It is very uplifting to go to the garden on a cold December day to harvest a perfect, intricately woven, beautiful white head of cauliflower.
Cauliflower 'All Year Round' produces good quality white heads and is an excellent all-purpose variety that is ideal for successional sowing. The plants grow to a height of 60cm (24in) and a spread of around 75cm (30in) and hold well over large periods.
The white, well-protected large curds are popular for summer shows, for freezing, and for use straight from the garden.
If you give cauliflower a try, you will be rewarded with the mild, sweet flavour of this vegetable at its freshest. Cauliflower is a great source of vitamin C, potassium, protein, phosphorus, and very high in fibre when eaten raw.
This versatile vegetable has a mild slightly nutty taste, the flavour profile transforms when roasted, steamed, or mashed and can be eaten raw in salads.
Prepare the site:
All brassica crops grow best in partial-shade, in firm, fertile, free-draining soil. Start digging over your soil in autumn, remove any stones you find and work in plenty of well-rotted manure or compost. Tread on the soil to remove any air pockets and make the surface very firm. Brassicas will fail if the soil is too acidic so add lime to the soil if necessary, aiming for a pH of 6.5 to 7.5.
Cauliflower prefers deep, humus-rich soil with a good supply of water and high humidity. Prepare your soil by working into it organic matter such as compost, bark, wood ashes, and manure. Barnyard manures should be aged before adding to the garden. Rabbit and chicken manures are good ones to use. Cow manure is good but just don't overdo it, as the manure may cause a build up of salt in the soil. If your soil is acidic, it should be sweetened up by adding lime.
Cauliflower seeds can be sown in January to February under glass, March to May directly outdoors, or September to October in coldframes to over winter.
Sow 4 to 6 weeks before the date you wish to plant them outdoors
Nearly all brassicas should be planted in a seedbed or in modules under glass and then transferred. Seeds should be sown thinly, as this reduces the amount of future thinning necessary and potential risk from pests.
Sow seeds 1.25cm (½in) deep and rows should be spaced 15cm (6in) apart. Once the seeds have germinated, thin the seedlings to 7.5cm (3in) between each plant.
The seedlings are ready for transplanting when they are between 6 and 8cm high (2½ to 3in). Water the day before moving, and keep well-watered until established. Space the plants 45cm (18in) apart in rows 60 to 90cm (24 to 36 in) apart.
Plant only as deeply as the transplants are as they are removed from their containers. If you overcrowd cauliflower, they may not be able to reach their full potential. Provide two or three plants for each family member. As you plant, put about a cup of root stimulator mixture into each hole along with a teaspoon of bonemeal to get the plants off to a robust start with strong roots and stems. Mulch each plant to prevent soil erosion and to add nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.
The meat of the cauliflower heads are called curds. The curds may "yellow" if they receive too much sun, rain, or frost. Secure the plants' long leaves over the cauliflower heads to insure beautiful white heads.
Cauliflower needs rich soil and adequate moisture for peak production. Feed them with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer every two or three weeks until the point of production. Then feed them with a good water-soluble fertilizer. Keep the soil moist. Replace mulch as it deteriorates and pull weeds away from the plants.
Cauliflower varieties usually take 65 to 75 days to mature (but can take 50 to 85 days), although they can be harvested at any desirable size, they are at their best when the flower shoots are firm and well-formed. Harvesting cauliflower is straightforward, once the heads reach maturity, carefully cut them off at the base, close to ground level with a clean, sharp knife.
Cauliflower can be stored by freezing. Separate the florets, wash them well, and put them into boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove them from the boiling water, then put them into ice water for a few minutes. Drain them well and put them into freezer containers and into the freezer.
Cauliflower is a variety of the common cabbage in which flowers have begun to form, but have stopped growing at the bud stage. The same applies to broccoli. The thick stems under the buds act as storage organs for nutrients, which would have gone into the flowers and eventual fruits had their development not been aborted. All these types are therefore richer in vitamins and minerals than other brassicas.
Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Onions, Garlic, Beetroot, Chards.
Plant celery near to Cauliflower to repel the white cabbage butterfly.
Don't plant cauliflower near strawberries or tomatoes - it doesn't like either.
Rotate your crops, planting brassicas, of any kinds, in the same ground more often than once every four years runs the risk of club root infestation and once you have it, the ground is useless for up to a decade. Don't take needless chances, even with "catch crops" of radishes.
Cauliflower originated in the Mediterranean and Asia Minor, the earliest record indicates that it was known since 600 B.C.
One of the earliest white cauliflowers, Dean’s early snowball is said to be the oldest of the snowball type varieties, Introduced by Mr A. Dean to England in 1876 from Denmark where it was largely cultivated. Snowball was originally a strain of Early Erfurt. According to Mr Dean: “The snowball may be told by one unfailing test, when the heads begin to burst into flower, they become suffused with a pretty purple tint”. Today it is still a favourite, and parent to many strains of the original Snowball variety grown for the market.
Some time in the past thousand years, the preference developed in southern Europe for eating the immature flower buds of the cabbage plants. Selection pressure favouring production of plants with large tender flowering heads was imposed by some growers. By the 15th century, the modern vegetable we know as cauliflower had developed and about a hundred years later, broccoli had been generated in Italy.
The cauliflower plant was named by botanists as Brassica oleracea variety botrytis, with the last part of the name referring to the fact that a cauliflower curd is was thought to resemble a bunch of grapes. The Latin genus name Brassica derives from the Celtic ‘bresic’.
The species oleracea refers to a vegetable garden herb that is used in cooking, while botrytis is a Greek word meaning ‘clusterlike’ or ‘grapelike’.
The English word cauliflower comes from the Latin words caulis , meaning ‘stem’ or ‘cabbage’, and flos meaning ‘flower’
- Additional Information
Packet Size 1 gram Average Seed Count 250 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram Approx 250 seeds per gram Common Name Successional vareity. Heritage (English) Family Brassicaceae Genus Brassica Species oleraceae var. botrytis Cultivar All Year Round Synonym All The Year Round Hardiness Hardy Biennial Height 60cm (24in) Spread 75cm (30in) Time to Sow Jan to Feb under glass. March to May outdoors and
Sept to Oct in coldframes to over winter.
Time to Harvest 65 to 75 days to mature.