Like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kohlrabi, collards, and kale, cauliflower (Brassica oleracea) belongs to the Brassica family or the cabbage family. Gardeners are often curious about how to grow cauliflower from seed and how to plant cauliflower seeds to start growing cauliflower from seed in their home garden.
Cauliflower needs continuous moisture, mulch, timely planting, and protection from fungal and insect larvae infestations to thrive. If you’re ready to learn how to grow cauliflower from seed, follow this simple guide to growing cauliflower from seed and how to plant cauliflower seeds for the best yield of veggies. “My best advice is to never let the soil dry out completely; consistent moisture is key to cauliflower success,” advises Isabella Douglas, a knowledgeable practitioner in plants, gardening, and growing food.
Cauliflower is one of several cabbage-related cole crops thriving in cool-season temperatures. It has a particular nuttiness and a flavor similar to broccoli. The flower bud is the edible component of both cauliflower and broccoli, making them technically edible flowers.
Clever Tips for How to Plant Cauliflower Seeds
Thanks to its excellent taste and good growing season, many gardeners are interested in planting cauliflower from seed. They are eager to learn when to plant cauliflower seed for a high yield.
Cauliflower plants are grown for their enormous delicious curds or florets encircled by nutritious outer leaves. The dense white heads of curds are frequently diced and roasted, steamed, or used for soup. Cauliflower contains a lot of potassium and flavor, so it’s an excellent addition for a seasoned gardener.
Cauliflower is challenging to cultivate due to its sensitivity to temperature fluctuations. It is, however, a very gratifying food to grow. Blanching white varieties is required and involves simply covering the cauliflower heads with the outer leaves and holding them in place with a rubber band.
Cauliflower plants prefer cool weather. Plant cauliflower in the early spring after the last frost for a summer harvest, whether you are looking for the best time to plant cauliflower in zone 7 or zone 8. For a fall harvest and fall crop, plant in the late summer. They grow at a somewhat modest rate and, depending on the variety, are harvestable about two to three months after planting.
How to Grow Cauliflower from Seed
Start seeds indoors, whether you are germinating broccoli seeds or cauliflower seeds, between four and six weeks before the last frost date. Cauliflower does not like its roots to be disturbed; use peat or cardboard pots safe for transplanting.
As part of your cauliflower plant care routine, note that keeping the soil moist and planting cauliflower seeds about 1/2 inch deep gives the best results. Keeping seeds at 65-70℉ encourages faster germination.
While cauliflower is not broccoli, it’s still important to harden off your cauliflower seedlings before transplanting them in the garden, whether using your seeds or ones you bought at the store. Floating row covers protect your seedlings during the hardening process. Space cauliflower plants 18-24 inches apart to allow plenty of room for their large outer leaves.
Caring for Cauliflower
Cauliflower plants thrive in full sun, but some partial shade keeps them from bolting in hot weather. Cauliflower requires a soil rich with organic matter and a pH of 6.0 to 7.0.
Cauliflower needs continuous hydration to keep the soil moist and avoid buttoning or growing many small heads rather than a single large head, so the ground should be well-draining. The cauliflower heads also become bitter if there isn’t enough water—plan for a minimum one inch of water every week.
How to Plant Cauliflower Seeds – Fertilizer
Because cauliflower takes a while to mature, supplement your plants by feeding them. Apply an organic cauliflower plant fertilizer every two to four weeks. Fish emulsion or simple DIY manure tea is ideal.
Combine and pour the manure water mixture onto the base of your plants, taking care not to wet the heads or outer leaves.
Pests to Avoid When Growing Cauliflower from Seed
Unfortunately, cauliflower is subject to common cole crop pests, including cabbage loopers and cabbage worms. Flea beetles and aphids are attracted to young transplants, primarily grown in early spring. Cole crops are particularly appealing to groundhogs. The best deterrent for rodents is fencing or caging.
You can also practice companion planting to increase yield and deter bugs. Great companion plants for cauliflower include bush and pole beans, celery, and onions. Grow spinach from seed next to cauliflower, as well, to enjoy a variety of veggies in your garden.
Like many plants, cole crops are susceptible to disease, with clubroot and black rot most common. Another disease of cauliflower plant is Botrytis. It’s critical not to grow cole crops in the same spot year after year and clear up any plant residue at the end of the growing season to keep disease-causing germs from overwintering in the soil.
Whether you choose to grow snowball, heirloom, or another variety of cabbage seeds, start them indoors, transplant the seedlings, and blanch the heads if they have white curd.
Cauliflower is a tasty and rewarding crop and a worthy addition to your home garden. By learning how to grow cauliflower from seed, it’s easy to add growing cauliflower from seed to your spring or late summer garden projects.
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