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Cauliflower

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Cauliflower

Post  florenceq on 4/26/2011, 2:52 pm

I am wondering if it is time to give up on my cauliflower? I planted it around January 1 and it is big and beautiful but still has not produced. I just harvested my broccoli (planted at the same time) yesterday. It is starting to get warm here in So. California so I think I may have missed my opportunity. What do you guys think?
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/26/2011, 3:50 pm

Are there any tiny heads at all? Do you really need the space yet? If not, give it a bit longer. I know the normal days to harvest is 60 - 75 days, but winter sowing takes a lot longer. If you just harvested your broccoli (days to harvest is similar to cauliflower) another couple of weeks won't hurt if you have the squares to spare. The worst that can happen is your cauliflower will not head. Your season is long enough you should still have plenty of time to put in summer crops in a couple of weeks.
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  florenceq on 4/26/2011, 6:48 pm

No sign of any little heads and we are starting to get up into the 80's here so I thought it might be a done deal. Do you think it may still produce?
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/26/2011, 7:25 pm

If you can spare the squares, I would give it a bit longer. Once the heads do start, they mature quickly.

Any other gardeners in warmer regions want to comment?
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/26/2011, 9:49 pm

I am growing two squares this spring. My plants are finally starting to get big. However, I am not worried about heading for awhile.....but I'm not in SoCal, either.

I imagined it to be a long-term producer from the start, though. What would bolting look like in cauliflower? Wouldn't it have to head to bolt? Isn't the head like broccoli....the flower?
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  AZDYJ2K on 4/27/2011, 1:45 am

I started cauliflower and broccoli from seed back on Oct. 19, 2010 and we harvested the cauliflower in early March. I would say that it took at least 90 days before I first saw the head. The broccoli came in a bit faster but not by much. Like the other replies I would give it another 30 days if you can spare the space. Good luck.
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  florenceq on 4/27/2011, 1:30 pm

I had a little extra time this morning before work so of course I was out in the garden poking around and I am excited to announce I have a tiny little cauliflower head hiding down inside the gigantic leaves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I guess I just need to be a little more patient like everyone was saying. Thanks for all your posts.
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  elliephant on 4/27/2011, 1:56 pm

@AZDYJ2K wrote:I started cauliflower and broccoli from seed back on Oct. 19, 2010 and we harvested the cauliflower in early March. I would say that it took at least 90 days before I first saw the head. The broccoli came in a bit faster but not by much. Like the other replies I would give it another 30 days if you can spare the space. Good luck.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one. I thought I was crazy and was mis-remembering my plant dates. I only got one cauliflower head (and it wasn't pretty) because we heated up so quickly this spring.

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Re: Cauliflower

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/27/2011, 2:28 pm

@florenceq wrote:I had a little extra time this morning before work so of course I was out in the garden poking around and I am excited to announce I have a tiny little cauliflower head hiding down inside the gigantic leaves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I guess I just need to be a little more patient like everyone was saying. Thanks for all your posts.

cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers
Now that you have heads, are you going to blanch the heads by wrapping leaves over them?

Our Master Gardener says it does not matter what color cauliflower you are growing, blanching helps them look nicer.

I don't know, the cabbage worms ate all my cauliflower last year.
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  AZDYJ2K on 4/27/2011, 3:38 pm

@elliephant wrote:
@AZDYJ2K wrote:I started cauliflower and broccoli from seed back on Oct. 19, 2010 and we harvested the cauliflower in early March. I would say that it took at least 90 days before I first saw the head. The broccoli came in a bit faster but not by much. Like the other replies I would give it another 30 days if you can spare the space. Good luck.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one. I thought I was crazy and was mis-remembering my plant dates. I only got one cauliflower head (and it wasn't pretty) because we heated up so quickly this spring.

Did you plant around the same time I did and did it take as long as mine to mature? It took about 4-5 months for the cauliflower to mature! Shocked

We moved during the time it was maturing and I transplanted it and it worked out fine. I kind of left it for a week or 2 and it started to bolt. It was strange, some of the florets started to rise above the others. At that point I should have left it to get some seeds. My head was also not very pretty and big.


Last edited by AZDYJ2K on 4/27/2011, 3:38 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added text.)
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  elliephant on 4/27/2011, 3:44 pm

@AZDYJ2K wrote:

Did you plant around the same time I did and did it take as long as mine to mature? It took about 4-5 months for the cauliflower to mature! Shocked

We moved during the time it was maturing and I transplanted it and it worked out fine. I kind of left it for a week or 2 and it started to bolt. It was strange, some of the florets started to rise above the others. At that point I should have left it to get some seeds. My head was also not very pretty and big.

Yes, I did. Both broccoli and cauliflower. I eventually got broccoli from most of the plants, but only one cauliflower formed an ugly head before I decided to give up since we quickly moved into consistant 90s this spring. I had HUGE plants by the end.

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Re: Cauliflower

Post  quiltbea on 4/27/2011, 10:25 pm

An easy way to blanch cauliflower is to take a spring clothesepin, pull the leaves over the forming head, and pin the leaves together over it.

Its simple to open to see how big the head is getting.
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/27/2011, 10:30 pm

I didn't know this helped. Can one of you go into more detail please?
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  WolfHeart on 4/27/2011, 10:35 pm

thanks for the info Quiltbea.

this is my first year gardening and I have a couple of cauliflower in the ground now....It is good to know that it takes so long to produce...

I guess my question is Why do you 'blanch' that head? never heard of this before.
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  quiltbea on 4/27/2011, 10:39 pm

You blanch the head if you want a really white head. If you don't the head isn't as white. That's the only difference I could find. I've grown them both ways and they taste the same.

