Author Topic: Cauliflower question  (Read 1343 times)

Offline TheZenful1

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Cauliflower question
« on: August 25, 2012, 09:45:59 PM »
So, this is my first time planting and growing. I did it kind of experimentally. Put together 2 raised beds, did one as a square foot garden. the other I kinda spaced stuff out and gave it more room to grow.

I've had excellent results with my simpson lettuce, spinach, snap peas, green beans, cherry tomatoes and some early bird tomatoes and cucumbers...

My issue so far is with the cauliflower... These things are HUGE!!! But there are still no heads!!! I planted them all back in the beginning of May. the seed packages say 80 day maturity. There are some "stalks" that are 2 inches+ thick and leaves that are twice the size of a mens size 13 athletic shoe.. but no heads anywhere.

Have I done something wrong? Should I wait more time? I'm kind of scratching my head here wondering when these things will start producing.

Any help/advice would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Cauliflower question
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2012, 11:22:43 PM »
What zone are you in? 

Cauliflower is very temperature and moisture sensitive.  To dry, too wet, too hot, or too cold, and the heads will not make.  It's not the easiest to grow, so don't feel bad if doesn't make.  The variety I generally plant matures in about 10 weeks but YMMV.

Down here in Texas it's mostly a fall crop.  Up north it may be spring.  I understand that a short growing season up north may not give it enough days at proper temperature to make at all. 

With the drought everywhere, it could be a moisture issue.  If none of these seem plausible, it could be fertilizer related.  Cauliflower likes nitrogen, but not when first starting out.  I will sometimes side dress mine when they are a few weeks established.   

It's hard to guess without additional info. 

~TG
 

Offline TheZenful1

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Re: Cauliflower question
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2012, 10:31:48 AM »
TG, I'm in Zone 5. It has been pretty warm this summer, we did have some good heat here in Chicagoland.
I've kept up on watering. The beds are comprised of mushroom compost, peat, and when I first planted a dose of blood & bone. Does that the additional info help any?

This was a big learning experience for me and if they produced that was a great benefit. To me, it's partially ok if it isn't going to produce for me. I'll just go ahead and drop them down and get ready to utilize the space for some other plantings.

Thanks for your help.

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Cauliflower question
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2012, 01:32:17 PM »
Sounds like you have the soil, plant nutrition, and moisture under control.  Temperature would be almost the only unknown.  Have they not set at all?  Or are there "buttons" with no growth?   Buttons could indicate either early frost damage or a spell of drought at just the wrong time in development.

Did you plant from seed or buy small plants from a store?  I can't count the times I have bought cabbage/cauliflower/collards/broccoli/brussel sprouts to find a mislabeled six-pack.  You might have some beautiful collards and not know it!  Well, you can always eat the greens... 

Keep in mind to rotate for future planting.  Rule of thumb for cabbage family crops is don't replant in the same soil for three years.  Don't forget kale and kohlrabi are also in the cabbage family.

~TG
 

Offline TheZenful1

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Re: Cauliflower question
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2012, 11:31:00 PM »
Yeaaaaah, no buttons. It's been raining all day and I was running errands. Tomorrow I'll have to see about snapping a picture.

Offline TheZenful1

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Re: Cauliflower question
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2012, 11:35:03 PM »
I'm pretty excited! I've got cauliflower ehads growing finally. I spotted buttons about a week or two ago and now they're growing. I think I've got 3 or 4 heads out of maybe 7 or so plants. Can't wait to be able to harvest and cook & eat them!

Offline rikkijustmike

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Re: Cauliflower question
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2012, 04:24:38 PM »
Zen, can you post those pictures? I planted cauliflower recently, too (I'm in TX) and I'm curious about what I can look forward to. Thanks for the info, y'all.

Offline TheZenful1

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Re: Cauliflower question
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2012, 01:27:52 AM »
rikkijustmike, I'll get out there tomorrow and take some pics. It may even be time to harvest. I would've responded sooner, but I just got back to the forum. I'll get those pics taken and posted up as soon as possible.

