Cauliflower is the most challenging member of the cabbage family to grow. The secret is to water and feed the young plants to ensure constant and fast growth during the cool season that they prefer. Place your cauliflower plants in the garden at 24 in. (60 cm) intervals in rows spaced 2 to 3 ft. (60-91 cm) apart.
• Choose a sunny location (6+ hours of sun) and dig a hole about two times as wide as your pot.
• Remove your plant from the pot by loosening the soil and tipping it out into your hand. Place your plant in the soil about as deep as it was in the pot.
• Refill the space around your plant with soil and press lightly to compact the dirt, keeping your plant firmly in the ground.
• Water immediately to settle the soil, and add more soil as needed, bringing it level to the rest of your garden.
Cauliflower heads must be shaded from the sun to maintain their color. Many varieties have long curled leaves that grow close to the head providing adequate shade. You can always tie up the loose leaves over the center of the plant to protect it from sunburn and create your own shade. Use rubber bands instead of string to allow for the expansion that comes with growing.
Cauliflower is susceptible to the same pests and diseases as other members of the cabbage family. To reduce the risks, avoid planting cabbage relatives in the same spot 2 years in a row.
The crop is ready to harvest when the heads are tightly formed and dense. Simply cut the head off the main stem, leaving about 2 in. (5 cm) of stem on the head. Use as soon as possible.
Cauliflower is a treat raw, especially good in veggie trays with a tasty dipping sauce or dressing. Cooking brings out the true flavor of cauliflower – try it stir-fried, sautéed, baked, steamed, boiled and even grilled.