Cauliflower question along the same lines

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

So I've grown broccoli for a couple of years in my Earth Boxes, but this year I'm trying cauliflower for the first time.

I just harvested my first two heads. So, my question is -

Does cauliflower make side shoots like broccoli does? Is it worth it to keep the plants to wait and see?

I'd like to plant something else in the box, in place of the huge cauliflower plants. Weather's been awesome so far this winter here.

Thanks Elaine

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

No cauliflower is a one shot plant.

Palmdale, CA(Zone 8a)

Cauliflower does not usually develop side shoots, therefore most people will dig up the whole plant after harvesting the heads.

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

Fantastic, thank you so much! There's one more cauli in that Earth Box and I'm sure it will come along better once it's big brothers are gone.

Plantersville, TX(Zone 9a)

dyzzypyxxy: When did you plant your califlower plants. Was it before summer?

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

Nope, cauliflowers would never survive through the summer heat here, even if I put the Earth Box in the shade. It's too hot at night. I put them in about mid-October. Started with transplants about 3in. high, though. I still have one plant that's well behind the other two. We've had an exceptionally mild winter so far. If we'd had more cold nights, I'm sure I'd be waiting another month for the broccoli and cauliflower to produce. That's what happened last year.

I have tomatoes and peppers producing wonderfully right now, too. But we're in for a couple of cold nights next week, so they may stop for a while. Depends how warm I can keep them.

We usually plant our fall/winter gardens starting in late September, or whenever the first 'cool' front comes through and cools the nights down. I've tried starting seeds indoors in August, but I can't keep them cool enough or give them enough good light, no matter how I move them around. They just get super leggy, and never come to much if I set them out.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

The Broccoli and Cauliflowers are actually colder weather veg so you have done really well to get this far doing it the way you do, if you have trouble with cold nights get some horticulture white fleece from garden center and before the cold hits the plants, you throw the fleece over the boxes, in the morning you remove it, it is very light weight and you can water through the fleece, here in UK I can buy this fleece by a packet or some places on line sell it by the meter. this might help you out. Good Luck. WeeNel.

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks, yes I have frost cloth covers for my Earth Boxes, and had to use them 3 nights this week. Even down here in Florida we do get the odd night of frost each winter. My broccoli is producing side shoots like crazy, and I have two cherry tomato plants and three sweet peppers with tons of fruit on them as well, so I do need to keep them as warm as possible to keep production going. The weather has rebounded nicely into days of 70plus, and nights in the 50's. Phew.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Currently growing in my Zone 9a bucket garden...

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Hi Elaine, just sitting here laughing to myself re your problem with cooler evenings, I've just had 200 year old trees ripped out by the roots after 120 mile hour winds, hard rain followed by a wall come down from a tree felled and the roots pulled down part of the wall. anyway, we also lost power from Monday through to Friday, had to watch the freezer defrost, how I envy your temp problems.
My Husband and I visit Florida (Sanibel Island) every spring just to help shorten our winters and get some heat into our bones ha, ha, ha, last Year we visited California, Huntington Beach, was wonderful but cooler than Florida.
Your night Tamp are about the same as our summer temps but we sometimes go to high 60's, this is the reason your having success with your Broccoli, Cauliflowers etc, they like cooler temps or they just quickly go to flower / seeds.
Good luck have a great crop and happy gardening. WeeNel.

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

Hi Nel, my sympathies with the terrible weather there!

I am originally from Vancouver, Canada so a very similar climate to yours. They've had some terrible wind and rain storms this winter, too. Now that most of my relatives are gone or moved, I get to visit up there only in summer, and have often commented how similar Florida's winter weather is to Vancouver's summer (other than we have much shorter days).

Yes, the growing seasons are almost opposite here to what I knew in Canada - I hardly grow anything in the summertime here as it's so brutally hot and humid outside. I can work in the garden for about 10 minutes, then need to jump into the pool to cool off. June through September we really stay indoors through the middle of the day. Evenings are fine as there is usually a breeze but even in the middle of the night it is often over 80deg. The jungle takes over the yard, then once we begin to get cool fronts again in October, the work begins to reclaim the yard and plant the garden again.

We generally do very well with cool-season crops if we plant early enough. I harvested lots of broccoli through March last year.


Pilot Point, TX(Zone 7b)


How many broccoli plants did you plant..??.. Just curious... I planted 3 for my husband & I ... and they're just now starting to produce heads. I wish there was a way to stagger their production somewhat. I don't necessarily want them ALL in one week.

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

I know just what you're saying, Jan. The first year I grew broccoli I bought a little pony pack with 9 transplants in it. Planted them all in my raised bed, and of course I had 9 gorgeous heads of broccoli all ready in one week. The neighbors loved it.

