The cauliflower that survived the winter

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This is a photo of the cauliflower I noticed in my garden yesterday. After three attempts at sowing seeds last spring-summer, I was able to plant at least ten seedlings by last autumn. Now, clearly at least one of them has overcome the dual challenge of wind and frost, so I do hope that this spring will be kind to it.
I’m not sure what I will do about trying to grow more cauliflowers in 2013 as they seem to be more effort than they are worth. On the other hand, I do find the leaves quite palatable and they are an expensive vegetable to buy.
Perhaps, ultimately, it will depend on how far I develop the new vegetable garden, where once the lawn (and dandelions) grew. In other words, will I have the room?

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About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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24 Responses to The cauliflower that survived the winter

  1. Great that one survived through the winter, but the colour does not look good. I find that caulies do well, but you have to cut them before they start turning colour. You can lean some leaves down over the head to protect it. I really think they are worth growing though.

    • Thanks for your feedback, Cath.
      I thought perhaps the colour was because of the frost?
      Whenever I try to cover the heads with leaves, the leaves unfurl themselves – any suggestions to keep them in place?

      • yes, maybe frost and rain, snap the leaves and cover!..but if you could cover them with a plastic cloche or similar. I never over wintered caulies though. Pick em when white and blanche and freeze!?!

  2. We haven’t tried growing cauliflower yet – I’d like to try it this year. Good to know they are so hardy!

    • I’m not sure how hardy cauliflowers are, Heidi. I will need to investigate the plants under fleece (rather than the cloche, where I found the one in the photo). A couple of years ago most of them turned to mush under fleece – that winter was much worse than this year, though.

      • Ooops, just saw this..I did plant mine in my tunnel and they were grand!

        • The cloche did unfortunately keep blowing off – even the sturdiest pegs couldn’t hold it down in some of the wildest conditions. However, the cauliflowers were actually seedlings at the onset of winter – the photo makes this one look quite big but it is in fact only about 1 cm across. So far I’ve never needed to freeze my cauliflowers as I’ve not produced enough. I think I need an allotment but haven’t got round to putting my name on the council list yet!
          Thanks for your comments, anyway, Cath. It is useful advice and they are prompting me to write down more info for future reference as well.

  3. Can you eat the leaves? I’ve never heard of it but I’m wondering how it they would taste??

    • Yes, the leaves are perfectly edible. So the cauliflower is quite an economical plant to grow. Not sure how to describe the taste except that they are like cabbage. I like them more than broccoli leaves, though I will eat the latter, too.

  4. PJ says:

    I’m a fairly lazy gardener and so I don’t like to expend more energy than necessary… I like cauliflower but I’m not sure I’d look after it well enough! As for room – there never seems to be enough!

  5. I have been thinking of expanding my garden. Thinking and doing are two different things however. I’d have to have a long, somewhat dry Spring to accomplish it. Our dry Springtime here seems to last one week and the rest of it rains continually. I didn’t know you could eat cabbage leaves! That’s a new one on me! I took a peek today at my garden thinking I might have some parsley but it looked like the Jolly Green Giant sat on my garden! Hopefully something will grow back. (We did have an ice/rain today so maybe that was the reason.)

    • Marcella, I thought my climate was anti- gardener enough. I guess you just have to go with what works for you.
      Was having a chat to some of my neighbours yesterday about what they can grow (flowers as well as vegetables). Being neighbours, you’d think we could grow the same stuff, wouldn’t you? But oh no, seems we have different soil and different micro-climates from each other all the same!

      • Ha! No kidding! I’m guessing your neighbors don’t live that far away from you? My neighbors on my side of the street aren’t into growing anything (except maybe weeds). Across the street however, I have a couple of neighbors who grow lovely, large flowers and a beautiful flowering bush with white flowers. I liked it so much that I bought one for myself. Unfortunately, mine only flowers for a couple of weeks while theirs flowers more than a month. They must have a different strain. Talking about micro-climates though, I always say that my subdivision is in a different climate zone because our weather is different than everybody else! OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it IS different because we tend to get more snow or at least it seems that way. Maybe it is the way the wind blows which pushes the snow in our direction. Also, we live just above I-75 which is the strange dividing line between weather systems. There is no exaggeration in that; the weather forecasters talk about that all the time. I guess there has to be a dividing line somewhere otherwise we’d all have the same weather at the same time! ; – )

        • Yes, there has to be a dividing line somewhere, though I’d have thought the climate would have changed subtly along a continuun?! Mind you, the temperature on my drive is invariably half a degree up or down from that on the road round the corner just a few hundred yards away.
          Anyway, the neighbours’ gardens I was referring to are in other streets, so far enough away if I think about it to have different soil. Plus, builders might have added more rubble and what-not to various patches of ground as they built the estate. I am sure that could affect PH values and such like.

    • Oops! I meant to say Cauliflower leaves! lol!

  6. Bridget says:

    I have always found Cauliflowers difficult to grow. I’ve given up on them and concentrate on crops that do well for me.
    Bridget x.

    • Bridget, thanks very much for your comment. For some reason, it was sent to my spam folder and I have only just picked it up now!
      Anyway, it does make sense to grow what works in your garden. I think in my case, cauliflowers do work but not with the freck weather we’ve had over the last twelve months. A local organic farm recently made an announcement that it has no vegetables to sell until this July because of the problems we’ve had. So, fingers crossed that once the current snow has gone, this will be the last of the difficulties.

  7. I too had no luck with cauliflower. I grew giant plants but not a sprig of actual cauliflower in sight. I am not sure what happened or if I will try again. pretty cool that it survived the winter!

  8. pobept says:

    I don’t think cauliflower likes you very much, grin, maybe your a cabbage or broccoli person
    Happy spring gardening

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