Thursday, February 21, 2008
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Wednesday, January 30, 2008
How To Grow Cauliflower
Cauliflower is part of the cabbage family along with broccoli, turnips, and brussels sprouts. It is important that cauliflower be planted early. It should be planted about three to four weeks before the last spring frost. If cauliflower is left to mature in the heat, it can acquire a very bitter taste.
1. Cauliflower seeds should be started indoors about eight weeks before the last expected frost of spring.
2. Seedlings need to be transplanted into the garden about three weeks before the last expected frost. Seedlings should be about six inches tall at this time.
3. Plant your cauliflower about eighteen inches apart in prepared garden soil. Cover the roots with dirt until you are just shy of touching the bottom leaves. Next, build out a little ring of soil around each plant. This will help hold moisture.
4. When the heads are between three to five inches across, you should prepare to blanch them. Blanching blocks the cauliflower heads from receiving direct sunlight. This keeps them sweet tasting and creamy white. To blanch, you should tie the leaves up around the cauliflower head. Just be certain that you do not tie the leaves too tight around the cauliflower heads. You want to allow the heads adequate room so they can continue growing as well as air circulation around the head. Blanching takes between five and eight days.
5. Depending upon the variety of cauliflower you have, you will harvest when the heads are between six and twelve inches across. You should harvest your cauliflower before the tight flower buds open. If you wait until the flower buds open and the flowers becomes loose, your cauliflower will start to loose its sweet taste. To harvest, cut the cauliflower just below the head.