Offline TheZenful1

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Re: Cauliflower question
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2012, 12:12:13 AM »
This was a pics from a couple weeks ago. The lawn chair is in the pic for scaling of the size of those leaves. They are humungous!



This head yellowed out before I could get it. From what I've been reading, you should harvest them when white



Bad frost did this this morning. Looks like I'll have to harvest the other heads shortly.





Offline ID_Joker

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Re: Cauliflower question
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2012, 07:51:04 AM »
Very nice!  I'm impressed!

Just curious as I've never grown cauliflower....With plants that huge, how many heads did you get out of how big a space?  (Ie approx yield/sq ft)

Offline TheZenful1

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Re: Cauliflower question
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2012, 12:20:12 PM »
I'm impressed as well. Honestly, I don't know what is optimum, this is my first time growing anything.

I started those in a square foot garden raised bed. It's total space is 4'x 4'. The cauliflower plants were planted in the nearest left square. As you can see they've grown huge and spread out.  I didn't know what to expect when I planted anything, so I didn't thin anything out. When the cauliflower were looking seriously overpopulated, I transplanted 3-4 of them over to a larger 4'x8' bed(surprisingly no transplant shock).

In the first pic, you can see they've expanded out to almost the full 4' across, they have taken about 2' wide as well, maybe a little more. I think I've only seen 3 heads out of 6-7 plants. They've had a little rough season, we had temps in the triple digits back in June for a couple weeks and I believe that hindered growth and production.

I can't wait to pull these other heads, soak them and cook & eat them. :)

I've learned from this that cauliflower here does extremely well with all day sun(making sure to tie the leaves around the heads to keep them from yellowing). The plants grow big and fast, although I waited what felt like a long time for butttons to start growing into heads. I've learned they need space, more than the space I gave them. Good thing the lettuces, peas and spinach in the squares next to it were finished for their seasons.

It was  an awesome experience growing what I did this year. I'm looking forward to doing it again and continuing to learn so that I can know what I can plant through our Chicagoland winters.


Offline desertmarine

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Re: Cauliflower question
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2012, 05:35:31 AM »
I'm impressed as well. Honestly, I don't know what is optimum, this is my first time growing anything.

I started those in a square foot garden raised bed. It's total space is 4'x 4'. The cauliflower plants were planted in the nearest left square. As you can see they've grown huge and spread out.  I didn't know what to expect when I planted anything, so I didn't thin anything out. When the cauliflower were looking seriously overpopulated, I transplanted 3-4 of them over to a larger 4'x8' bed(surprisingly no transplant shock).

In the first pic, you can see they've expanded out to almost the full 4' across, they have taken about 2' wide as well, maybe a little more. I think I've only seen 3 heads out of 6-7 plants. They've had a little rough season, we had temps in the triple digits back in June for a couple weeks and I believe that hindered growth and production.

I can't wait to pull these other heads, soak them and cook & eat them. :)

I've learned from this that cauliflower here does extremely well with all day sun(making sure to tie the leaves around the heads to keep them from yellowing). The plants grow big and fast, although I waited what felt like a long time for butttons to start growing into heads. I've learned they need space, more than the space I gave them. Good thing the lettuces, peas and spinach in the squares next to it were finished for their seasons.

It was  an awesome experience growing what I did this year. I'm looking forward to doing it again and continuing to learn so that I can know what I can plant through our Chicagoland winters.

Based on my experience as a Heirloom Seed Business owner, Certified Master Herbalist and expert Gardner  the issues that you had was due to heat.  Cabbage, celery, broccoli, cauliflower etc all will be affected with heat.  You can't control the heat but you can do things to bring down the temperature like on plants by adding shaded screening around the plants.  It lets the air circulate but keeps the effects of the blazing sun off of the plants.  BTW the pictures look great.  Hopefully things will turn out even better in 2013.  Keep up the excellent work. 
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