How long does cauliflower take to grow under the right growing conditions and weather whether indoors or outdoors?
Cauliflower (Brassica Oleracea Var. Botrytis) is a cool-weather vegetable in the Brassicaceae family that includes Brussels, broccoli, cabbage, sprouts, kale, and kohlrabi.
It has edible leaves, stems, and dense flower heads that are a substantial source of Vitamins K, B, C, and lots of fiber. Heads are also known as curds and they come in different colors –white, purple, or green colors.
Broccoflower is commonly confused with cauliflower but it’s a hybrid cross between cauliflower and broccoli resulting in green heads.
This is a cool-weathered crop that requires event temperatures to reach harvest in up to 100 days. It is a half-hardy biennial that is grown as an annual.
Cauliflower Planting Time
Cauliflower is easy to grow plants given the perfect growing conditions. Start your cauliflower seeds indoors at least 6 to 10 weeks before the last frost date in spring. These seeds germinate at 45 degrees F.
You can also grow your cauliflower from transplants. Plant them into the garden 2 to 6 weeks before the last frost about 6 weeks after sowing when plants have at least 4 to 5 leaves.
Cauliflower does not tolerate extremes of hot or cold temperatures but needs a cool climate all through. You can plant them in autumn for a winter harvest where the winters are mild and frost-free. Extreme temperatures cause these plants to bolt and grow seeds without producing heads.
For a fall harvest crop, plant them 8 to 12 weeks before the first expected frost in the fall.
Cauliflower Planting And Spacing
Now that you know when to plant, go ahead and sow your seeds or plant the transplants in the right spacing.
- Sow the seeds at least ½ inch deep and 2 to 3 inches apart.
- Thin the plants at least 15 to 24 inches apart spacing the rows at 24 to 30 inches apart.
- Plant the transplants deeply up to their first leaves so they will not grow top-heavy.
- If you want succession crops, plant a couple of heads at a time or plant early and midseason varieties at the same time for an all-round harvest.
How Long Does Cauliflower Take To Grow?
Transplants come to maturity in 55 to 80 days while seeds require 70 to 120 days depending on the variety or the days it takes after blanching. The number of days is the same whether you are growing your plants outdoors or indoors. When the heads are compact, white, and firm, then it comes time to harvest them. Mature heads normally grow about 6 to 8 inches in diameter.
If you notice your heads are small but they have started to open up, this means they will not grow anymore therefore harvest them immediately. If you notice the heads have a coarse appearance it means they are past maturity; toss them instead of using them.
Harvesting And Storing Cauliflower
But when to when to harvest cauliflower? Once you ensure your heads are mature according to the information above, harvest them by cutting the head off using a sharp knife or scissors. You can also harvest the leaves and cook them like collards or cabbage.
Cauliflower will last at least one week in the fridge without washing. Wrap them in plastic to avoid any contact with water and keep them in the vegetable section of your fridge. They can be frozen or pickled too to make them last longer.
Cauliflower Varieties To Grow
There are various varieties to choose from when you want to grow your cauliflower. They include
- White Cauliflower. This variety comes with several types under it with each taking different days to grow. It is the most common type popularly grown by most gardeners. It has some of the biggest heads and takes between 52 to 100 days to mature.
- Purple Cauliflower. These are purple in color and growing in popularity. They take between 55 to 200 days to mature.
- Green And Broccoflower. These are green in color almost looking like broccoli. They take around 62 days to mature.
Growing Cauliflower Conclusion
When you plant your cauliflower do not allow the ground to dry out, these vegetables love moist soils and will thrive in well-drained soils.
You will need to blanch your cauliflower plants as they begin to mature or as the head begins to form to protect the head from injury or too much sun. Start blanching when the head is the size of an egg.
Draw three or four leaves over the head and secure them with a rubber band. Check regularly to ensure the plant is doing well. Untie to peel and tie it back if need be o leave it open if you notice it fully develops.