cauliflower

Q: I know I am supposed to cover the head of my cauliflower so it will stay white but I don’t know when I should do it.

Q:  I know I am supposed to cover the head of my cauliflower so it will stay white but I don’t know when I should do it.

A:   Although you have been successful, cauliflower can be a difficult vegetable to grow successfully in the vegetable garden mostly because it prefers temperatures in the 60 to 70 degree range. At higher temperatures, cauliflower will not head properly.  It also requires adequate water and fertilizer for optimal performance.

In order to maintain its flavor and firm consistency, cauliflower must be kept snowy white. This is done by tying the leaves together over the heads when the heads are between 2-3 inches in diameter.  The heads should be examined from time to time to determine when they are ready to harvest.  If you let them stay too long, the heads get loose and grainy, and lose much of their tenderness.

In North Florida, cauliflower can be planted in the following months: January – February or August – October.  The best varieties for Florida are Snowball Strains or Snow Crown.  Brocoverde is a green-headed variety.  Be sure to space plants 24-30 inches apart.