Compact, close heads of cauliflower make a grand show when plants are well grown. Given a position well in the open, with correct sowing and planting, excellent results should be assured.
Varieties for early summer cutting include Early London White, All the Year Round, Universal; for late summer and autumn, Dwarf Monarch, Early Giant, Eclipse.
There are approximately 1,000 plants in an ounce of seed, and average time for germination is about ten days.
Ready for Use. Early summer, late summer and autumn.
Heavy soil is best, but light ground is made suitable by stiffening it with material from the decaying weed and leaves heap. In all cases a double handful of hop manure dug into each square yard will help. The ground should not be loose or spongy at planting out time, but neither need it be as firm as for broccoli.
A sufficiency of lime is necessary; if this is lacking scatter hydrated lime over the surface, if the ground is heavy. Light or sandy soil is better treated with ground limestone, 1 lb. to the square yard. This should be forked into the top 2 in. a few days before the plants are set out.
When and How to Sow.
To secure heads for cutting in early summer, sow the early varieties named during August to September, in. deep in a seed bed. To avoid waste of seed and labour of thinning out sow as thinly as possible. When the seedlings are about 2 in. high they should be lifted, with the trowel, and planted in a cold frame, 3 in. apart each way, in good soil.
Water the young plants in, close the frame for two or three day then get them accustomed again open-air conditions – by raising glass a little higher each day fo. about a week. After that the frame light should be opened wide, or removed, by day, and replaced at night. The protection required is against frost, snow, excessive rain; otherwise, unlimited air is necessary. The plants will remain in the frame until late February or March, or a bit later if bad weather prevails.
To secure heads for cutting in late summer and autumn, sow the varieties already named, -in April or early May, in A-in. deep drills in a finely surfaced seed bed. From there shift when about 2 in. high to the nursery part of the bed, 4 in. apart. They will need to be kept steadily growing with plenty of water when rain holds off. Before they touch in the rows, plant out where they are to remain.
This is to be done with the trowel, both from frame and nursery bed – /row moist soil moist soil. Plant in 4-in. deep drills, or leave a depression around each plant, as advised for broccoli.
See under cabbage tribe in the chart ‘Remedies Against Enemies of Vegetable Crops’.
Spells of dry weather will necessitate free use of the watering can. Soakings with liquid manure, or surface dressings of poultry manure, help considerably. Also in hot and dry weather it is a help to heads that are forming if top leaves are tied loosely together over them, to shield them from the sun; heavy rains can be kept from the heads in the same way. Short-period Storing.
If heads jcome ready for cutting more peedily than they can be used, plants may be dug up and replanted close together in a shady spot, the roots to be kept moist; or they can be hung up side down in an airy shed.
Cutting the Heads.
These are ready for cutting when full grown. If left too long they will open out into flower, in which condition they are useless.
Preparing for Table.
Remove outer leaves, cut back inner leaves level with the head, cut stalk close to base, wash in salt water – one teaspoonful of salt to the gallon of water – soak in another dish of salt water, head down, for twenty minutes, before cooking. Like broccoli, cauliflower is very easily digested – more so than any other green vegetable.