Overwintering Caul

Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)February 16, 2013

I thought some of you might find this interesting. If your winter temps don't drop much below 15ú, you might be able to grow cauliflower to fill a market slot very few growers compete with. I have about 14 varieties i'm trialling that were all seeded the 27th of July. The first should start heading this month, the last variety should finish up by May. If i'm lucky, there should be about 50-100 lbs each week for that time.
-Mark


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cowpie51

Looks good.
You will get a lot of wonderful organic matter with all of them huge outer leaves also.
I did not realize that Cauliflower was so Winter hardy, Guess I will try some for late fall pickings next season. I usually transplant it in mid April for mid-late June pickings.
Mark

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 4:04PM
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myfamilysfarm

I get way to many 15 or below days, but I don't blame you for trying. That's how we learn is by doing.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 5:05PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

Not sure what you mean by "blame me for trying". This is the 12th year i've been doing this, I think it's a fairly sure deal.
Last year I harvested about 600lbs and I'm now at the point of trialling varieties for one of the only seed companies that sells it.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 5:39PM
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randy41_1

very nice. the leaves are a lot like collards. i'm interested in the trial results but i doubt those results would translate well to a different climate. not an easy one to grow.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 6:00PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I have seen these in the Osborne Seed Company seed catalog. I always wondered about them. They wouldn't work in our climate outside. I wonder if they would overwinter in a high tunnel or low tunnels.

There are no heads on them now is there? They will start to head up in the early spring? When did you plant them?

Very interesting, I would really like to learn more.

Jay

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 12:24AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

Jay, read my first post for some answers to your questions.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 2:28AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Mark,

Sorry I missed that. I guess I should have went to bed instead of reading!

I have "Over Summered" some purple cauliflower several years ago. I got started too late in the spring and then grasshoppers ate down all the leaves to nothing. Around August, we got some rain and they started to take off again. Then they produced and I harvested them for Thanksgiving. They looked very funny. Imagine a 1 to 2 foot tall coconut tree with a head of Cauliflower on top.

Do you have any aphid or other bug problems in the spring?

Jay

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 9:42AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

That thanksgiving cauli sounds great, like a Dr. Seuss vegetable.

I normally don't have any problems with aphids until august, and cabbage worm also isn't a problem in the spring here.
Field mice eating the roots and too much rain while the heads are forming are the only issues i've had. Planting different maturing varieties helps with the later.

I think with some protection, it can be grown in most parts of the country where Kale will overwinter.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 12:10PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Maybe this would be something I could try in one of my movable tunnels. I could protect it all winter then move the building off in the early spring. I may have to think about it.

Here is what the purple and white cauliflower looked like that year. We also had good fall broccoli that year. It was 2010, since then it has been hard to grow fall cauliflower and broccoli.

Jay

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 2:11PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Yes very hard to grow!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 2:29PM
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myfamilysfarm

Sorry, I thought maybe it was a first time try. I like to try things that aren't normally done around here. Sometimes it works and sometimes not, but I do learn from my experiments.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 5:54PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

No problem. If I ever invest that many plants and that much space to a first time try, please punch me.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 8:19PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Cauliflower may not even overwinter here in a high tunnel and it is very hard to get two crops, one is even a problem with all the leafminers I have now. I will be planting 1 month old seedlings on 4/19 and 6/14. Yes June! Planting in July isn't early enough. I did an OP Romanesco last year that I got one small head off out of all of them. I am back to a hybrid Romanesco and Grafitti, also trying Amazing which I hear good things about.
I have decided I am putting the shade cover I bought over the broc, cab, and caul from 6/1 to 8/15 and then to spinach and lettuce. Plus the brassicas will have the white plastic. Maybe it will finally be a good year for them (it has been bad since 2009).

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 8:23PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

Just to clarity, the plants I have pictured were not planted for a fall harvest. They are very hardy varieties, grow all fall and winter, and only head once in the late winter/early spring.
Just like yours minni, my fall cauliflower is seeded in June, and is also very difficult to grow due to heat stress and bug issues.
I think if you can cover it all, the shade cloth idea is a good one. I found that cauliflower really likes overhead irrigation and stresses more on drip. I only wish I had more water available.
-Mark

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 8:51PM
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tulsacityfarmer(6)

Thanks for the post. I'm a 6b zone and it can drop some winters here -10, then we get a winter like this one and 18 is the lowest it got. They would take up too much space in a green house. But in low tunnels only covered at temp dips, might be something to try!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 8:56AM
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myfamilysfarm

tulsacityfarmer, winter isn't over for me yet, is it for you, I'm in 5B. Just need some hope of spring.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:08AM
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tulsacityfarmer(6)

Myfamilysfarm, no winter is not over here in the Tulsa area. IâÂÂm looking in my backyard, which faces north and I still have snow in the shadows. It will be in the 40's today and they say near 60 Sunday. But Monday night a system of freezing rain or snow!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:20AM
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myfamilysfarm

We got ice, sleet, snow, sleet and then ice yesterday morning. I'm really ready for winter to be over. We won't hit 32 today, but at least it sunny.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:22AM
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tulsacityfarmer(6)

I know what you mean. I'm going to be seeding trays after church and thinking about spring! But the weather man says we might get a blizzard Monday night!!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 9:02AM
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myfamilysfarm

I've seen that, we don't need it.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 4:47PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

I thought I'd follow up on this post because the first varieties have just begun to head. Customers at market were glad to see something fresh, other than salad and kale.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:19AM
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