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We Planted Cauliflower From Seed For The First Time. All…

Nancy Asked

We planted cauliflower from seed for the first time. All the plant did was grow, there’s no head and it has yellow flowers on it. Is there any way we can save the seeds for next year’s planting? Or does the plant have to be pulled up and gotten rid of?

The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Nancy: Cauliflower is considered a cool-season vegetable, meaning that it should be planted in the very early spring for early summer harvest or planted in the late summer for fall harvest. It will not tolerate hot temperatures. It actually does much better as a fall crop. This vegetable requires more specific growing conditions than others. A cool, humid climate is necessary and the plant benefits from a fertilizer higher in nitrogen. Any disruptions in environmental growing conditions can have negative effects on this vegetable. This is why it does better as a fall crop as weather is more stable at this time. Seeds should be started four to six weeks before they can be transplanted into the garden or you can purchase starter plants and directly plant them in the garden. As the heads, also known as curds, develop it is necessary to tie the foliage up around them so the sunlight is not directly exposed to them, causing discoloration and an unpalatable taste. This process is known as blanching and should be done as soon as the curd begins to show. They should be examined every couple of days in the early morning before the sunlight is strong to determine if they are ready to harvest. In your case it sounds like the plants were left to flower and at this point it is better to pull the plants and try again in the fall.

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