Cauliflower


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origin

The cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. Botrytis) is also known as carobiola, cheese cabbage, flower cabbage or grape kale. It comes from the cabbage original Brassica oleracea var. Silvestris and belongs like other types of cabbage to the family of cruciferous vegetables (Brassicaceae). Originally native to the Mediterranean, it has been cultivated throughout Europe since the 16th century. It is one of the most popular types of cabbage here, but is slightly more demanding in cultivation than, say, broccoli and most other types of cabbage.

Appearance and growth

In the case of cauliflower, elongated-oval leaves grow from a firm stalk protruding only just above the ground, which are slightly wavy at the edges. In its center is the inflorescence of closed, thickened flower buds, which are fused into a solid, yellowish-white head - the cauliflower head. This edible inflorescence forms already in the first year of cultivation. In addition to minerals and trace elements, cauliflower contains especially vitamin C. If you do not harvest the heads, shoots the plant and forms yellow flowers and seeds.

Cauliflower heads

When cauliflower, the closed inflorescence is eaten

Location and ground

The demanding starter cauliflower thrives best on loamy and deep, nutrient-rich soils that have a good water retention capacity. It is also important to have a high calcium content to reduce its susceptibility to cabbage hernia. Ideal is a pH of 6 to 7. Furthermore, the cabbage species prefers a full sun to partial shade.

Crop rotation and mixed culture

Generally, all cabbages should be rearranged at the earliest after three to four years on the same bed. If you want to sow a green manure before cabbage cultivation, do not use mustard or oil radish, because these plants are also cruciferous. Good mixed culture partners are peas, lettuce, leeks, celery and spinach. The latter is also an excellent filler, and already ready for harvest before the cabbages are so large that they cover the entire bed. Less suitable beet neighbors are garlic and onions.

sowing

For cauliflower spring and autumn crops are recommended, as in summer the susceptibility to pests is greater. For early varieties, sowing in seed trays takes place from the end of February to the beginning of March, as the preculture takes up to 30 to 45 days to plant-ready seedling. Cover the seeds with two millimeters of soil. For germination, 18 degrees Celsius are optimal, then you put them very bright at 12 to 14 degrees Celsius. After the formation of the first leaves, pike the plants into individual small pots or multi-pot plates. After about four to six weeks, the young plants have reached a size that is suitable for planting.

planting

Before planting, preferably already in autumn or about two weeks before planting, plant plenty of algae lime and compost into the soil and possibly add an additional portion of lime directly into the planting hole. The planting distance is 50 x 50 centimeters. Especially with early sowing until April a foil cover is advisable. Late varieties - with sowing until June - are planted in the bed at a distance of 60 x 60 centimeters.

maintenance

Cauliflower has a very high water requirement. Too little water leads to low leaf growth, small heads and favors the shooting. After spraying the sprouted young plants, you should first reduce irrigation for two to three weeks to stimulate the growth of the root system. After that, a regular water supply is important. In addition, you should regularly chop the vegetables to reduce the evaporation of the soil and to loosen the soil. Since cauliflower is sensitive to injury, it is important to work carefully. A mulch layer ensures even soil moisture in summer. For most cabbages it is also recommended to pile them up after growing. Cauliflower has as mentioned above a very high nutritional requirements. In the summer, fertilize the plants with horny meal once or twice. Alternatively, you can also provide cauliflower weekly with diluted nettle gruel or other organic vegetable fertilizer.
Since strong sunlight causes the cauliflower to turn yellow, the plant should be shaded. For yellowing tend especially the older varieties, since in most newer varieties, the foliage enclosing the inflorescence. For shading simply fold one or two large leaves inwards and place them over the flower. To keep the leaves in this position, you should connect both ends of the leaves with a toothpick.

Harvest and recovery

It can be harvested - depending on the time of planting - from June to October, about eight to twelve weeks after planting, as soon as the head has reached the desired size and feels firm. Cut off the entire stem with the inflorescence.Although the vegetables can be consumed raw, but then is difficult to digest. Therefore, cauliflower is usually steamed or cooked. In the fridge, cauliflower is stable for a few days. If you want to store it longer, you should remove the entire plant with its root from the ground, remove the bottom leaves and hang the cauliflower upside down in a cool and humid cellar. In this way it is storable for about four weeks.

Cauliflower florets in a wooden bowl

Whether as a vegetable garnish, in soups or breaded: cauliflower has a slightly nutty taste and contains many vitamins

variety Tips

The varieties of cauliflower differ in the head shape and color, the time of growing and whether they are self-opaque or not. In addition to yellow and green varieties, there are violet varieties, especially in France and Italy, for example, 'Violetto di Sicilia'. Most older varieties are smaller heads than the more modern hybrid varieties (F1 varieties). For the home garden is 'Neckarperle', as it has a wide harvest window. 'Odysseus' makes slightly larger roses. Both varieties must be shaded. Good self-covering is 'White Rock'. 'Selection Z' and the purple variety 'Purple Cape' are winter cauliflower varieties. They tolerate frosts down to -12 degrees - so they can stay on the bed throughout the winter and are ready for harvest from April. However, cultivation is only recommended in mild regions, for example on the Lower Rhine or in the Upper Rhine Graben.

Romanesco (Brassica oleracea convar botrytis var botrytis)

Romanesco (Brassica oleracea convar botrytis var botrytis) is a special cauliflower variety

A special variant of cauliflower is Romanesco (Brassica oleracea convar botrytis var botrytis). The yellow-green cabbage is characterized by its Fibonacci spirals and its particularly high vitamin C content.

Diseases and pests

One pest that can cause big failures is the coal turnor midge. An infestation can be recognized by the fact that the young cabbage leaves grow twisted. Preventive helps the cultivation in wind-open locations and the cultivation of young plants under fleece. Like other types of cabbage, the cauliflower is also attacked by the cabbage fly whose maggots eat the roots. Vegetarian protective nets preventively help here. These have also proven themselves against the caterpillars of the cabbage white.
If the cabbage hernia caused by a slime mold occurs, you should follow a cultivation break of seven years. Infested plants should be removed from the bed immediately and disposed of in the household waste.

Video Board: Cauliflower Hater Vs. Chef.

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