The secret of success with summer cauliflowers is rapid and
continuous growth. From transplanting time onwards they need copious
watering, if checked at any time, they are liable to form very small
heads. Even though the soil may have been very rich as a result of its
preparation, it can do with even more feeding.
Mulch the soil
around the plants with rotted manure or garden compost three weeks after
planting, drenching it with water afterwards. When the curds have
started to form, give the plants a top dressing of nitrate of
soda. Winter cauliflowers have the hazard of too much water to
contend with in the winter, as well as too little in the summer. Earth
up the soil in early to mid-autumn to form a continuous low ridge.
This ensure that the excess water drains away from the stem. It
also helps to strengthen the plants against the winter winds. It
is not necessary to feed winter cauliflower during the early part of
their life, in summer or autumn.
and Aftercare of Cauliflower
A cauliflower is ready for cutting when the upper surface of
the curd is fully exposed and the inner leaves no longer cover it.
Unfortunately, cauliflowers tend to mature all at once. If the
weather is warm and you leave the cauliflowers in the ground once they
have matured, the heads expand and they become discoloured and less
appealing. To avoid this lift some early, they will be quite edible.
Alternatively, gather up the leaves and tie them together over the curd
so that they cover it, using garden twine, an elastic band or
raffia. It will also protect the winter ones from the frost.
To keep them for two or three weeks once hey are mature, lift the whole
plant, including roots and hang them upside down in a cool shed and
syringe them daily. Cauliflowers freeze well and you can deal with an
over abundant crop by freezing the surplus for later use. When
harvesting, cut in the early morning when the plant is freshest, ideally
with dew on it. During frosty weather however, it is better to wait till
the warmest part of the day. Cut through the stalk with a sharp
knife, leaving enough leaves around the curd to protect it.
some brassicas, the cauliflower will not produce worthwhile shoots after
its head has been cut, so clear the remains of the crop as quickly as