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How to Grow Cauliflower & Broccoli

By Sarah Terry ; Updated September 21, 2017
Cauliflower

Broccoli and cauliflower belong to the same vegetable family, which also includes brussel sprouts, turnips and cabbage. Because these vegetables are in the same family, they require the same growing conditions and care. Both vegetables, but especially broccoli, can be temperamental in the hot summer weather, often flowering and going to seed early. There are many different broccoli and cauliflower varieties that require different planting tecniques and mature at different times, so you’ll need to choose your varieties according to when you’d like to harvest the vegetables. Under the right growing conditions, you can enjoy weeks of harvesting your own broccoli and cauliflower heads.

Broccoli plant

Plant your broccoli and cauliflower plants in the spring, right after the last frost. Grow your plants about two feet apart in rows spaced three feet apart.

Water your cauliflower and broccoli plants deeply and evenly twice each week in the absence of rainfall. Don’t allow the soil to dry out, especially during the hottest part of the summer.

Remove weeds from around your cauliflower and broccoli plants by hoeing the weeds shallowly or pulling them by hand. Try not to loosen the soil too much or too deeply if you’re using a hoe.

Feed your newly planted broccoli and cauliflower plants with a starter fertilizer. Follow the dosage instructions on the label for vegetables. Then, spread a granular nitrogen fertilizer beside the rows of broccoli and cauliflower when the plants are about halfway grown.

Feed your plants with a foliar applied fertilizer during the summer. Follow the dosage instructions on the label for these vegetables.

Harvested broccoli head

Harvest your broccoli when the head develops completely but before the yellow flowers begin to open and the head starts to separate from the main stem. Begin harvesting your cauliflowers when they’re still smaller and the heads are still firm and the florets aren’t separating. Cut the broccoli and cauliflower heads with a sharp knife, leaving about 5 inches of stem attached to the heads.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Broccoli and cauliflower plants
  • Garden hose
  • Hoe
  • Starter fertilizer
  • Granular nitrogen fertilizer
  • Foliar-applied fertilizer
  • Knife
  • Derris (optional)

Tip

  • Practice crop rotation when you're growing broccoli and cauliflower in your garden to reduce the plants' susceptibility to diseases and pests. Don't plant your broccoli or cauliflower in the same area of your garden every year, but instead plant them in an area where plants or vegetables that aren't from the same family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips and Brussels sprouts) grew the prior year.

Warnings

  • Avoid watering the tops of the cauliflower and broccoli plants, because this will encourage them to flower and go to seed early.
  • Watch out for aphids and caterpillars infesting your broccoli and cauliflower plants. Spray the plants with Derris to get rid of aphids and caterpillars.

About the Author

 

Sarah Terry brings over 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.