Cauliflower - one of the species of cabbage plants belonging to the genus Brassica of the cabbage family. Her homeland is the eastern Mediterranean. It is considered an annual plant, it is grown for the sake of obtaining heads - the productive part, consisting of numerous branched flowering shoots-heads of cabbage.
Cauliflower has high taste and useful properties, for which it is appreciated by many gardeners. She ripened early, so I get her consistently high yields on the site for a long time, sowing seeds at different times and using growing. Moreover, he began to grow this crop already in the early 60s, shortly after receiving the site.
At that time, cauliflower was hardly known to anyone, so I, apparently, was one of the first in the Leningrad region who began to master its agricultural technology.
In the beginning, I was constantly pursued by various failures, it turned out to be not as simple a culture as ordinary cabbage. More than once I gave myself my word: I will not deal with cauliflower anymore, but after a while I again sowed seeds for seedlings, having previously studied the literature (of which there was very little at that time). And then one day, having successfully grown the harvest and having tasted dishes made from this cabbage prepared according to my recipes, I still do not stop practicing this culture. For my family, I grow 10-15 pieces of cauliflower plants at different times in the spring, summer and autumn seasons.
I know more than fifty recipes for preparing various dishes from this tasty and healthy vegetable, but the most beloved in our family is the following: We cut the cauliflower head into comfortable, even bunches and boil in salted water for 17 minutes with the lid open, as usual, and then put it on plate. There is no secret in this.
The main secret - the taste of this dish lies in the preparation of sprinkling of numbered bouquets. To do this, we take bread crumbs, and if they are not there, then flour or semolina will do, and bring them in a dry frying pan over the fire to your favorite color (each has its own taste), preferably golden or a little darker. Then quickly remove the pan from the heat, so as not to overheat, and immediately throw them on a dry plate and reduce the temperature of the breadcrumbs to 60 ° C. Then put butter (Vologda) butter in a plate (amount to taste). It will melt slowly with gentle stirring while retaining its delicate flavor. Then we sprinkle these crackers, soaked in aromatic butter, on the cabbage bunches-bunches prepared in advance. That's the whole secret!
Alternatively, you can add chopped toasted walnuts or any other nuts to this bedding.
I am sure that any gourmet will like such a dish. I hope that with my example I can captivate those who have not yet tried growing cauliflower, and they will get down to business, overcoming all the difficulties of this culture.
It would seem that today this is not a problem - I went and bought cabbage in a store or in the market, cooked it and eat it. But it will still be wrong. It is important to grow it yourself in compliance with all agricultural practices, then it will be three times tastier and healthier.
Nowadays, there are many different varieties of cauliflower on sale from various suppliers, including those from Holland. In appearance, the heads of this cabbage are of high quality, in taste - I don’t know, I haven’t tried it. I sometimes buy a head of Dutch cauliflower to grow seeds from on my plot, and then harvest the cauliflower the next year.
I buy the head without the slightest signs of disease, healthy appearance, snow-white color, without any dark spots.
Growing cauliflower much more difficult than, say, white cabbage. It is more demanding for a constant temperature, especially during the period of head formation. With the slightest, even seemingly imperceptible deviation, this will immediately negatively affect the size of the future head and its quality. Also, a lot depends on the moisture in the soil and on the humidity of the air, on the fertility of the soil, its composition, fertilizers and microelements and their quantity. The illumination and the length of daylight hours are also significant for her.
Before proceeding with the cultivation of the future harvest of cauliflower, you should decide on the variety, think it over and choose the most suitable place for it. Only in this case, you can count on a good harvest. For example, over the years of cultivating this crop, I have tested many different varieties of cauliflower, but I stopped my choice on two - Movir-74 and Garantia. For more than a decade, they have taken their place in my beds.
Both varieties have an early ripening period, with amicable ripening, 70-98 days after germination, the weight of mature heads is up to 1.3 kg. The total yield of these varieties is up to 4 kg per m². These varieties are similar, but they also have differences, which must be taken into account in order not to reduce the yield. For example, the Movir-74 variety is cold-resistant and heat-resistant, responsive to watering. Variety Guarantee is intended for open ground in the spring-summer period and for growing under film shelters. Both varieties have excellent taste. The best way to water them is by sprinkling. Of course, every gardener can decide for himself which varieties are best for him - the choice is now large.
