Description for Cauliflower
Packed with rich nutrients, cauliflower or cabbage flower is one of the commonly used flower-vegetable. The flower heads contain numerous health benefiting phtyo-nutrients such as indole-3-carbinol, sulforaphane etc., that help prevent prostate, ovarian and cervical cancers.
Botanically, it is a member of the cruciferous or brassicaceae family. It has got a similar nutritional and phyto-chemistry profile with broccoli and cabbage. Several cultivars exist other than common snow-white variety, including green, orange, purple, and romanesco heads.
You can eat cauliflower raw, steamed, stir-fried or cooked in casseroles.
Lifecycle: annual, Biennial grown as an annual.
|Common name||Flower colours||Bloom time||Height||Difficulty|
|Purple Cauliflower, Cauliflower Purple Sicily , Cauliflower Sicilian Violet , Cauliflower Violet Queen , Graffiti Cauliflower, Cavolfiore di Sicilia Violetto.Brassica oleracea(Botanical Name).||Violet||Winter||Height: 1 to 2 feet
Spread: 1.3 to 3 feet
|Moderate to difficult|
Planting and care
- Most cauliflower varieties require about 2 months to mature, although some are a little quicker and others can take up to 3 months.
- Since they will not form heads in warm weather and can only handle a light frost, be sure to choose a variety that will have enough time to mature in your climate.
- That means a fast maturing variety, if your spring or fall is short.
- Longer maturing varieties are good choices for gardeners with mild or late winters.
Sunlight Soil Water Temperature Fertilizer Full sun, Can tolerate light shade but will slow maturity. Light shade can be beneficial in warm weather. Requires well-drained soil, Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter, pH 6.0 to 7.5. Can tolerate slightly alkaline soil. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture. Cauliflower needs consistent moisture and plenty of water. Without sufficient water, the heads turn bitter. 18 to 30Â°C Since cauliflower takes so long to mature, some supplemental feeding will be necessary. Feed every 2 – 4 weeks with an organic fertilizer like kelp and fish emulsion.
Caring for Cauliflower
- Make sure that the plants have uninterrupted growth. Any interruption can cause the plants to develop a head prematurely or ruin the edible part completely.
- Cauliflower requires consistent soil moisture. They need 1 to 1.5 inches of water each week; with normal rainfall, this usually requires supplement watering.
- For best growth, side-dress the plants with a nitrogen fertilizer. Note that the cauliflower will start out as a loose head and it takes time for the head to form.
- Many varieties take at least 75 to 85 days from transplant. Be patient.
- When the curd (the white head) is about 2 to 3 inches in diameter, tie the outer leaves together over the head with a rubber band, tape, or twine. This is called blanching, and it protects the head from the sun and helps you get that pretty white colour.
- The plants are usually ready for harvest 7 to 12 days after blanching.
- When the heads are compact, white, and firm, then it is time to harvest them. Ideally, the heads will grow 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Cut the heads off the plant with a large knife. Be sure to leave some of the leaves around the head to keep it protected.
- If the heads are too small but have started to open up, they will not improve and should be harvested.
- If the cauliflower has a coarse appearance, it is too mature and should be tossed.
- If you want to store cauliflower, you can put the head in a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. It should last for about a week.For long-term storage, you can also freeze or pickle the heads.