Cauliflower Transplanting Tips
Cauliflower is a vegetable that prefers cool growing conditions. It has a reputation for being difficult, and can be a bit of a challenge to grow.
There are several different varieties of cauliflower, which are usually harvested in the summer or fall. In warmer climates, cauliflower can also be grown for a winter harvest. Seasonal transplanting is an important part of growing cauliflowers. Most of the varieties of cauliflower available at your local gardening center will be suitable for growth in your area. Some of the popular cauliflower varieties are Self-Blanche, Snow King, White Corona, Violet Queen, and Green Goddess. Make sure you read the labels properly to ensure the correct planting time. When you are choosing seedlings, look for vibrant, healthy plants.
Cauliflowers grow well in fertile, well-drained soil, which also retains moisture. A sunny spot is also essential to optimal growth. Advance preparation of the soil will ensure that the plants get off to a good start. For optimal growth, the soil must be mildly acidic, with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. A few weeks before transplanting the cauliflower seedlings, incorporate mature compost and all purpose fertilizer in the soil. Remove all debris, rocks, and weeds from the planting spot. Let the soil settle for a weeks.
Transplanting the Cauliflower Seedlings
It is beneficial to harden the cauliflower seedlings for a few days before transplanting them outdoors. Keep the pot or container in the backyard for a longer period of time everyday. This will minimize transplant shock. Choose a time later in the day, when the sun is not too hot. Late afternoon or evening is the best time for transplanting. Transplant cauliflower seedlings in the prepared planting spot, and leave a distance of 2 feet between seedlings. If planting in rows, leave a space of 3 feet between each row. It is beneficial to apply a starting liquid fertilizer at the time of transplanting. Apply an organic mulch to keep weeds down and to retain more moisture.
Watering and Fertilization
Supply the transplants with an even, regular supply of water. This is very important to ensure the growth of healthy curds. A few weeks after transplanting, when the plants are well established, apply a high nitrogen fertilizer around the plant. Leave a space of 5 or 6 inches from the plant base, and apply the fertilizer to the soil. Irrigate thoroughly. The nitrogen will encourage foliage growth, and encourage high yields.
As the seedlings grow, you must protect the curd or head of the cauliflower from the strong rays of the sun. A technique called blanching is used for this purpose. When the cauliflower head is over 2 inches in diameter, gather the surrounding leaves and tie them over the head with a soft garden twine or rope. This will prevent scalding from the sun’s rays, and will keep the head white and flavorful. Make sure air circulation is not affected by tying loosely. Some of the cauliflower varieties such as Violet Queen are self blanching, wherein the leaves grow and surround the head by themselves.