To get an early harvest of cauliflower with good heads, I use potting seedlings, at a later time, you can sow directly on the garden.
Potted seedlings have significant advantages: when transplanted to a permanent place with four to five leaves, the roots are completely preserved, which means that it takes root well and quickly in a new place, does not delay development. Long-term practice has shown that it is most advisable to grow cauliflower in three terms. I sow its seeds for seedlings in early April, then again at the end of April and a third time at the end of May. I grow potted seedlings in a cold greenhouse.
Before sowing cauliflower seeds, I prepare them as follows:
- I calibrate them by size, choosing the largest seeds, this allows in the future to increase the yield of heads by 30%;
- I disinfect them in a solution of garlic (one part of garlic juice in three parts of water - for 1 hour), before cooking, the seeds can also be warmed up for 20 minutes in water at a temperature of 50 ° C;
- I soak the seeds in a solution of trace elements for 6-8 hours (for 100 g of water I take 0.3 g of boric acid, 0.05 g of potassium permanganate and 0.3 g of molybdate).
All these measures increase the resistance of plants to diseases, increase productivity, and improve the quality of heads.
After the prepared and disinfected cauliflower seeds are placed in a container with soil to a depth of no more than one centimeter, on top I fill them with clean, dry river sand with a layer of up to 0.5 cm. This is necessary to protect against the disease "black leg" and other diseases.
For seed germination, temperatures up to 25 ° C are needed day and night. With the emergence of seedlings for 7 days, I provide them with a daylight hours of 12-16 hours, using, if necessary, backlighting with fluorescent lamps, and the temperature during this period should be 8-12 ° C during the day, and 4-6 ° C at night (I use a refrigerator, where the temperature about + 6 ° C).
After seven days have passed, I start picking seedlings, at the same time rejecting damaged, frail or diseased plants. At the same time, I transplant the seedlings into larger boxes, for example, in 0.5-liter sour cream packages. After that, I take the seedlings to the growing area in a prepared greenhouse with double walls of film. So that the double layers of the film do not stick together, I sew foam blocks between them in different places with fishing line.
The main thing here is to prevent the cauliflower seedlings from being exposed to frost at a young age. In this case, they will either die, or receive such stress, which will then affect the quality of the heads: they will grow prematurely.
I prepare the soil for growing cauliflower in the fall. The best predecessors for her are beets or potatoes (by the way, cabbage, in turn, heals the soil from late blight). I cultivate the soil in the garden to a depth of 10 cm, no more, while adding bleach dry lime - 100-150 g per 1 m², half the rate of potassium and phosphorus and organic humus compost (preferably without manure) up to five buckets per 1 m². Poplar leaves give good results.
When preparing, I shovel them several times with earth, lime or baking soda. Poplar leaves are valuable organic matter for cauliflower and gladioli, but in the fall in city yards they lie underfoot in a layer. It should be borne in mind that when growing, cauliflower plants are especially demanding to provide sufficient nutrition at a young age, from the beginning of leaf formation. Indeed, only with a favorable beginning of the development of the leaves will a dense head form, because there is a certain connection between them. Then the heads will not crumble and darken for a long time.
When a high-quality and healthy rosette of leaves forms on the plants - in mid-early varieties from 9 to 12 pieces - cauliflower heads begin to form, and its yield will now depend on the number of subsequent days with favorable conditions. If we learn to create these conditions through timely agricultural practices, then we will thereby ensure a reliable harvest. For example, the air temperature has risen above 18 ° C. In this case, watering the cauliflower plant by sprinkling will lower the ambient temperature, increase its humidity, improve plant respiration, and hence the growth of green mass and the outflow of nutrients into the heads.
