Cauliflower coming on

Going back to the theme of having an actual spring here in DC, the cauliflower is starting to form heads.  the usual DC “spring” lasts about 2 weeks before the temperatures rocket into the 90’s, with night only getting down to the mid 70’s.  This year is different- it’s mid june, 75 degrees today and going to get into the mid 50’s tonight!

This is my first go at growing cauliflower, and i knew it would be touch and go trying to get an early summer crop in as it’s typically a cool grower.  So far, it’s working, certainly not the best, but they’re beginning to ripen.  What i didn’t know is that you need to protect the head from direct sunlight in order to keep it white and tight.  direct sun tends to make the head brown and yellow, and the florets spread out.  the texture also gets grainy if too much sun hits the forming head.

What growers do is called ‘blanching’ or folding the leaves over the forming head, starting when it’s very small (like the photo to the right).  i’ve read about different ways to do this- breaking a few larger leaves, using string or clothespins- i ended up using rubber bands.  I’m staring to get some white flies laying eggs on the underside of my leafy crops- cabbage, kale and cauliflower, so i’ll have to get the neam oil spray out soon to stay on top of that before it get out of hand.

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About Ryan

Urban gardening at it's best (sometimes it's worst)! Adventures and learnings from going 100% lawn free in a D.C. row house.
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