Success with Cauliflowers!

I can hardly believe I’m writing this but after years of trying to grow an edible Cauliflower I’ve actually gone and managed it. I’m in shock.

I harvested this Cauliflower a few days ago but there are another five or six of them in the ground. Before I went on holiday the plants were quite big and the middle leaves were starting to tighten. But there was no sign of a Cauliflower. When I came back from holiday (two weeks later) I had seven beautiful Cauliflowers, all in a row. I was amazed.

I have tried several different approaches in the past; liming the ground, netting the whole crop, using brassica collars. All to no avail. Every time, I ended up with something that was only fit for the compost pile.

The secret to my success this time must be that I sowed the seed last Autumn and over-wintered them in my coldframe. I then planted them out in early Spring and have been watering them like crazy during the last few dry months. I’ve also been feeding them with chicken manure pellets, once or twice since I planted them in the ground.

They seem to love it and have rewarded me with some beautiful curds. I made Cauliflower Cheese with the first one and all three of us virtually licked our plates it tasted so Cauliflowery. I’m always amazed how homegrown veg tastes are more intense than shop bought.

Next year I’ll be trying to repeat my success by sowing in Autumn again.

15 Responses to “Success with Cauliflowers!”

  1. Sarahon 01 Jul 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Wow, that looks amazing! I found a pack of cauliflower seeds while clearing up the other night & I was so disappointed I forgot to try them this year, but I’m going to follow your advice & get them started in the greenhouse in Autumn.

  2. lmfcobraon 01 Jul 2010 at 5:54 pm

    i also had the same pleasure not long ago thought there was nothing there and bang a nice row of beautiful cauliflowers,


    PS liked your post on leeks so i have tried your approch for a couple of rows.

  3. Debbieon 01 Jul 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Oh well done! I’m still trying and won’t give up now that I know there’s hope.

  4. Lindsayon 01 Jul 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Well done! The pigeons ate mine :(

  5. Pete Ton 02 Jul 2010 at 7:30 am’ll have to go on holiday more often..!!

  6. Angieon 02 Jul 2010 at 8:04 am

    I picked my four perfect specimens last weekend: almost looked too good to eat! Highly recommend the Ottolenghi cookbooks for some delicious cauliflower recipes.

    They were my first successful attempt too. I grew mine from seed this spring, and I have the feeling that our cool spring played a big part. And the netting (the pheasants ate the other four)

  7. Mangochildon 02 Jul 2010 at 9:39 am

    Congratulations! That does look beautiful, so white and full. It must have been great to come back from the vacation and see them there waiting for you. It’s amazing how things seem to explode out of the ground after weeks of waiting for them. What is cauliflower cheese?

  8. Tips For Growing Strawberrieson 02 Jul 2010 at 10:26 am

    Congratulations, i’ve had no luck at growing a cauliflowers and when i did get somewhere i had the same trouble as lyndsay and the pigeons ate them.

  9. emmaon 02 Jul 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Your cauliflower looks fantastic! I fancy trying them next year, and will definitely try your method of starting them in the Autumn.

  10. Woody Wilburyon 04 Jul 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Big respect! Well done. A well-grown cauliflower is said to be the mark of an expert gardener.

    I’m still trying!

  11. Damoon 06 Jul 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Well done caulies aren’t easy. I’ll try overwintering but managed to succeed from sowings indoors in Feb, growing on in a cold greenhouse then planting out mid-late March, collared and netted, on plenty of chicken manure. Started harvesting about 3 weeks ago.

  12. Helenon 07 Jul 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Just found your blog – we’ve got a plot as of 5 days ago, already starting making notes about what to do and when and have bought Percy Throwers “In your Garden” book. Love your blog, Helen

  13. JoeVon 08 Jul 2010 at 3:00 am

    That’s awesome! I’ve tried a few times, and get healthy foilage, but no curds.

  14. Choice Gardeningon 16 Jul 2010 at 9:22 am

    I have had a few goes at this and never got anything, so well done you.

  15. Angieon 26 Jul 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Cogratulations! Looks like I am heading for similar success – with a kind of a twist.
    Being a novice veggie gardener I bought some plug plants from a local garden centre several months ago and popped them in the ground. Trouble is they were labelled BRUSSELS SPROUTS!

    Never mind – we love cauliflower cheese :-D