CAULIFLOWER (Brassica oleracea botrytis cauliflora)
This is a slightly tender vegetable which is grown in summer in the amateur’s garden, to provide good heads in late summer and autumn. Alternatively seeds are sown in August and September and wintered in cold frames or under hand lights but this method is not so satisfactory as that of growing throughout in warm weather.
Spring-sown seed should be sown in frames under glass at the end of February or early March. These will produce plants for cutting from July to September. Outdoor sowings may be made from March onwards until the end of April. Seed can be sown broadcast in the nursery, and should be put into boxes or into a sheltered nursery as soon as they are large enough to handle. Seedlings should be hardened off ready forin April, when they are set about in. apart in the rows, leaving 2 ft. between the rows.
During the summer the hoe should be used frequently to keep down theand to keep the surface open and friable. As soon as the young flower heads form, a dressing of nitrate of soda, using about an ounce to each square yard, should be well watered in. If preferred, an ounce of nitrate of soda can be dissolved in a gallon of water and applied as a liquid fertilizer after rain.
Wintering in Frames
If seeds are sown later in the year,should be pricked out when quite small into cold frames to winter under glass. Ventilate freely all through the winter, and at all times protect the seedlings from frost. They should, if well treated, be short, sturdy plants for planting out in March and April. When they reach the open garden, slight protection should be given for a short time. A trowel should be used for planting out and, as far as possible, a ball of soil should be kept intact round each root. Fine coal ashes that have been stored for some time, strewn round the plants after they are put into the open, will keep slugs away. As with all the family, the ground used should be well cultivated, to a great depth, and thoroughly well dressed with lime.
For Exhibition Culture
Cauliflowers are grown in the way already described but, a few weeks before the Show, the most promising plants should be selected and protected. For this the leaves can be tied loosely together at the top, and leaves from other plants also tied over them, to exclude the light. On the Show table the specimens should be medium sized, close and white, unmarked and perfectly fresh and clean.
Useful varieties for the amateur’s garden are “Snowball” and “All the Year Round,” for early sowing. “Autumn Giant” and “Improved Eclipse” for main sowings. “Early Bird” and “Autumn Giant” for autumn sowings.