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What is the reason for cauliflower heads to bolt even though they have had plenty of water

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Good question. Cauliflower is a tricky vegetable to mature in the summer garden.

In which state do you garden? If it very hot there, you may have limited success in any case.

Firstly, you are right to consider the amount of water. Cauliflower, to be it's biggest sweetest and mildest when it remains evenly moist through its entire seaon. It not only needs a lot of water, more than you might think, but also deep soil fertility and moisture, to a foot at least. Give them infrequent deep soakings rather than daily sprinkles. Mulch heavily, and consider running a drip irrigation hose and turning it on daily. This is the ideal option, as you may by this means keep the soil deeply moist.

After that, remember to harvest your cauliflower heads when they are white. Your home grown cauliflower is not usually going to be as big as the California giants you find in the store. So don't wait for them to get huge, meanwhile allowing them to bolt.

Another tip is to shade you plants. Old hands used to accomplish this by snaping -buy not severing the outer leaves, and bending them back over the heads just as they are budding up. I find it easiest to use floating row covers at the same stage. You may also use hoops and shade cloth. This shading procedure serves two purposes: Shade spares the plant from the stresses of heat and drought, and helps the flowerets blanche to a creamy crisp white.

Finally, if your climate permits, grow cauliflower and all the cabbage family vegetables in spring and fall - you'll have the best success then.

Keep us posted with your progress.


Matt Di Clemente, Brick, New Jersey

Thanks for the encouragement. I'm always glad to help a fellow gardener when I can!


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