Harvesting Cauliflower

I set out a few 65-day cauliflower plants this spring and the heads are now ~2-3" in diameter. They have been well fertilized with N and are getting at least an inch of water a week from the sky or the hose.
How do I know when they/re ready to cut? How well do they hold in the field once they reach maturity?
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TQ



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TQ wrote:

HI; I LIVE IN ZONE 5-6 St Louis MO area. I assume you have self blanch or you are covering your heads since they turn brown in the sun. A friend of mine let some of his get almost as big as a basketball....I think they were Snow Crown. They were still very tasty steamed. I am not real experienced with Cauliflower but I would say they should be fine until at least 7-8". If not educate me. I am growing a bunch of Brocciverde plants for the fall...cross Brox/Caul. I'll post results. Thanks Farmer Joe
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TQ wrote:

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I have not had any cauliflower that will hold past maturity at all. But I live in a warm climate. I tie up the heads as soon I see the buton ( beginning of a head). They usually reach full size in a bout a week. Check the larger heads at about 5 days and every other day there after. You should have a smooth curd. When they reach maturity, you will see formations like grains of rice, still edible not prime. Any further and the individual flower stems will began to seperate.They head fast and they tend be very uniform in heading. Size depends a lot on growing conditions. If they reach x size and quit growing, no point in waiting for them to grow more. Whatever they will do, they will do swiftly.
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I/ve read that the heads reach full size in 5-8 days after they/re about 2" in diameter. Thought it must have been a typo, but apparently not.
Thanks FarmerDill. Always great advice. Especially like the 'smooth curd' and 'grains of rice' descriptions.
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The crop...
http://img122.imageshack.us/img122/3746/00014276no.jpg
Had a little light leakage, but overall, good results for a 1st try. Cut them on day 60 after transplanting.
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