It is necessary to monitor the temperature of the soil, there must be a thermometer in it. The temperature of the ground where the roots of cauliflower are located, preferably not higher than + 12 ° C. I water the plants with water from a well, the water in which is not higher than + 7 ° C. While you are pouring it into a watering can, while carrying it to the cabbage, it heats up to + 10 ° С. I pour the water under the root.
Cauliflower is a moisture-loving plant in a temperate climate, requiring increased (but not excessive) moisture in the soil and the environment. With excessive humidity, for example, if it rains for a long time, and with prolonged exposure to low temperatures (10 ° C during the day and about 0 ° C at night), it stops the growth of the leaves of the rosette, and they become purple in color. The same phenomenon occurs at normal temperatures, but with a lack of phosphorus nutrition in the soil. It should also be remembered that with a lack of trace elements in the soil, the heads begin to darken.
I do not huddle cauliflower, it injures its root system. I replaced this agricultural practice with a repeated addition of the nutrient mixture over the season, in a layer of up to 3 cm.
I wish all gardeners to master the cultivation of this useful in all respects culture and not be afraid of the difficulties associated with this. And then the cauliflower will delight you with a generous harvest.
A. Malyukov, gardener
On April 6, in the building of the administration of the Frunzensky district of St. Petersburg, a group of war veterans was honored. Among others, the jubilee medal "60 years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War" and a valuable gift from the governor of the city were presented to the author of our magazine, Alexander Izmailovich Malyukov.
We sincerely congratulate the veteran of war and labor on this award and the anniversary of Victory and wish him and all those who defended the country in those harsh years good health and prosperity!
The methods of growing cauliflower are divided into seedling and non-seedling, with the latter method the vegetable is cultivated mainly in the south (Kuban, in the Rostov, Astrakhan regions), in the Urals, in Siberia - cabbage is planted in a seedling way. Cultivation of cabbage seedlings is similar to cultivation of ordinary white cabbage, but there are some peculiarities that need to be taken into account. A good cabbage will grow if you observe the terms of planting in open ground:
In the middle lane, cultivation begins with sowing seeds for seedlings in the first week of March and lasts until the end of the month (for early varieties and hybrids), mid-season cabbage is sown throughout April, late varieties are best sown after May 10-15. For harvesting throughout the summer, it is recommended to grow several varieties with different ripeness periods, then tasty and healthy vitamins can be consumed for a long time.
Cauliflower is characterized by the setting of a head of cabbage already at the seedling stage; when growing, it is necessary to properly water, feed and regulate the temperature regime. Observing the correct agricultural techniques, cabbage heads will begin to form at temperatures above 19-20 ° C, less than 12 ° C - will lead to slower growth of seedlings.
Successful cultivation of seedlings involves feeding. For the first time, the plants are fertilized two weeks after the pick with the following composition: 10 g of urea, 2 tsp. potassium chloride, half a tablespoon of superphosphate with the addition of copper sulfate and manganese sulfate at the tip of a knife, all ingredients are diluted in a bucket of water.
The second feeding of cauliflower seedlings is carried out a week after the primary mineral solution: 4 tsp. ammonium nitrate, ½ tbsp. potassium chloride, a tablespoon with a slide of superphosphate, 2 grams of potassium permanganate and the same amount of copper sulfate, all components are taken at the rate of ten liters of water.
The third stage of dressing is carried out before planting on the beds - 0.5 tbsp is taken. ammonium nitrate, a tablespoon of potassium chloride, 50 g of superphosphate with the addition of trace elements in the same proportions.
When cabbage seedlings have three or four true leaves, a mandatory spraying with ammonium molybdate is carried out (1 g per 5 l of water). Molybdenum superphosphate (5 g / m2) must be applied before planting in open ground. According to experienced gardeners, this approach with the use of mineral complexes during cultivation ensures an early harvest of excellent quality.
After the cabbage seedlings have taken root and started growing, they need regular feeding. In the initial period of growth, cabbage builds up its leaf mass. This means that she needs, first of all, a lot of nitrogen. Nitrogen in an accessible form is found in any organic matter, herbal infusions. It is important not to use strong concentrates of such fertilizer mixtures when feeding. Let the feeding be frequent, once every 7-10 days, but weak.
