Sow Cauliflower seed from April to June. Direct sow outdoors into a well prepared seedbed, for transplanting to their final positions later on. Sow at a depth of 1cm (½”) and distance of 30cm (12″) between rows. Cauliflower plants can be transplanted to their final positions approximately 5 weeks from sowing.
Alternatively sow Cauliflower seed indoors at a depth of 1cm (½”) in trays of free-draining, seed sowing compost and cover with a sprinkling of vermiculite. Place in a propagator or seal container inside a plastic bag at a temperature of 21C (70F) until after germination which takes 4 -7 days. Transplant seedlings into 7.5cm (3″) pots and grow Cauliflower plants on in cooler conditions until all risk of frost has passed and plants are large enough to be transplanted outdoors.
Gradually acclimatise Cauliflower plants to outdoor conditions over 7 – 10 days before planting in a sheltered position on firm, rich fertile, well drained soil in full sun. Prepare the soil in early spring by adding plenty of well rotted farmyard manure to the soil to improve its structure and fertility. Apply lime to acid soils to reduce the acidity and lessen the risk of clubroot. Plant cauliflowers at a distance of 25cm (10″) between plants each way for ‘baby heads’, and 60cm (24″) apart for larger heads. Cover with a protective netting or fleece to prevent attack from birds and insects. Water the plants thoroughly after planting.
Water cauliflowers regularly and do not allow them to dry out as this may impair their development. Hoe between plants regularly to prevent weeds from establishing and bring insect larvae to the surface. Spring cauliflowers can be harvested in spring when the curds are fully matured, and while they are still tight and firm. Culinary note: Cauliflowers freeze well.