Another thought when clothespinning the leaves, after a rain remove the clip and allow the head to dry before pulling the leaves around it again.
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  sanderson on 1/22/2017, 7:59 am

Do cauliflowers continue to produce small side heads once the central head has been removed? The broccoli are producing florets out the sides now. If not, I will pull them out and use the leaves for more "cabbage rolls."

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Re: Cauliflower

Post  yolos on 1/22/2017, 12:04 pm

@sanderson wrote:Do cauliflowers continue to produce small side heads once the central head has been removed?  The broccoli are producing florets out the sides now.  If not, I will pull them out and use the leaves for more "cabbage rolls."
I have never seen or heard of cauliflowers continuing to produce small side heads.  A long time ago plantoid posted a method of getting a second head but I couldn't find it.  Something like cutting the cauliflower head.  then making a cut in the shape of a cross at the top of the remaining stalk.  ?????????????????
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  sanderson on 1/22/2017, 5:33 pm

Thanks, Yolos. I did as Plantoid described, on one broccoli and one cauliflower, but no sign of any side sprouts on the cauliflower.

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Re: Cauliflower

Post  Roseinarosecity on 1/22/2017, 7:19 pm


I have never tried to grow more cauliflower after harvesting the first head, but it is possible according to this video.

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Re: Cauliflower

Post  sanderson on 1/22/2017, 7:37 pm

In the video, the man states to cut off all the big leaves. Maybe that is the secret. Worth a try at this time of the year. Very Happy

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Re: Cauliflower

Post  countrynaturals on 2/26/2017, 4:56 pm

My cauliflower is still about fist-sized. How do I know when it's time to pick? I'd like it to get bigger, but if it isn't going to, I don't want to wait until it gets tough or rubbery. Shocked
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  sanderson on 2/27/2017, 4:00 am

CN, I think your northern CA weather is still cooler, especially at night, than my central CA weather. Hold off for a few days and see if it gets bigger. Didn't you plant it later than mine? This is our first time growing it and we are learning. :-) Mine have all been removed from the beds.

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Re: Cauliflower

Post  plantoid on 2/27/2017, 6:25 am

Cutting the leaves off  like in the video clip is not some thing I did .
 Though I did trim them a bit to leave stumps of 3 inches long , I then cut a cross in the top of the stem , going down the stem about an inch & 1.2 down .   In the video you can see the nodes where new stuff grows from . It's important to have several of these still on the plant .

 The thing about growing cauli  is that you need a coolish weather & a CONSISTENT level of nutrient moisture water & a growth medium such as MM  up to 9 inches deep if you can afford to get it .  It's not unusual to be able to get a root ball a foot across and 10 inches deep on a sound cauli .

 When talking of the  consistent level of moisture the more even & closer you get to the ideal growing requirement  the better cauli you'll get .  ( that rule applies to most but not all plants as well )    Really deep 2 foot or more quality compost & manured beds help tremendously in this respect ,  for the plant will send down long tap roots to get what it needs  .

 Cauli also grow much better if there is a certain level of magnesium ( Epsom salts ) & Boron  ( borax ) present . if there is not enough you get straggly loose flowers .    Manure made from composted steer / cow dung & their associated urine soaked  old bedding are a good source for these crucial elements .



 A good cauli of 3 to 15 inches across should not have any loose breakouts in the head . to me  the cauli in the video clip is right on the edge of breaking out .
I suspect each break out is due to a drop of excess nutrient water for a few days & sunshine' heat  above it's needs .   When talking of nutrient water , it is the moisture coming off the MM that I'm referring to not a liquid crop feed out of a watering can  .

 When  thinking cauli ... see if you can work out which is the best for you  two 3 inch cauli  every three days during harvest season that have grown from seeds sown every three days apart or one massive cauli that takes six weeks to grow & six days to eat  .

 We prefer the smalled cauli so it's fresh every time we want/ have  them ,plus we also eat the  lightly boiled leaves as additional greenery ( Buttered & peppered of course ) . Being small it also gives you leeway to not have them every three or so days should the weather dictate leaf salads & tomatoes with your BBQ's

My temperate clmate gardening books reckon that with careful choice of your seed types you should easily be able to crow a couple of cauliflowers for each week of the year  all year round .
 This includes to use of deep bed quality growth medium with a lower level of almost 6 inches of fresh dung & straw to provide heat as it decays cold frames for cold weather , putting a small lit candle inside the cold  frame in severe cold & frosts when the temps drop to 2 oC or lower  .


 My parents used to make up such hot beds to a depth of almost 2 feet high , add 6 inches of sieved soil & place the heavy wood & glass cold frames on top ..they didn't bother with a candle as the decomposing manure gave off plenty of heat  over winter .
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  countrynaturals on 2/27/2017, 11:19 am

@sanderson wrote:CN, I think your northern CA weather is still cooler, especially at night, than my central CA weather.  Hold off for a few days and see if it gets bigger.  Didn't you plant it later than mine?  This is our first time growing it and we are learning.  :-)  Mine have all been removed from the beds.
I planted mine late last summer from a nursery plant. There are 4 more that haven't started to produce yet. Did you start yours from seed? It got down to freezing again last night and going to be in the 30s all week, so there still isn't much going on out there. Also, not a lot of sun. I wish we could borrow some from this summer. Rolling Eyes
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Re: Cauliflower

Post  sanderson on 2/27/2017, 8:55 pm

I started mine from seeds on Aug 6-8, transplanted to beds on Sept 9 or 22-23. How is the nutritional value of the mix? I'm concerned. I don't think you used 6" of Mel's Mix on the top 6". ??

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