Recent trends in Keto and healthy living have made Cauliflower a regular workhorse in the kitchen. That makes it a great addition to any kitchen garden. And with the cooler temperatures of Fall, it is a perfect winter garden crop. But getting those full beautiful snow white heads of cauliflower from a kitchen garden can be a little tricky.
Cauliflower can be particular. It doesn’t like to be cold or hot. Can you really blame it?
And collecting beautiful white heads of cauliflower from the garden? Not always the easiest since it tends to yellow in the sun.
But for those of us who love cauliflower, especially fresh, it is well worth the effort. Check out our quick guide below to growing cauliflower.
In zones 8 and 9 plan to plant cauliflower in September or October.
Cauliflower really prefers temps in the 60’s so you want to wait until the last of the brutal summer heat is past. Daytime temps should be on average around 75 degrees F or less. In lower Alabama that can be tough, so I just usually plan to plant around mid-September.
You can also shade plants to help with the heat if you need to plant a little early or if there is an unexpected heat wave.
Start from transplants rather than seeds so that plants reach maturity before first frost.
Most varieties take time to mature 70 days or more. So this one requires you to play a long game.
Plant 18-24 inches apart in good quality soil
If you need help creating good quality soil check out our post on Improving your Garden Soil.
This isn’t one of those forgiving plants that you can let dry out and come back and water.
Keep your soil moist. Inconsistent watering will make the cauliflower head out too soon and you will be small poorly formed. They are still edible just not beautiful. Mulch can be a good solution for conserving moisture in the garden.
Use this trick to keep your cauliflower beautiful and bright white.
Once your cauliflower head reaches a 3-4 inch diameter it won’t be long before it is ready to pick.
When your cauliflower head has reached that 3 inch measurement, you are going to blanch it. Not what you’re thinking – this isn’t anything like blanching corn.
Instead gather the leaves of the plant, wrap them up and over the top and use a rubber band or twine to secure them in place. Sounds crazy doesn’t it?
But this process, known as blanching, protects the cauliflower heads from the sun and keeps them nice and bright for picking. Once you blanch the head be sure to check it frequently, it will only take another week to week and a half before it is ready.
Yellow cauliflower still tastes fine and is good to eat. So if you forget to blanch, don’t hesitate to go ahead and enjoy the fruits of your labors.
You may want to try growing cauliflower varieties that are self-blanching. The leaves will curl up and over by themselves. Read labels to see if they are self-blanching or not.
Want to try something other than white cauliflower. Try growing cauliflower varieties that are green, purple and even orange. Check out Graffiti, Cheddar, or Veronica from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Don’t worry they are still edible.
Need some more ideas on what to plant in your fall garden? Visit our post What Can You Plant in a Fall Vegetable Garden?