Fertilizing cabbage is combined with watering. With dry soil in the beds, first spill the root zone of cabbage plants, and then apply fertilizer liquid mixtures.
What fertilizers should be used for leaf growth?
Extract from poultry droppings, mullein, herbal infusions with the addition of yeast, ash are the most useful for cabbage during the growth period. But specialized fertilizing with mineral fertilizers for cabbage should also be used. There are various organo-mineral fertilizer mixtures for cabbage crops that contain both.
How to feed cabbage in rainy weather?
With the onset of long cold weather with frequent rains, you should not feed the cabbage with liquid mixtures. Cabbage loves moisture, but waterlogging for it can lead to disease.In addition, in waterlogged soil, the roots experience oxygen starvation and cannot absorb the proposed food.
The way out at such a time is the use of granular fertilizers, alternating them with adding humus, vermicompost to the root zone.
With weak growth, you can use fast-acting urea (carbamide), it contains a lot of nitrogen.
Do not forget that in wet weather they actively "work" with young leaves of slugs. Mulch should not be used at this time.
How often should cabbage be watered at the beginning of growth?
Cabbage is a moisture-loving crop. But during the period of initial growth, it is watered moderately, allowing the surface layer of the soil to dry out.
For better watering, a ring-shaped groove is made around the plants and watered over it. This increases the area for further root growth.
After watering the next day, the soil is loosened and huddled around the stem, again making a groove for the next watering, until the leaves of neighboring plants close.
Why is it necessary to loosen cabbage often?
In the initial period of growth, cabbage has weak roots, which grow simultaneously with the aboveground leaf mass. And loosening promotes better air exchange. In addition, with frequent loosening, pests (cabbage fly, slugs, scoop, etc.) cannot "settle down" at the root zone. Simultaneously with loosening, it is necessary to huddle the trunk of the cabbage.
Hilling promotes better root formation. Varieties with a long stem should be hilled gradually. When hilling, it is not necessary to fill up the lower leaves: in moist soil they will rot, increasing the risk of developing pathogens.
Despite its capriciousness, cauliflower can be grown in unprotected outdoor conditions. In this case, it is allowed to use the following varieties:
Start growing seedlings mid-season and late varieties for the first harvest cauliflower falls in the second half of March - from the 10th to the 20th. The second time the seeds are sown from April 10 to May 10.
In open ground, seedlings of mid-season varieties are allowed to be planted in the second half of May - at 10-20 days. Late varieties are planted in the beds in the last decade of May and until mid-June. To obtain the third harvest for the season, seeds of late varieties are sown from May 25 to June 10. In the garden, seedlings are planted in the first decade of July - from 1 to 10.
Speaking about planting cauliflower in the garden in May, it is necessary to clarify the ambient temperature. If the spring is cold and the temperature during the day does not rise above + 15 ° C, it is better to postpone the planting of the vegetable in open ground, or at least leave the seedlings under the film.
This rule cannot be neglected, as cauliflower planted in cold weather will quickly release arrows, begin to bloom and form seeds. The formation of a full-fledged head in this case is impossible. To get a good harvest, it is recommended to combine cauliflower crops with dill, radishes, salad crops. It is better to plant adjacent crops in the middle of the row spacing, through one row.
Again, let's pay attention to the fact that cabbage is still a "water lover" in the world of plants. However, how often you water your cabbage depends on the amount of rainfall.
In "normal mode" the irrigation scheme is as follows:
Particular attention should be paid to watering in the phase of forks formation (in June for early varieties, in August for late-ripening varieties).
If there are prolonged rains in the summer, it is necessary to limit the consumption of cabbage water in order to prevent the heads from cracking. To do this, the roots are slightly pruned with a shovel.
In dry weather, at least 10 liters of water are poured under the plant. In particularly hot weather, several buckets may be needed for watering. However, if during a drought you did not water the cabbage for a long time, you should not immediately pour a large amount of water under the plants - the heads of cabbage will crack. Increase watering gradually.
For more information about the norms of watering cabbage, depending on the type, look in the table: