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Video: How To Grow Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a cost-effective and delicious vegetable
When exposed to direct sunlight, the heads darken and lose their presentation
A well-known English proverb says: "The best of flowers are cabbage flowers." Such a statement does not cause surprise, because in this case, cabbage flowers mean very tasty and equally useful cauliflower inflorescences.
Cauliflower significantly outperforms its white-headed cousin in nutritional properties. For example, it has a higher percentage of vitamins (primarily B vitamins and vitamin C), magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, as well as protein. Plus, cauliflower contains a minimum of fiber, making it easy to digest.
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This means that everyone can use it, including infants and those who suffer from diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Moreover, the taste of this cabbage is preserved during the freezing process, which allows you to use it in your diet all year round.
In the West, all these aspects have long been taken into account, and cauliflower there is included in the list of the most actively consumed vegetables. The popularity of this vegetable is also growing in our country, at least now frozen cauliflower can be seen on the shelves of various stores. However, not all gardeners grow this valuable and tasty vegetable on their land. And completely in vain, because cauliflower is more profitable than white cabbage - it ripens more early and can be grown in dense plantings. Therefore, this cabbage is of considerable interest to amateur gardeners, who, as they say, God himself ordered to provide themselves with this useful vegetable.
Cauliflower (as opposed to white cabbage) is an annual plant. This cabbage is eaten with a dense and fleshy immature inflorescence (that is, the top of a flowering shoot), which is most often snow-white or creamy in color. Less common varieties with inflorescences, painted in other colors - yellow, greenish, orange, mauve and even purple.
Cauliflower is quite cold-resistant, but less resistant to low temperatures compared to other types of cabbage. Theoretically, its seeds can germinate at a temperature of + 5… + 8ºC, but prolonged exposure to low temperatures (below + 8ºC) further leads to the formation of small undeveloped heads. The optimum temperature for the growth and development of cauliflower is + 18… + 20ºC.
Therefore, despite the cold resistance (for example, in the rosette phase, plants can even withstand frosts down to -5 ° C), in no case should it be allowed to be exposed to low temperatures for a long time. This means that with early planting of plants, it is necessary to provide appropriate shelters. Cauliflower also does not like high temperatures - at temperatures above + 25 ° C, the formation of heads is delayed, they become small, loose and fleecy, and small green leaves may appear inside the inflorescences.
Like other types of cabbage, cauliflower is very photophilous - attempts to grow it in partial shade are completely futile. The lack of light during the period of growing seedlings is especially fraught with consequences. This plant is capable of producing high yields only on light, moisture-intensive, highly fertile soils with a deep arable horizon and a neutral reaction. However, even on poor soils, it is not recommended to add fresh manure to the soil in the spring because of the danger of root rot (it is permissible in the fall when preparing ridges), but the compost will be just right.
On acidic soils, plants get sick with keel and do not yield crops; on heavy clay soils, cauliflower can bring good yields, but only if the row spacings are regularly loosened. All cabbages are moisture-loving, and cauliflower is no exception. However, excess moisture, for example, when planting in low-lying areas, slows down the development of plants, and cabbage in such conditions often does not tie flower heads at all.
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You can't do without seedlings
Cabbage planted on Apions does not need feeding at all
Usually, cauliflower is grown through seedlings. It is extremely difficult to get high-quality seedlings at home due to too dry air, poor lighting and high temperatures. Under such conditions, the seedlings are stretched, which subsequently leads to the formation of small undeveloped heads.
Therefore, most often seeds for seedlings are sown in greenhouses or hotbeds heated with biofuel, which can usually be done already in mid-April. In industrial heated greenhouses, its seeds can be sown earlier. It is preferable to grow cauliflower seedlings in separate pots - best of all in cassettes, which allows you to get them with minimal effort. It is safer to sow 2-3 seeds in each container, further removing weaker specimens.
To speed up the production of early production, amateur gardeners can resort to soaking and germinating seeds in sawdust at home, followed by cutting the seedlings into greenhouses already heated with biofuel at the stage of cotyledons, or when the first true leaf appears. For germination, the seeds are spread on a layer of wet sawdust, moistened and containers with sawdust are placed in ajar plastic bags.
Moisten if necessary. After pecking the seeds, the sawdust is sprinkled with a layer of fertile soil - 3-4 mm. When shoots appear, the containers are taken out of the bags and moved to the insulated glazed loggias, covering them for the night (with strict temperature control), and they try to transplant the plants into the greenhouse in a short time. When dissecting, the seedlings are slightly buried in the ground and thoroughly watered with warm water.
Crops and sown seedlings in greenhouses must be covered with a layer of thin covering material. In addition, arcs are installed on greenhouse ridges inside the greenhouse and a film or thick covering material is thrown on them. Considering the fact that many varieties and hybrids of cauliflower are distinguished by a harmonious yield of the harvest, in order to lengthen the time of consumption of fresh products, they are usually sown in several periods with an interval of 2-3 weeks.
