The best tips for growing cauliflower when home vegetable gardening.
Learn how and when to plant cauliflower, soil preparation techniques, and how to avoid diseases and pests.
Like broccoli, cauliflower is a member of the cabbage family or technically known as brassicas.
Cauliflower is the slowest crop to mature among the other members of its vegetable family.
All brassicas thrive under the same conditions as well as suffer from the same diseases and pests.
Although, the crops are treated individually in the garden, their care is identical.
Other members of the brassica family include broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
You can also purchase small cauliflower transplants from your local garden center in time for spring/early summer planting.
You can set lettuce seedlings in between your cauliflower crop.
The lettuce will be ready for harvesting before the growing cauliflower needs the room to grow.
Begin your pest patrol as soon as the cauliflower is set in the vegetable garden.
It is important to develop an early routine of control measures to protect the plants from a wide variety of pests that can demolish your crops.
Put a cutworm collar around each plant and give the plants a dose of Bacillus thuringiensis.
Continue dosing the growing cauliflower at 7 to 10 day intervals until harvest time to manage the cabbageworm caterpillar.
For protection against the root maggot, the most dangerous insect of all, add diazinon to a mixture of foliar fertilizer and water and repeat this application at 10 day intervals throughout the growing season.
If you want to use a nonchemical alternative to the diazinon applications, many avid gardeners recommend using a root maggot mat.
The mats not only restrict the maggots but the cutworms as well.
A generally fatal disease that can strike your growing cauliflower is the dreaded clubroot.
This disorder is usually traced to plants that have been grown in unsterile conditions.
The problem is typically attributed to infected seedlings, which is one of the hazards of buying plants rather than starting your crops from seed.
If you notice the plants wilting even though the soil is damp, this is a danger sign of clubroot.
If you suspect clubroot, remove the cutworm collar and brush away the soil from the plant.
Affected plants will bear a tumor-like growth on the stem, just at the soil line.
The disease chokes off the water-carrying cells within the stems causing the plants to die.
In an effort to save your cauliflower, add two clubroot enemies to the soil: ground limestone and a fungicide such as Terraclor.
Hill up the soil several inches around the plants to encourage new roots to form higher up the stems.