Plant of the Month: November

Plant of the Month UF IFAS Extension University of Florida and Florida Master Gardener Volunteer featuring cauliflower

Cauliflower is an annual edible cruciferous plant within the Brassica oleracea genus that reproduces by seed. It is an extremely versatile, highly nutritious, and low-calorie vegetable with high levels of vitamin C and folate. The mounded, dense head of cauliflower plants is called the curd or flowering stalk of the plant. Cauliflower harvesting and its edible stage occur before the flowers open.

UF-IFAS advises that in North and North Central Florida; cauliflower can be planted in the following months: January – February or August – October. The best varieties for Florida are Snowball Strains or Snow Crown. Brocoverde is a lesser-known green-headed variety of cauliflower that is grown the same way. Also, be sure to space plants at least 24-30 inches apart.

Cauliflower must be kept snowy white to maintain its flavor and firm consistency. The leaves must be tied together over the heads when they are between 2-3 inches in diameter. The heads also need to be closely examined periodically to determine when they are ready to harvest.

According to Gardening Dad, planting cauliflower is notoriously difficult in Florida because they are a temperamental crop and are not able to survive frost or cold weather under 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Cauliflower can be a difficult vegetable to grow successfully in the vegetable garden mostly because it prefers temperatures in the 60-to-70-degree range. At higher temperatures, cauliflower will not head properly. It also requires a large amount of water and fertilizer for optimal performance.

Despite the challenges of growing cauliflower, it is a delicious vegetable that brings many nutritional rewards to your diet.

By Cheris on November 21, 2022