A cool-weather crop grown for early summer and fall harvest, cauliflower will flower rapidly if the weather turns hot. Winter harvests are possible in mild Western or Gulf Coast climates. Plants are fairly frost hardy. Allow 60 to 80 days from transplanting to harvest-90 to 100 days for winter crops. See broccoli for culture, care, and pest control.
Start cauliflower from small plants set out 18 to 20 inches apart in rows 20 inches apart. Keep plants actively growing; any growth check might cause premature setting of undersized heads.
Unlike broccoli, with its erect plants, cauliflower forms its edible buds only a few inches above the ground. Blanching of heads whitens them by excluding light and can be done simply by gathering the long wrapper leaves and securing them at the top with a wide rubber band. This prevents the formation of green or purplish pigment. Unwrap the heads occasionally to check for pests. If the weather does turn hot, an overhead sprinkling will create the humidity that cauliflower needs. But don’t substitute this for deep soaking.
Harvest heads before the bud segments or “curds” begin to separate in preparation for shooting up flower heads.
Recommended varieties. ‘Snowball’ and ‘Snow King hybrid.’ ‘Purple Head’ has large plants with heads of a deep purple color that turn green in cooking and a flavor somewhat like broccoli. It needs no blanching. In containers. Large size of each plant makes cauliflower impractical in containers.