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Plant Care Guide >> Container Vegetable Gardening >> Brassica oleracea var. botrytis (Cauliflower)
Cauliflower is a cool season vegetable that is considered a delicacy by many persons. It is the most luxurious of the brassicas, and the one requiring the most care. It is a very popular vegetable, though because of its delicate taste and pleasing appearance, and is well worth the extra effort involved.
 
Common name: Cauliflower
Vernacular Languages: Hindi: Phool Gobhi; Santhali: Baha Kubi
Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea var. botrytis
Family: Brassicaceae
Soil Preparation:

Cauliflower is a crop that should have an uninterrupted growth. Any delay in growth will encourage the plants to prematurely form a small head that is of no value. In order to avoid this, the soil should be high in organic matter so that it will hold a lot of moisture. All cauliflowers need a neutral or slightly alkaline soil to do well. The soil should have a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 and must be well-drained, evenly moist and amended with plenty of organic matter.

Sowing:

Sow the seed 1/4 inch deep in a well drained fresh potting soil. After germination, set the seedlings in a location that receives direct sun. Germination will take 5-10 days.

Planting:

Plants will be ready to be transplanted 8 weeks after seeding. The plants should be watered when transplanted to prevent wilting. Severe shock to plants during transplanting often causes poor head development. Apply fertilizer during the time of planting .

Climate:

Cauliflower thrives in cool weather and can withstand light frosts.

Light:

The plant needs to be grown in direct sunlight. However, sunlight striking the bud will cause discoloring and develop an undesirable flavor.

Watering:

An even moisture supply is needed for transplants to become established and to produce good heads. Do not over-water in the first 2-3 weeks after transplanting. Do not let the seedbed dry out. Such fluctuations in moisture especially when cauliflower reaches the 6 to 7-leaf stage may cause cauliflower to button or form heads prematurely.

Humidity:

Cauliflower needs ample moisture.

Staking:

The plant does not require staking.

Fertilizing:

Even though the soil is fertile it must receive a good application of a commercial fertilizer.

Pest and Problems:

Aphids, Cabbage Loopers, Imported Cabbageworm, Cutworms, Flea Beetles, and Diamond Back Moth could attack the plant. A small fly deposits eggs at the base of the cauliflower plant and in cracks in the soil nearby. The eggs hatch in about one week and the maggots feed on the stem and roots.

Growth Habit:

Cauliflower likes room to grow and therefore only one seedling should be planted per pot.

Harvesting:

The heads will be ready for harvest one to two weeks after covering, depending on the weather. Check the head every few days so that it does not become overmature. Harvest cauliflower heads when they are six or more inches in diameter but before the flower parts separate.

Special Care:

When the head is golf to tennis ball size (2 to 3 inches in diameter), it needs to be protected from sunlight. This keeps the head white, protecting it from sunscald and turning yellow and off-flavored. Tie the outside leaves loosely over the head with a strip of old nylon stocking or soft cloth.

Medicinal Uses:

Click here to buy seeds for this plant.
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