Planting seedlings in the ground
Cauliflower seedlings are usually planted around mid-May. By this time, the plants should have 4-6 true leaves and a well-developed root system. The landing technique is not difficult. First, the holes are prepared, guided by the desired scheme (depending on the size of the plants) - early varieties are usually planted according to the scheme 70x25-30 cm, mid-season ones - according to the scheme 70x30-35 cm.
The holes should be made deep so that after planting the cabbage is in small depressions, which will simplify the process of watering and feeding. It is advisable to add two large handfuls of ash, 2-3 handfuls of humus and 2 tablespoons of Kemira-type complex fertilizer to the wells, the contents of the well are thoroughly mixed. Instead of all the fertilizers mentioned above, you can put a bag of Apion fertilizer in each well.
Seedlings are watered abundantly, and then planted in holes with a slight deepening. When planting seedlings with an open root system, the root system should be carefully spread, but if you have it grown in cassettes, then the seedlings are placed in the hole directly in the cassette. After planting, one liter of water is poured into each of the holes, and the soil around the plants is loosened and mulched.
Then, the ridges with the planted cabbage are immediately closed with a thin covering material, which will protect against frost, excessive sun at the time of plant survival, cabbage pests, and will also reduce the number of watering. You need to keep the covering material on the cabbage as long as possible, opening the plants only for watering and feeding. Hobby gardeners can plant cauliflower along with white cabbage, alternating plants by maturity and bush size so that they can use the area with maximum efficiency.
The technology of growing cauliflower differs little from the technology of white cabbage - watering, weeding, loosening and feeding. Watering immediately after planting seedlings is carried out daily (or every other day, depending on the situation), in the future - about twice a week. Care must be taken to ensure that the soil under the plants does not dry out in any case, otherwise it will immediately affect the future harvest. Cabbage is watered at the root, it is completely unacceptable that water gets into the knotted heads during watering, which can rot.
Cauliflower is more demanding for feeding than other types of cabbage - it has to be fed at least three times. In this situation, the first feeding is carried out with a mullein solution two weeks after planting the seedlings, the second - with a complex mineral fertilizer (two weeks after the first), the third - with potassium sulfate (at the beginning of tying the heads). Additionally, if the applied complex fertilizer does not contain molybdenum and boron, at the initial moment of head formation, spraying is carried out with a solution of ammonium molybdate and boric acid.
If the cabbage was planted on Apions, it is not required to feed it. Each time after watering and feeding, the soil between the plants is loosened, and the plants themselves are piled up. To minimize the amount of loosening, the soil is mulched with leaf litter, stale sawdust, chopped reeds and similar materials. It is impossible to use hay and cut grass for mulching due to the active attraction of slugs, which cause a lot of trouble when growing cabbage.
To preserve the presentation of the inflorescences, they are protected from direct sunlight (so that the heads do not darken), shading them with leaves. For this shading, you can take leaves from freshly harvested cabbage specimens, or use the leaves adjacent to the inflorescence, tying them. It is worth noting that there are hybrids that do not need such a procedure at all, for example, F1 White perfection - NK, since their heads are well covered with inner leaves. The pests and diseases in cauliflower are the same as in white cabbage, so we will not dwell on this issue.
It is allowed to plant cauliflower together with white cabbage
Cauliflower is harvested selectively, without delay, as the heads quickly lose quality - they break up into inflorescences and coarse. In the heat, cutting can be carried out only in the morning, on cloudy cool days - at any time of the day, the main thing is that the cut heads are dry. If necessary, the inflorescences are dried for one to two hours in the shade in the wind. It should be borne in mind that the heads of cauliflower plants that have tied up are not resistant to frost, and in the fall, you need to cover the unharvested plants with covering material in advance.
Fresh cauliflower is poorly stored - usually no more than 7-10 days in refrigerated chambers at a temperature of 0 ° C. Further storage leads to a rapid deterioration in its taste. Therefore, it is most reasonable to send the harvested crop immediately for sale or processing by freezing. In the autumn, cauliflower can be grown in storehouses, cellars or greenhouses (in the dark) at temperatures around + 4 … + 6 ° C.
The duration of the growing process depends on the quality of the plants and the temperature. For example, at a temperature of + 10 ° C it will take 25-30 days for the formation of commercial heads, at a temperature of + 4 … + 5 ° C - already two months. Therefore, during a cold snap, greenhouses are insulated with sawdust, leaves or other improvised materials with a layer of 20-25 cm. For growing, you can take plants that have not been frozen under frost with well-developed leaves and heads with a diameter of at least 5 cm. Selected specimens are dug with a large lump of earth, transferred to greenhouses and placed in previously watered furrows (15 cm deep) close to each other. In this way, approximately 30-40 plants are placed per 1 m2.
Read the next part. Simple Cauliflower Recipes →