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Who Wants Cauliflower With an Unsightly Tan?

September 23, 2000|U.C. MASTER GARDENERS

Question: I tried growing cauliflower last fall, but it turned a strange brown color. What did I do wrong?

A.C., Santa Ana

Answer: Chances are you didn't do anything wrong, but you did miss a crucial step during the cauliflower's growth.

To get a nice white head of cauliflower, you must blanch it, which refers to shading it from light.

When the head gets the size of a quarter, pull leaves from underneath up over the top of the head and secure them with a rubber band or a twist-tie. This will keep the sun from turning the head yellow or brown and affecting the taste.

In two to three weeks, you should have a nice, white 4- to 6-inch head.

Other tips for good cauliflower production include not planting until hot weather has passed.

Also keep in mind that it is a heavy feeder. Fertilize every two to three weeks with a well-balanced fertilizer. Water so the soil stays moist but not soggy.

Cauliflower can be grown by seed or transplants. Now is a good time to start seed.

Have a problem in your yard? University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners are here to help. These certified horticultural volunteers are dedicated to extending research-based, scientifically accurate information to the public about home horticulture and pest management. They are involved with a variety of outreach programs, including the UCCE Master Garden hotline, which provides answers to specific questions. You can reach the hotline at (714) 708-1646 or send e-mail to Calls and e-mail are picked up daily and are generally returned within two to three days.

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