Planting Guide and Seed Saving Notes for Cauliflower
Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea)
Cauliflower was developed as a food crop by the Italians and passed on to the French in the 16th century. Try it roasted with crispy edges to discover a taste that is far from bland. Eat cauliflower sautéed, steamed, boiled, pickled in chow-chow or mashed with blue cheese. It freezes well if cut into florets, blanched in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then cooled quickly.
Nutrients: High in calcium and dietary fiber, folate, vitamin C.
How to Grow Cauliflower from Seed
Cauliflower is a moderately frost tolerant plant that prefers full sun and evenly moist soil.
Cauliflower seed should be started indoors 4 weeks before the last frost in spring. Cauliflower starts can be planted again in late summer for a fall crop. Sow seeds 1/4” deep and 2-4” apart. Seeds will sprout in 5-15 days. Thin seedlings so that mature plants are 18" apart.
As heads begin to form, tie up their leaves to cover and protect them from sunburn.
Harvest cauliflower in 70-85 days after planting.
How to save Cauliflower Seed
Cauliflower is an insect pollinated biennial that doesn’t flower and set seed until the following season. Leave ½ mile between what you are growing and any other Brassica oleracea to prevent crossing. The oleracea species is large, so be extra careful of what you have growing out to seed around you. After flowers have turned to seed, leave the seeds to mature and dry on the plant as long as possible before gathering. Once plant material is so dry it crumbles at your touch, you’ll follow the dry harvesting methods for processing. Store seeds in a cool dry place and they will remain viable for 4-5 years.