Does your cauliflower look like this?

Cauliflower

It has been a funny old season, and as far as we can tell from the feedback we’re getting from customers, cauliflowers have not been doing very well in many of your gardens. Here we explain why you may not be getting big fluffy white cauliflower heads like this one…

You would normally expect to see the head on your cauliflower plants about 3 months after planting out. So if you planted them back in early May, then you may see a head starting to form by now.¬†If you can see a small head forming, then things are looking good. Once it reaches about 5-8cm in diameter you can tie the outer leaves around the head using an elastic band or twine to hold it in place. This helps to keep the nice white¬†colour rather than seeing the cauliflowers turn a bit yellow. Once you’ve done that you should be expecting to harvest it around 2 weeks later.

If you have lots of small florets instead of a single head, or a loose head, then it is not the end of the world. You can still harvest them and eat them. The reason for this happening is simply down to growing conditions – the plant is stressed, probably from the hot July, dry weather and lack of rain. The cold start to spring won’t have helped either. Here are three things to do in the future to help your cauliflower plants thrive:

  1. Plant them further apart so that they can access nutrients more easily
  2. Plant them in a spot that gets a little shade in the afternoons to keep them cooler.
  3. Mulch your cauliflowers and keep them well watered. Again this will help to keep them cooler and with a more consistent soil temperature that they can handle.