Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a good source of Vitamin C.
unsplash-logoEric Prouzet

Welcome to our new Focus on Vegetables series.

Why have we chosen Cauliflower? Simply because it made the news on a daily television COVID19 update from the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The general public is complaining about ‘price gouging.’ And at a reported $13 per Cauliflower that may be indicating that some traders are pushing up prices. Still, it may also mean difficulties in obtaining supply for some traders also. But Cauliflower has replaced toilet paper as the concern for a lot of Kiwis. Garlic was another vegetable where complaints were made to the new COVID19 price watch scheme about high prices.

Prices of vegetables and other food items do go up in a crisis, so maybe now is the time to start growing your own.

If you have any concerns about price gouging, email complaints to pricewatch@mbie.govt.nz.

Start sowing while the weather is good

If you have any seeds hanging around for Cauliflower now is the time to start sowing them in your favourite but undercover seed tray area. Obtaining the seeds while under COVID19 lockdown may prove difficult, since we cannot just get in the car and drive to the local garden centre. Some online stores are selling seeds but overwhelmed with orders indicating that delivery may take a little while.

Generally, we are experiencing better than average weather, however, sowing Cauliflower seeds in April applies to New Zealand subtropical and temperate regions. In subtropical and temperate areas your temperatures should still be reasonably warm and not getting frequent frosts. In colder areas with frequent frosts, your seed growing time may have already been exhausted.

Transplanting

So, if you have those seeds and can sow them now, you should be able to transplant your seedling in 4 to 6 weeks. Harvesting the Cauliflower by the 22-week mark. Cauliflower seedlings can also be transplanted into pots of a suitable size for those of us not into digging a garden or do not have space.

If you are transplanting the seedling into a garden bed, transplant into a carefully cultivated garden bed with plenty of organic matter, sheep pellets or compost. The soil needs to be rich, deep soil, firm with plenty of well-rotted compost dug in.

If transplanting into a suitable pot, make sure you have a good quality vegetable mix. There should be plenty of root space in your pot too. You should only be planting one Cauliflower per pot because Cauliflower needs space of at least 30cm (11 to 12 inches) to grow.

In both transplant scenario’s water in well and make sure than where the Cauliflower is being transplanted has been prepared well.

Plant Cauliflower in a full sun sheltered from wind position.

When heads begin to form, feed with liquid plant food.

Harvesting

Somewhere between the 15-week and the 22-week mark, you should be in a position to harvest your Cauliflower. In harvesting the plant, make sure you are harvesting Cauliflower when the head of the Cauliflower is tight and firm.

If the head becomes loose, the Cauliflower is starting to age. Its flavour and texture will begin to diminish.

Cut the head off, before pulling out the roots. The leaves can be disposed of in the compost bin.

Pests

Aphids like to attack Cauliflower. Treat with Neem oil or use natural methods to eliminate.

Storing Cauliflower

Cauliflower will last a week in the refrigerator or if frozen up to one year if properly stored. Freezing Cauliflower should be completed while they are fresh.

Cauliflower can be eaten after cooking or raw.

The Goodness of Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a good source of Vitamin C and a source of dietary fibre and folate.

Cauliflower can be used as part of your 5+ a day fresh fruit and vegetable.

Cauliflower in review

  • Cauliflower can be grown in April in warmer infrequent frost areas
  • Start seeds inside
  • Transplant in 4 – 6 weeks
  • Position seedling in a sunny sheltered position
  • Cauliflower needs a well-prepared garden bed with fertile soils
  • Can be planted in pots
  • When heads form feed with liquid vegetable food
  • Harvest at 15-22-week mark when heads are tight and firm
  • Cut head before planting roots out
  • Cauliflower will last in the refrigerator for one week or up to a year if frozen
  • Eat Cauliflower raw or cooked
  • Cauliflower is a good source of Vitamin C

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