Cauliflower is a cool-season vegetable that belongs to the cruciferous family of broccoli, cabbage, and kale. Known for their health benefits, the nutrient-dense cauliflower is no exception. However, be advised, cauliflower is more challenging to grow because it will not tolerate the heat or cold as easily as its relatives. If you’ve tried your hand at the other cole crops and had success, then consider growing cauliflower.
Favorable soil conditions, consistent watering, and constant cool temperatures are essential for cauliflowers to thrive. It requires steady temperatures in the 60s. Otherwise, it may form premature, button-size heads rather than one single, large head.
Spring planting is more difficult to gauge due to temperature inconsistencies. Therefore, fall planting is highly recommended especially for the novice gardener.
Besides uniformly cool temperatures, cauliflower does best in a fertile, evenly moist potting soil amended with organic compost.
Cauliflower has a crisp, grainy texture and a pleasantly unique flavor when consumed raw as crudité. But you can also cook, bake or prepare cauliflower dishes in a variety of ways.
Taste is not the only area where this vegetable excels. Cauliflower is high in antioxidants, aids as an anti-inflammatory, and promotes brain health.
- Steps to Grow Cauliflower in a Pot
- Step 1. Rake the surface of the seedbed
- Step 2. Layer organic compost over the raked patch
- Step 3. Sow the seeds
- Step 4. Monitor the germination process and seedling growth
- Step 5. Prepare the soil for replanting
- Step 6. Line the base of the pot with a coffee filter
- Step 7. Fill the pot with the prepared soil
- Step 8. Gently lift a seedling from the bed
- Step 9. Plant the seedling in the pot
- Step 10. Water the soil thoroughly
- Step 11. Monitor the plant’s growth
- Step 12. Timely harvest the heads
Helps fight cancer: Cauliflower can shut down tumor growth and greatly impede the early stages of cancer. Cauliflower has been shown to slow the growth of mutated cancer cells.
Decreases the risk of heart disease: Cauliflower’s anti-inflammatory abilities eliminate plaque buildup in blood vessels and arteries decreasing high cholesterol and blood pressure, lessening the chances for heart disease.
Detoxes the body and improves digestion: It enhances liver function, aids in nutrient absorption, and increases waste and toxin removal from the body.
Helps balance hormones: It also helps to inhibit and prevent autoimmune disease, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue, and ovarian cancer by reducing unhealthy levels of the hormone, estrogen.
Safeguards eye health: It contains compounds that decreases oxidative stress which causes cataracts, macular degeneration, and even blindness.
Types of Cauliflower
Candid Charm Cauliflower: (95 days) F-1 hybrid. A super productive hybrid that will sometimes develop 6–9 lb heads! It is adapted to fall growing only, when it’s less fussy.
Snow Crown Cauliflower: (70 days) F-1 hybrid. One of the easier cauliflowers to grow. A dependable producer of uniform 6–7" heads through October. This drought-resistant vegetable sometimes turns pink in adverse conditions.
Snowbowl Cauliflower: (83 days) F-1 hybrid. This hybrid was reported as delicate, tender, buttery, fine-textured and creamy when cooked by taste testers in a taste test trial. Its color is extra white, and maturity is very uniform, all within a one-week window. Inspect your crop frequently and be prepared to harvest at the 5–6" stage when these dense dome-shaped 1½ lb heads appear very tight. The compact plant habit permits close spacing for easy container growing.
Steps to Grow Cauliflower in a Pot
Things you’ll need:
- Fertile soil
- Vermicompost or any other organic compost
- Garden rake
- Hand Trowel
- Spray pump
- Garden label
- A pot
- Coffee filter
Step 1. Rake the surface of the seedbed
Choose a sunny spot for the seedbed. Since cauliflower prefers firm soil, rake just the surface of the bed.
Step 2. Layer organic compost over the raked patch
Spread a 2" layer of organic compost or vermicompost over the surface of the raked patch of the seedbed.
Step 3. Sow the seeds
Purchase high quality GMO-free or organic seeds to ensure a healthy crop. Scatter the seeds over the patch and cover them with a thin layer of compost. Pat lightly.
Mark the area with a garden label including the date of sowing and set it aside to let the seeds germinate.
Spray mist the soil daily and do not let the soil dry out.
Step 4. Monitor the germination process and seedling growth
To germinate, cauliflower seed requires soil temperatures between 50°F and 80°F, but warmer temperatures will cause quicker sprouting. The seedlings emerge in 4 to 7 days. Outdoor temperature should be around 60°F to ensure optimal growth.
Cauliflower requires at least 6 hours of direct sun daily.
Step 5. Prepare the soil for replanting
Cauliflower requires a soil that’s well-drained but with a high organic matter content. Any quality organic potting soil will suffice. You can also amend your potting soil with vermicompost or other organic compost.
Cauliflower prefers a soil pH of 6.5 to 7.
Step 6. Line the base of the pot with a coffee filter
Select a big enough container to accommodate a large cauliflower head, with drainage holes in the base.
Line the holes in the planter with a coffee filter to ensure proper drainage.
Step 7. Fill the pot with the prepared soil
Fill about 1/3 of the container with the potting soil and lightly pat the soil down with your gloved hands. Repeat two more times, patting the soil after each layer. Unlike most vegetables, cauliflower grows better in slightly compacted soil.
Step 8. Gently lift a seedling from the bed
Once the seedlings reach approximately 2-3 inches, thin them out (remove extra seedlings) spacing the small plants about 18-24 inches apart so that the cauliflower heads will not be overcrowded.
As we are going to plant the seedling into a pot, select the seedling you wish to transfer and carefully take it out without disturbing the roots.
Step 9. Plant the seedling in the pot
Plant the seedling carefully into the pot with prepared soil.
Step 10. Water the soil thoroughly
Water the soil thoroughly using a gentle spray. Place the pot in a sunny spot where it can easily enjoy 6 or more hours of uninterrupted sunlight daily. Label the pot accordingly to distinguish it from the other plants in your garden.
Step 11. Monitor the plant’s growth
The key to growing large heads of cauliflower is uniformly cool temperatures, preferably in the 60s. Cauliflower will not tolerate severe fluctuations in temperature, hot or cold.
Cabbage worms, cutworms, slugs and snails can cause serious damage to the foliage. Holes in the leaves mark the presence of these pests. Handpick them and destroy them. If necessary, apply an organic pesticide spray to deter these harmful insects.
Pay special attention to your cauliflower when heads begin to appear. Any stress or damage to the plant during the development of the heads can lead to poor quality crops.
Step 12. Timely harvest the heads
Usually the heads grow to be 6 to 12 inches in diameter, depending on the variety. The heads should be firm and compact when ready to harvest.
To harvest, carefully cut off the heads along with a bunch of leaves using a sharp knife. The leaves help protect the head during storage if you decide not to eat your cauliflower right away.
Cauliflower grown in a container usually yields one prime head.
- Plant fall cauliflower about the same time as cabbage, usually 6 to 8 weeks before the first fall frost, but after the daytime temperatures are below 75 degrees F.
- You can blanch the cauliflower heads for extra white and tender curds with light flavor. When the curds are the size of a chicken egg, cover the head with the surrounding leaves, holding them in place with rubber bands. Allow some room inside for the head growth and air circulation. Some varieties are specially developed for blanching.
- You may add organic mulch to conserve moisture, protect the roots and keep the weeds out.
- If the heads start separating prematurely, harvest immediately to conserve flavor.
- Cauliflower heads keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks. Before storing, soak the heads in lightly salted water for 30 minutes. This rids the cauliflower of insects.