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Old 06-17-2008, 11:06 AM   #1
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Why is my cauliflower always a garden failure?

I am a pretty OK gardener when it comes to tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, herbs, etc.

But I can never grow cauliflower or broccoli. They always seem to "bolt" without ever showing signs of edible vegetable.

Dumb me keeps trying though.

This year only 2 cauliflower plants. I know I am supposed to cover the head with leaves to keep it white, but there is no head to cover. The plants are over a foot tall and leafy but no cauliflower yet.

I am afraid they've bolted.

What am I doing wrong?

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Old 06-17-2008, 11:16 AM   #2
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you`ll need to add garden lime and also a little Boron (boric acid or borax) to the soil.

how are they for Light?
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:12 PM   #3
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You need to get cauliflower and broccoli out as early as possible, as they bolt when the weather starts getting hot.
They really do best in a fall garden. Down here, we plant them about the first week in August, so they start making heads after the weather cools down. You do have to baby the little plants to get them started, as, here, at least, August is usually hot and dry. But once they get going, you should have great results.
Keep the plants dusted with Dipel (BT) to keep out the worms.

Hint: Cover the cauliflower heads with panty hose to blanche and keep out the bugs. It stretches as the head grows, and stays put...much easier than tying up the leaves.
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:45 PM   #4
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LOL, I just don't try growing cauliflower any more. i can do broccoli though. I start the early broccoli in March and fall broccoli the first of July. I start the fall broccoli in the greenhouse and set out in the garden after it gets a good start.
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Old 06-17-2008, 02:10 PM   #5
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They are in pretty good sunlight in pH neutral (basically) soil.

But I planted them in early May which may have been too late, since it got VERY hot here recently.

Maybe I'll try planting them again later, but it is also very hot here in August. Or just earlier next year. With lime.

Thanks for the pantyhose trick. I will def. use that if those little heads ever show themselves!
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Old 06-17-2008, 02:33 PM   #6
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all Brassicas like the soil pH to be Higher than most plants, adding garden lime will do this, you can even dip the roots directly into the lime when you trasplant them into the soil, it won`t hurt them and also prevent clubroot.

the Boron helps the head formation, you don`t need a lot! dissolve a tablespoon in a watering can and that will be enough to cover 10 sqr meters and last a good 3 years before you need to do it again.
Lack of boron is devastating to caulis :(

this may sound like an Odd question, but what was planted there before?
your Light levels sound good.
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Old 06-17-2008, 03:19 PM   #7
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I've never tried cauliflower...Broccoli is a fall crop to me...It's a "cold weather" plant and seems to do better for me as the weather/temperatures are getting cooler...rather than in the spring when the weather is getting warmer....Try it again this fall Miss Jenny

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Old 06-17-2008, 03:35 PM   #8
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Fall and lime and boron it is then. Sounds like a plan.

There were cherry tomatoes there last year and the year before. Before that, failed broccoli and before that .... I don't recall.
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