Cauliflower is the annual vegetable plant in the Brassicaceae family that can be grown from seeds. This vegetable plant can be grown in temperate regions as well as in tropical regions. In general cauliflower is sun loving cool season vegetable plant that can grow in spring and fall. In India you can start sowing seeds from 15 July to mid September. In temperate regions you can sow the seeds from May to June. Growing this vegetable plant is not an easy job. Unlike the other members of the Brassicaceae family like broccoli that produces multiple side shoots cauliflower only produces a single head. Have you already read introduction about this amazing vegetable plant, now let’s discuss on
“How To Start Growing Cauliflower.”
Growing season depends on the climate, the variety that you are growing to grow, and their temperature requirement for the curd formation. If you are living in tropical countries like India then you can sow:
Early varieties such as Pusha katki, Pant Gobhi-2, Pant Gobhi-3, etc. during June to August.
Main season varieties such as Pusa Subhra, Punjab Giant 26, etc. during September to October.
Late season varieties such as Pusa Snowball-1, Pusa Snowball-2, Dania Kalimpong, etc. during October to December.
In temperate regions you can start sowing seeds from May to June.
The average monthly temperature required to grow cauliflower varies in the range of 16 to 18 degrees celcius.
However it can tolerate temperature till 24 degrees celcius but if the average temperature remains above 24 degrees celcius then it can harm your plant and it can bolt.
Cauliflower is most sensitive to the temperature among all cole crops. That’s why I believe that it will need your love and care to grow properly.
Selection of Pot
Selection of pot can depend on your choice to grow this vegetable plant in the growing bag or earthen pot. Growing bag with good drainage holes is considered ideal for terrace gardening.
You can purchase growing bags of 40 cm in height and 24 cm width or earthen pot of 12 inch size to grow this vegetable plant. You can also grow it directly in the ground soil if you have a backyard garden.
Prepare potting mix with 50% normal garden soil + 30% any organic compost like vermicompost + 20% cocopeat and mix them thoroughly. Sandy loam soil is considered ideal to grow this plant. You can also use 50% normal garden soil + 50% vermicompost to prepare your potting mix to grow this vegetable plant.
You can propagate cauliflower from seeds. I will suggest you to purchase young seedlings directly from the plant nursery. But if you want to grow this vegetable plant from seeds then purchase high quality disease resistant seeds of appropriate sowing time.
Always check that the variety that you are growing to grow is fit for your region and climate or not.
You can germinate the seeds in germination tray as well as in the small to medium sized pots. For germination of seeds prepare potting mix with 50% normal garden soil + 50% vermicompost. Pour this potting mix in the germination tray that have good drainage.
Make a hole of 1.5 cm with the help of finger or pencil tip and sow 2 to 3 seeds in each hole in the germination tray or pot. In pot keep a distance of 2 cm between each hole.
Cover the seeds with germination potting mix and apply water gently. Maintain adequate moisture in the soil. Water a little only when top layer of soil seems dry. Place the germination tray in semi shade if the temperature is too high otherwise you can place it under direct sunlight. READ MORE: HOW TO GROW CABBAGE
Within 6 to 10 days seeds will germinate and you will notice baby plants coming out from the soil. Keep watering the soil when it seems dry and see your seedlings grow. Do not over water as it can damage your plants.
When the seedlings have reached 3 to 5 inches in height or have 3 to 5 leaves can be transplanted to the main growing pot. If you have purchased healthy seedlings from the nursery then also you can transplant them by following my instructions.
With the help of a gardening tool gently take out the seedlings out of the soil without disturbing the root region. Fill the growing pot or bag with potting mix and leave 2 inch space at the top for watering.
Make sure that your growing pot or bag have at least 3 to 4 drainage holes to facilitate excess water out of the pot. Plant one seedling in each pot for good growth. You can also plant 2 to 3 seedling in each pot at a gap of 4 to 6 inches from each other.
Cauliflower loves sunlight to grow. It needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to grow properly but if the temperature is too hot then keep your pot in semi shade.
Maintain adequate moisture in the soil by checking top soil layer daily. If it looks dry then apply water in the soil properly. Make sure after watering water does not stand much longer in the pot.
Apply a layer of mulch of chopped straw around the base of the plant to ensure prevention of moisture in the soil.
Cauliflower is heavy feeder and requires good amount of fertilizer to grow but this doesn’t mean to apply excess of fertilizers.
If you are growing this vegetable plant in inorganic way then apply a table spoon of NPK fertilizer in the ratio 5:10:10 along with a pinch of micronutrients once in a month.
You should also apply sea weed extract once in a month to prevent plant from boron deficiency.
If you are growing it organically then apply two to three handful of vermicompost once in a month. Nowadays Waste Decomposer and Jeevamrut are being used as bio fertilizers. They are easy to use, organic and are soil health reviver.
You can also choose any one of them for your garden and can apply it in all of your plants equally in the form of spray or basal application. They acts as bio fertilizers as well as bio-pesticides.
Blanching of cauliflower is very important for better curd development i.e. white head of the plant. When the curd is 3 inches in diameter then cover the head by tying outer leaves together with the help of rubber band.
Aditya Abhishek is an Agriculture Science student who focuses on learning and delivering knowledge on Agriculture and Home Gardening. He created Agriculture Review as a common platform for all nature enthusiast to learn better practices of agriculture and gardening.