cauliflower

I've got a few cauliflower plants. One set are in a big pot and they are huge I think. At least the leaves are. None of them have cauli- flower growing on them though. I've been reading that they become unproductive by the time summer gets around.
Is there anything that I can do to get the actual cauliflower going? I've read on one site that administering nitrogen is a good thing. So I have some left over fish emulsion that seems heavy in nitrogen.
Thanks in advance for any and all replies/comments.
Also, one other question. If I do start to see a head, I've read that I should tie up some leaves around the head... and there's mention of blanching. Is tying up the head in leaves considered blanching? This is my first time trying to grow cauliflower and I need to find a way to get this thing to grow a cauliflower head. Thanks!
Most of my tomatoes are doing great! Just awesome! Took a year to get some, and it sure does feel good to see some tomatoes! And they taste truly awesome as well. Nothing compares!
--
Jim Carlock
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From your tomato commenst you must be somewhere warmer than here (Scotland). I've alwasy thought brassicas preferred cool northern climates ?
Here, in a cool damp climate, a spring sowing of cauliflower doesn't flower until August. They're grown in the garden not pots, because they like cool, rather compacted soil ...ideally, a bed which was well fertilised and dug for its previous crop. In good soil I don't give the caulis any extra fertiliser or they make too much leaf, and then become very top-heavy as the flower head develops ( it's called the "curd".

Yes. When the head starts to form it's just about the size of a golf ball, but they grow fast. When it reaches tennisball size, cut some for immediate use (steamed whole). On the remaining crop, I just fold and crease two leaves, which are still attached, across the top of the curd, and thread a little twig or toothpick through them to hold them in place. This keeps the curd pale creamy white. If you don't do it some varieties develop a faintly pink or violet colour...just as good to eat but less aesthetic on the plate. Keep a close eye on the developing curds at this stage as you want to eat them while it's still a tight firm head, before they start to open out looser into proper flowers.
Caterpillars love the leaves....keep an eye out for geometric patches of tiny butterfly eggs on the undersides of leaves, and tear the patch out before they hatch into plant gobblers . A drench of salt water will remove any caterpillars which make it to full size and deter slugs, and won't hurt the cabbages at all (brassicas are adapted to coastal conditions).
Cauliflowers are rather like sweetcorn. Cut fresh a few minutes before cooking, they are far tenderer and tastier than ones bought from a shop, and need less cooking time.
Janet
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Thanks for all the wonderful information, Janet.
You mentioned location. I am in St. Pete., Florida. Yeah, a coastal city. And it is starting to get warm. The nights are still cool off and on, and are probably about in the 60's F right now. The days about mid-70s.
The cauliflower I have in the pot are very very leaf-heavy. They look magnificent. The ones in the sand/soil (I've only worked it for it a year now, so it's not as nutritious as the soil in the pot, but I've had success with basil and cucumbers and lemon balm and the sand is getting better at being healthy. I've been doing this slowly because last year I tried the magic miracle fertilizers and pretty much killed everything I tried to grow. <g> No more of that stuff! I love what I'm seeing by chopping up dead leaves and mixing them in with the sand (soil). Banana peels seem to help the sand alot along with coffee grounds and used up tea from tea bags.
The cauliflower in the ground is small and younger than the cauliflower in the pot. I think I started the cauliflower in the pot about November of last year. It really looks like a healthy plant. But keep in mind that I'm totally new at this and I don't have a clue. The leaves are about 9 inches long, 6 inches wide and their are two or three cauliflowers clumped together in the pot all on one side of the pot.
Some of the plants in the ground are being eaten badly by something. Maybe snails. There are alot of snails over there. I'll have to chop up some more egg shells and work them into the soily sand there I think. I'll try the salt water. Thanks for that tip!
There are some moths and butterflies flying around, not many yet. And I did find some caterpillars messing a tomato plant. I think the butterfly season is going to come more in June and July based upon what I seen last year.
-- Jim Carlock Please post replies to newsgroup.
The message from "Jim Carlock" contains these words:

From your tomato commenst you must be somewhere warmer than here (Scotland). I've alwasy thought brassicas preferred cool northern climates ?
Here, in a cool damp climate, a spring sowing of cauliflower doesn't flower until August. They're grown in the garden not pots, because they like cool, rather compacted soil ...ideally, a bed which was well fertilised and dug for its previous crop. In good soil I don't give the caulis any extra fertiliser or they make too much leaf, and then become very top-heavy as the flower head develops ( it's called the "curd".

Yes. When the head starts to form it's just about the size of a golf ball, but they grow fast. When it reaches tennisball size, cut some for immediate use (steamed whole). On the remaining crop, I just fold and crease two leaves, which are still attached, across the top of the curd, and thread a little twig or toothpick through them to hold them in place. This keeps the curd pale creamy white. If you don't do it some varieties develop a faintly pink or violet colour...just as good to eat but less aesthetic on the plate. Keep a close eye on the developing curds at this stage as you want to eat them while it's still a tight firm head, before they start to open out looser into proper flowers.
Caterpillars love the leaves....keep an eye out for geometric patches of tiny butterfly eggs on the undersides of leaves, and tear the patch out before they hatch into plant gobblers . A drench of salt water will remove any caterpillars which make it to full size and deter slugs, and won't hurt the cabbages at all (brassicas are adapted to coastal conditions).
Cauliflowers are rather like sweetcorn. Cut fresh a few minutes before cooking, they are far tenderer and tastier than ones bought from a shop, and need less cooking time.
Janet
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What month is spring? My cauliflower is in a fairly big pot, and it looks like it's gotten too much fertilizer or something, because the leaves are fairly big compared to the other cauliflower I have in the ground. I'll post a pic or more of the cauliflower in the alt.binaries.pictures.gardens group. I think it's cauliflower leaves. <g>
-- Jim Carlock Please post replies to newsgroup.
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Some time between January and June.
Janet (Scotland)
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