Now I plant one Earth box with 3 plants in October, and if the weather's good, another in mid- to late-November. (but this year I planted cauliflower instead). I harvested the main heads around the first week of December. Sometimes you can 'hold' transplants if you have the patience to bring them in and put them in the fridge at night. This way if you buy a 6-pack, you can hold 3 for a month and stagger your harvest.

I just bought some more broc. transplants today to plant 3 more to extend the harvest through spring, but the plants from October are still producing side shoots so that we have fresh broc at least a couple of nights a week.

The side shoots extend the harvest very well, and also planting more at about 6-week intervals seems to work for me. By April, we're truly sick of broccoli, no matter how good it is.

This message was edited Jan 27, 2012 1:01 PM

Pilot Point, TX(Zone 7b)

Good suggestions Elaine... I'll have to see if I can find any transplants that I can plant right now. We love both broccoli and cauliflower. I'd like to see if I can grow a lot more cauliflower so that I can freeze it. It's what we eat instead of mashed potatoes or rice. I steam it and along with some parsnips -- it's really good. The organic cauliflower in the grocery was kinda' high... I was hoping that Costco had some organic in their freezer but they just had organic broccoli.

RE: EarthBox -- I had to google it... wasn't sure what that was. Do you really think you get more 'yield' from this approach?

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

Jann, I do love my Earth Boxes, not only because they yield better for me, but because once I get them planted and the micro-sprinklers in place so they are watered, all I really have to do is watch and wait for harvest. No weeding, no muss no fuss. Just keep an eye out for insects, is all. I have them raised up on cinder blocks so they're easy to work with. I like that they're made of recycled plastic as well. I had 5, and the family bought me two more for Christmas.

I have a big raised garden bed and tried a controlled experiment last year, planting transplants on the same day into the Earth Boxes and the raised bed. I even used the same fertilizer and put down plastic mulch around the plants in the raised bed. The plants in the Earth Box were 'way bigger, bore earlier and produced side shoots weeks longer. I am a believer. That being said, our soil here is pretty much pure sand, and although I go to great lengths to enrich the raised bed with lots of compost, it's still not as good as potting medium. btw, I do re-use the potting soil in the Earth Boxes until it gets too bound up with roots.

The thing I really like about them is the controlled watering. I have timers on micro-drip heads to fill them up, and I set it so that they all just overflow a tiny bit, so there's virtually no wasted water. (I place a plant or bucket under the overflow to use the excess, too.) I have two big cisterns and collect rainwater to use on my edibles, but still don't have enough that I want to waste a drop. We go for long periods without rain here in the spring and fall, which are also the best times for growing veggies.

Picture shows my broccoli plants overflowing their Earth Box.


This message was edited Jan 27, 2012 11:47 AM

Thumbnail by dyzzypyxxy
Pilot Point, TX(Zone 7b)

Ah...Elaine... interesting comment about the sand in your area. Where we live -- N.Texas -- we also have sandy soil. It's an anomaly because a 30min drive and you'll find the darkest, black clay soil. It's a lot more work to have a successful garden in Texas. Geeez -- the bugs alone are scary enough. In SoCalif... where I grew up it was so easy. I have to spend a lot of time and $$ to amend my soil... I'm hoping that after a few more years I can back off on some of that.
Did you try those E-buckets that were quite the discussion here a couple of years ago..??.. They're created was using a 5gal bucket, a colander and some tubing -- I know 'gymgirl' uses them. I did try them... but I wasn't all that successful. I'll need to give them another try. I didn't do any garden last year -- my Mom who lived with us passed -- so it was just a weird year for me. I'm ready to get back to work... looking forward to doing some good gardening this year.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Sorry about your Mom. We just buried my dear MIL last Wednesday...

The broccoli in my pic above is growing in a 6.5 gallon bucket...

Tomorrow I'm hoping to finally get two 4x8 raised beds built. All the buckets will go away...

Pilot Point, TX(Zone 7b)

Ah... Elaine... sorry about your MIL. I know that dieing is part of living... but it's sad none-the-less.

I send out 'inspirations' -- they used to be daily before I retired... but now they're just when I find one that I consider 'exceptional'. The day after Mom passed I found the following...

"To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die". I do laser engraving... I engraved that inspiration on a large wood plank and have it displayed in my office. I find it comforting and like it being there as a reminder.


So tomorrow I'm going to get my e-buckets back into commission. I purchased a 'greenhouse' to put over all my citrus trees... that USED to be able to winter in our wood shop... but new toys [I mean tools] have taken over their space. I'm going to put the e-buckets in the greenhouse and see how they do.

Peralta, NM

Can someone tell me why my cauliflower is growing on the side instead of the middle. Thank you

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