying the top leaves together to prevent the sun from beating down on the florets. You can read more about it here. We didn’t need to blanch our crop this season because our leaves grew so big, but it’s good to know for the future!
How long did it take from seed to salad bowl?
It took 4 to 5 whole months to grow. The seed directions said that it should only take 55 days – or just shy of 2 months – but the warm weather in October and November may have contributed to the slow growth. In any case, the plants were beautiful to look at and the cauliflower tasted delicious. The take-away lesson is don’t get discouraged and rip the plants up too soon because the vegetables may need more time to grow.
How do you harvest cauliflower?
Once the head is 6 to 12 inches in diameter, you can cut the head from the stem while leaving several of the smaller leaves attached.
My daughter got a kick out of the cauliflower being “as big as my head.”
How do you prepare cauliflower to eat?
I followed the advice of several sources and soaked the cauliflower in water with 1-2 Tbsp of salt to make sure no insects were hiding in the florets. No, thankfully we did not have any insects bother the cauliflower! They stayed on the tomato plants.
Come out, come out wherever you are!
We personally ate the florets raw in salads and for snacks. But haven’t you noticed that it’s the new trendy carb substitute? From cauliflower pizza crust to mashed faux-potatoes, the possibilities are endless!
Jane’s Cauliflower Review
Gardening skill level: Easy
Seeds: Ferry-Morse Cauliflower
Garden space & soil: Partial sun, mushroom dirt mixture
Pest control: None
Seed to salad bowl (growth): 4-5 months
Washing: Soak in cold water with salt
What’s your favorite cauliflower recipe?