The Problems with Growing Cauliflower

in #gardening4 years ago

Out of all the cole crops, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts are the most challenging for me to grow organically. I’ll talk about Brussel sprouts later. My problem with cauliflower is primarily caused by insect infestation. Moths just seem to love laying their eggs at the base of cauliflower plants and by the time June arrives I usually have a real problem on my hands. Slugs can be another problem. I have begun using neem this year which seems to be working well on my broccoli so maybe it will protect my next crop of cauliflower.

Even with the insect problems however I was able to harvest two average size heads and one small head this year.



My last one however was so infested it had to go into the compost pile unfortunately. The trick for me is getting them in the ground as early as possible to try and beat the bugs. I have also had success planting in the middle of the summer for a fall crop. It is a battle protecting them in the summer but if they make it I find the insects to be much less of a problem once the cool weather comes in the fall. This allows the plants to form nice heads without infestation problems at harvest time.

This year I have several plants in my basement growing under lights. I will plant them the first half of August in the hope of having a decent crop in October or November.


One suggestion I do have as the head is forming is to break a big leaf off from the bottom of the plant and use it to cover the developing cauliflower. This will help keep the cauliflower nice and white.


If there are any organic cauliflower growers out there please share your experiences with this difficult crop and let me know if you have problems also. Thanks for reading.


Companion planting, Diversity of neighboring plants, And utilizing Chilli Pepper, Peppermint, Oregano, Mint and a little doctor bronners organic soap and water and spraying the plants as soon as they get in the ground, will deter many many pests.

I use the same trick with a leaf to protect the flowers as well :]
Followed. Look forward to your future posts.

Thanks for the tip.

There is gonna be a lot of bugs 🐜 to kill if we wanna feed the world with brusselsprouts
Killingfields so to say gonna be hard for a vegan to eat brusselsprouts anymore

Brussel Sprouts will be the subject of a future post. They are another challenge for me.

Ahhh its cauliflower I thought we where talking brusselsprouts sorry
When are you talking brusselsprouts (I want to make a note in my calendar )
Because I'm much more into brusselsprouts than cauliflower you now in 2017 it's just more the small cute brusselsprouts than the big cauliflower don't you think so too

I didn't realize brusselsprouts were a new fad lol. But I'll go along with that. Can't beat roasted brussel sprouts in olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper.

I'll do a post on them later in August when I start havesting.

Thank you so much
The issue of my first comment was
The high casualties in insect live when you are growing cauliflower organic
Is the vegan community aware that they are the reason of this bloodbath among this scientificly very interesting group of animals
You now vegans have a big problem with killing animals
So what can be the solution to this kind of massiv catastrophe

maybe vegans should stop to eat cauliflower

maybe we could handpick the insects and bring them into a safe zone

Conclusion must be that we have to inform all vegans about the problems with growing vegetables and true believers of vegan lifestyle must react to the problem accordingly reduce or eliminate the consumption of vegetables

Thank you so much for your help if you have further information about this problem please publish all data to the vegan community

Never tried growing cauliflower , do you have yours in full sun?

Yes full sun is important for most things but partial shade is good for lettuce in the summer

I've grown some good no-additives cauliflower in past years. The key for me has been cauliflower that has never seen stress. It seems like cauliflower will form a head way too early and small, if they have been stressed in any way.

Like cabbage looper and slug stress.

That will do it, too. I can keep the loopers and slugs at bay, usually. For me, it's heat and not watering enough. I look at the leaves for looper eggs and just wipe them off. That cuts down the problem really fast.

Some of the best cauliflower I've ever grown is in the fall but that doesn't always work out either. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this year.

Good luck with your cauliflower! Fall gardens can be the easiest gardens. I'm putting in corn in the next week or so, here in western Oregon. People think it's too late, but I don't get any ear worms or other insect damage at all. I just use a short-season variety and it gets moving to finish its business before the day-length gets too short.

I'm going to try snow peas for the fall. Probably plant tomorrow.

It's nice that we can grow so many things in a fall garden. Happy planting!

It is very difficult to grow brassicas in Texas... at least it has been for me. Keep growing!

Thanks I'll keep trying with cauliflower. Still picking broccoli. Maybe you should plant your brassicas in September and pick them for the holidays.

Nice post! Up-voted and followed! Check out our recent post on aquaponics, we all got to support the gardening community!

Thanks I'll check it out.

The problem with cow flower is it is for the cows. ;)

That's a possibility.

I love cauliflower on a veggie platter. Best of luck with your plants this year!

Thanks. Hopeful for a good fall harvest.

My mother would cover her cauliflower with pantyhose.

haha that's great!

I grew nice cauliflower last year but didn't get to eat it because it was so infested with bugs! Yuck!

Sounds like my problem

There is a Bt that is specific for moth and butterfly caterpillars which is what I use in the organic garden I manage. The one I use can be used up to the day of harvest. And it is fairly effective if you spray regularly. They eat the bacteria that you've applied to the plant, stop feeding soon after, and die. Pretty safe biocontrol that doesn't really have much negative impact on people since it's a bacteria specific to moth and butterfly caterpillars .

I've used the bt for cabbage worms and other natural products as well. It's usually somewhat effective but you need to stay on top of it when it rains. I've been using Neem and Sal Suds mixture lately and getting good results.

I just take all the leaves and tie them up to cover the head of the cauliflower. I also put a little dish of beer on ground among my plants to attract the pests that are eating my cabbage and cauliflower.

I know beer attracts slugs but I didn't realize it is effective for other pests.

I have caught a bunch of other bugs, now I use, nothing but the best, good ole Canadian.

What are your thoughts on BHT?