Hamilton College Community Farm

Plant: Cauliflower

Family: Brassica

Seed Varieties Dates to Maturity:

  • Snow Crown - This is a spring variety of standard cauliflower.
  • White Phoenix - This is a fall variety of standard cauliflower.
Indoor Start Date and Cell Size:

Spring succession - 3/10 in open 200s

Fall succession - 7/15 in open 200s

Greenhouse Transplant Date and Cell Size:

Spring succession - 3/25 into 38s

Fall succession - 7/30 into 38s

Outdoor Transplant Date and Bed Specifications:

Can be planted outside as soon as soil can be worked (early April), but at least one month after initial planting (4/9, 8/14). Plant every four feet within a row with three rows per bed or only two rows if the beds are tight. Spacing has a lot to do with how large the heads will get.

Planting Tips:

When transplanting outside bury plant up to first true leaves. This will cover the cotyledons, but will save the plant energy. If not planted deeply, the weight of the leaves will cause the plant to fall over and while it will still grow, it wastes time and energy.

Plant Needs:

It is easy to let the weeds take over all the brassicas while busy with the rest of spring planting but try and stay on top of the weeds early on. When the plants get bigger, they will shade out the weeds and will produce bigger heads without the competition.

Cultivation Techniques:

Stirrup or collinear hoes work great early on but at some point it will be necessary to switch to hand weeding when the plants are big enough

Pests and Pest Control:

The biggest troubles have been with slugs. Keeping weeds down helps tremendously as well as not planting near the edge of the tilled area by the fence. Another problem is the imported cabbageworm moth. This is a white moth that lays eggs on the brassicas, which hatch small little green ‘loopers’ or caterpillars. Using row cover until the plants are too big is the best solution but do not forget to check on the weeds under the row cover.

Harvest Techniques:

Use either the large blue-handled knives or the smaller red-handled serrated knives to cut off just below the head. Leave a few leaves around the head for looks.


As usual, harvest early and cool quickly. Wash and store in a perforated bag in a lug.


Sold as a head for $2.00, if it is of good quality, but less if not. For wholesale, sell at $1.00 per pound.

Companion Planting:

Cauliflower can be planted with aromatic plants.