Cauliflowers do best in very fertile soil, and digging in a bucketful of well-rotted manure or organic matter before planting, and raking in 150g per sq m of Growmore or other general purpose fertiliser, will help growth. Firm the soil by treading before planting.
If growth is checked, at any time during growth, they produce small, deformed heads. To avoid problems, water plants well the day before transplanting and make a hole deep enough to hold the plant with the lowest leaves at ground level. Fill this hole repeatedly with water. This will fill the hole with soil and ensure the plant is sitting in a large area of moist soil. Firm the soil very well against the roots
Space summer and autumn cropping types 60cm (2ft) apart and winter cultivars 75cm (2.5ft) apart; spacing 30-45cm (12-18in) apart, provides mini, 'one person' curds.
Water well in dry weather, watering every 10 days, and applying sufficient water to thoroughly wet the root zone. Once the plants are growing well, add 30g per square metre of high nitrogen fertiliser such as sulphate of ammonia or Growmore to boost growth and curd formation.
Blanching CauliflowerWhen and How to Blanch Cauliflower
Cauliflower needs cool temperatures, a consistent supply of moisture and lots of fertilizer. To get white curds on many varieties, it is necessary to tie up the leaves around the developing curd.
The first thing to know is when to blanch a cauliflower head. Start checking your plants about 30 days after transplanting your seedlings. The curds develop quickly and it’s that development that tells you when to blanch. A cauliflower curd about the size of a chicken egg is perfect. Smaller curds are already protected from the light by the leaves surrounding them. As they grow, they become more exposed and this is the time to begin blanching. Cauliflower curds develop rapidly into full heads so the window is small.
Cauliflower is extremely susceptible to fungus, so the second condition of when to blanch a cauliflower would be the driest part of the day. You don’t want to trap moisture inside your leaf cover. How to blanch cauliflower successfully is the next step.
When the curd is 2 to 3 inches in diameter (about the size of that egg) the large outer leaves should be tied up and over the emerging curds. The easiest way to do this is to tie the leaves with rubber bands, tape or twine. If you’re using rubber bands, be sure they are sturdy enough to contain the growing leaves and heads. The leaves should be tied loosely to give the curds plenty of room to grow.
Since the curds develop at different rates, you’ll need to check your plants for several days, tying up those that are ready. If your planting is large, using a different color band or string for each day will prove useful for harvest, as those heads that were tied first will be ready for harvest first. Time from tying to harvest varies from 4 to 5 days during warm spring weather to 14 to 21 days during the cool days of autumn.