Brassica Growing and care
This nutritious, hearty food is an excellent source of vitamins. Generally low in calories and can be a low-carb substitute. Thanks to our extensive trialing, we’ve chosen superb cauliflower varieties for spring and fall harvest. With the addition of overwintering types, you’ll have a nearly seamless supply of fresh-from-the-garden crops from fall to the following spring in milder climate gardens.
Fertilize lightly & frequently, never let the plants lack for water. Seed can be sown directly in the garden in late spring. We suggest starting the seed indoors 5-8 weeks before transplanting in late April/early May. When the heads start to form, gather the large outer leaves and tie them over the “curd” to prevent colouring by sunlight. Harvest the head when it reaches maturity. Cut the entire head off using a sharp knife.
Days to maturity are calculated from the date of transplanting; add 25-35 days if direct seeding.
Soil and growing
Performs best in fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0
Brassicas are generally a cool-season crop that does not tolerate extreme heat; for headed varieties like broccoli or cauliflower rough heads or leaves in the head are usually from heat stress
Keep beds evenly moist and/or use shade cloth to maintain the quality during heat waves
Excess nitrogen or a boron deficiency can cause hollow stem
Cauliflower Blanching: To ensure completely white heads, tie the inner leaves around the head when it starts to form or break over some inside leaves to shade the head
In colder climates covering with a frost blanket will protect plants from frost damage
Direct seed April through June
Add a complete fertilizer to the soil at the time of planting
Cover with loose soil or sifted compost
Transplanting (Best Option)
Start indoors 4-6 weeks before your anticipated transplant date
Start fall/overwinter varieties May—July for transplanting June—August
Disease prevention: 5-7 year crop rotation
Harvest & Storage
Harvest when heads are tight and dense
Overmature florets begin to separate and appear ricey
Store at 5 C and relative humidity of 95%
Brassica Insect Information
Aphids: Control aphids with ladybugs or a hard spray of water, or create a spray from equal parts rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) and water. Then, use it to treat your aphid-infested plants. Just be sure to treat any outdoor plants in the morning or evening. Test on a couple of leaves before spraying the entire crop. Neem oil or Pyrethrin can be used.
Cabbage worms, loopers, and root maggots: The first sign of cabbage worms will be off-white butterflies fluttering near the plants. They lay their yellowish-colored eggs on the undersides of leaves, which hatch into caterpillars that can cause severe root and head damage. To control light infestations, spray plants with Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.). For heavy infestations, bait cabbage worms by mixing wheat bran into a B.t. solution. Add 1 tablespoon of molasses. Broadcast the bran mixture around the base of plants. Reapply as necessary. Using Reemay or Summer Insect Barrier can also provide control.
Flea beetles: Flea beetles chew tiny pinholes in leaves. Early control is essential to minimize the damage. Organic use of Alcohol and Soap SprayOne spray that may repel or kill flea beetles is made by combining 2 parts rubbing alcohol, 5 parts water and 1 tablespoon of mild, biodegradable liquid dish-washing soap. Spray infected plants with Pyrethrin. Using floating row covers such as a summer insect barrier can also provide control.