Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable that can be used in so many dishes, which is why many gardeners want to plant them for personal consumption. While a bit more sensitive to weather compared to others, they can be grown easily with the right environment and nutrients. But even if they are fairly easy to grow and maintain, there are minor problems with growing cauliflower!
You’ll need to learn such problems, so you know how to prevent them from happening, or to find immediate solutions to care for them successfully. With that said, read on to learn more about the issues you may face when planting cauliflower.
Problems with Growing Cauliflower
What are the various problems you may experience when planting cauliflower? Here are common problems to be aware of so you know what to do in case it happens and how to prevent it from happening, if possible.
1. You Chose the Wrong Seed
Sometimes, crops are doomed from the start, as you may have purchased seeds that aren’t suited to the USDA Hardiness Zone. With cauliflower, they thrive best in consistent temperatures, which should range from 60-70 degrees F. Read all the seed packets carefully, selecting varieties that have days to maturity matching the climate’s growing season.
Consider whether you want to plant during the spring and fall, exploring the cultivars with better temperature tolerance and a shortened maturation period.
2. Seeds are Stressed
Cauliflower tends to be temperamental as it develops, particularly during its germination and seedling phase. You should start your cauliflower seeds indoors for up to six weeks before your area’s last predicted frost date during the spring season. This is better than direct sowing, as you provide seedlings the chance to establish before it faces the weather conditions outdoors.
However, don’t wait too long before transplanting cauliflower, as the seedlings end up becoming pot-bound. The roots will then wrap around and around, failing to deliver water and nutrients to the growing plant.
3. Lack of Sun
Most plants, including the cauliflower, require full sun for them to grow properly. Without an adequate amount of sun exposure, you’ll end up with disappointing results. If your area has extremely hot afternoons though, consider planting cauliflower under partial shade.
You will need to learn more about the optimum temperatures your cauliflower seed variety needs to ensure it gets proper sun!
4. Soil Deficiency
Cauliflower plants require organically-rich soil, which is best for their growth and development. Do soil tests to determine how much nutrients your soil has, then improve it as needed, adding compost, humus, or well-aged manure. Make sure it has a balanced amount of nutrients, as soil imbalances can result in plant stress from inadequate nutrient uptake, so cauliflower may not form heads.
Fertilize your vegetable crops as needed, adding the correct amount of nitrogen and other necessary nutrients like phosphorous and potassium.
5. Inadequate Drainage and Moisture
Cauliflower needs consistent moisture, but not too much! The roots have to get what they need to nourish the cauliflower plant, then have the rest of the water drain away. With soil that has poor drainage, it will be susceptible to pests, which affects the way your plant receives water and nutrients.
With that in mind, you should also water your plants regularly, especially because cauliflower is slightly thirstier compared to other vegetable crops. Give these plants about 1-2 inches of water weekly and avoid drying them out, as this can cause stress, resulting in no head formation, as well as bolting or buttoning.
When you transplant your cauliflower seedlings, make sure they are spaced out, about 24 inches between plants and 30-36 inches between their rows. This gives all plants better airflow and root formation, encouraging healthy growth.
Without proper spacing, the roots end up crowding all over one another, having to compete with neighborly plants. This ends up with cauliflower not receiving enough nutrition and hydration to grow properly.
7. You Don’t Rotate Crops
You’ve probably heard of rotating crops, which isn’t only a method for farmers to follow! When you grow vegetables, they will feed on the soil during the growing season, which depletes its nutrients. That’s why it’s best to change locations between seasons to allow the used soil to replenish.
When you don’t rotate crops, the soil ends up becoming spent and unable to provide good nutrition to future cauliflower plants. This results in poor head formation.
8. What’s the Temperature?
As mentioned, cauliflower is more sensitive to weather, considered a stubborn vegetable. It won’t grow well when it’s growing in the wrong temperature, which is why you need to choose a seed variety proper for the region, as well as monitor the weather, adjusting the soil and plants according to temperature changes.
With that said, you will need to have mulch! Mulch keeps your plants cool as the weather warms up and would retain heat if temperatures lower. Plus, they are helpful in soil retention.
During colder weather, invest in floating row covers with snugly closed ends so your plants stay warm. They will also prevent wind-driven moisture evaporation.
Do you want to learn more about growing cauliflower and how to do so successfully? Check out this informative video:
Wrapping It Up
As you grow cauliflower, you may come across a problem or two during the process. But that’s totally normal, as some of these problems are easy to solve and can be avoided with proper care. When you follow the basics, it will prevent common problems and help you reap a successful harvest!
I hope that this list of the problems with growing cauliflower gave you an idea of what you should watch out for as you grow this plant. Be wary about these problems so you can face them head-on if they ever arise or be sure to prevent them from happening to your crop.