Cauliflower is one of the members of the Brassica family. A group of vegetables that were known to be simple to grow and trouble-free. However, sometimes a member such as cauliflower is known to be disturbed by different pests and diseases. Other growing problems can occur when there is overcrowding, inadequate drainage, lack of sunlight, insufficient moisture, too much nitrogen, or soil deficiency.
Follow along with this guide if you want to know more about the growing problems of cauliflower plus ways on how to control them.
Below are the most common cauliflower growing problems:
1. Cauliflower is more susceptible to pests
Cauliflower is more susceptible to wide varieties of pests, which include snails, cabbage aphids, nematodes, cutworms, slugs, flea beetles, cabbage root maggots, and cabbage worms.
Pests can attack your cauliflower if you left them too crowded or without weeding. To control this problem, you need to avoid flooding your cauliflower with water. You also need to weed and thin in order to prevent overcrowding and competition for nutrients. Weed the garden regularly to create space and allow fresh air in so that pests such as insects and nematodes will not find a hiding place.
2. Cauliflower can be infected by diseases
Cauliflower if handled without proper gardening maintenance can be exposed to wide varieties of fungal and bacterial diseases. For example, cauliflower disease can affect your seedlings and make them collapse and produce water-soaked stems. This is a disease called damping-off and it is caused by a fungus.
Another disease that can affect cauliflower is dieback. Dieback disease is a fungal disease, which causes bluish-dark spots on cauliflower stems and leaves. Other important diseases are clubroot, downy mildew, cabbage yellow, and root cyst of cauliflower.
Clubroot is caused by a fungus and it causes wilting, swelling, and rotting of cauliflower roots. Downy mildew is another fungal disease that causes irregular yellow-brownish spots on the tops and bottoms of cauliflower leaves. Root cyst affects cauliflower by causing cauliflower to become stunted and produce yellow leaves and white specks on roots. Root cyst is caused by microscopic nematodes.
Another important disease that is of concern to cauliflower is Yellow cabbage. This is another disease that is caused by a fungus, which affects many members of the Brassica family. Yellow cabbage can make your cauliflower become curl and yellow and in severe cases, the cauliflower may die.
Diseases of cauliflower can be controlled by planting resistant varieties, practicing crop rotation, and solarizing soil before planting.
3. Failure to form heads
One of the most common growing problems that you can experience while growing cauliflower is the failure of cauliflower to form heads. This problem can be caused by varieties of factors:
The first one is planting cauliflower in soil that contains a high amount of nitrogen. It can also result from fertilizing your cauliflower with too much nitrogen. Feeding cauliflower with nitrogen increases the production of leaves and makes cauliflower not produce heads.
The second factor that can prevent cauliflower from producing heads is insufficient sunlight. Cauliflower loves sunlight and it requires about 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Other factors include insufficient moisture and poor drainage. Both of these factors can prevent cauliflower from forming heads.
The head needs moisture to form properly. However, do not flood the cauliflower to the extent that you male the garden or container waterlogged. Planting the cauliflower in well-drained soil is a key to growing successful cauliflower.
4. Cauliflower is more sensitive to hot weather
Cauliflower loves full sun but does not thrive well in hot weather. Hot-weather causes legging and damage to cauliflower. Sensitivity can occur only if you plant cauliflower at the right time. Do not grow cauliflower in midsummer if you are planting in summer, make sure you only start seeds indoors toward the end of summer. (For more tips about growing cauliflower click here.)
Read also: Learn About Cauliflower Growing Stages
How to control cauliflower growing problems
The followings are ways in which you can control problems associated with growing cauliflower:
1. Plant-resistant cauliflower varieties: these are varieties of cauliflower that develop resistance against wide varieties of diseases and pests. Always check the seed package before you buy it so that you will know more about the seeds.
2. Practice crop rotation: plant different varieties of cauliflower year after year so that pests and diseases cannot damage your garden.
3. Moisten your garden or container timely: do not overwater but regularly keeping the garden soil or container moist is recommended.
4. Plant cauliflower in well-drained soil or container: sow seeds in a well fertile, well-drained soil with pH that is near neutral.
5. Solarize and sterilize soil before planting: soil especially garden soil may contain pathogens, weed seeds, and other impurities. So, if possible, solarize or sterilize the soil before you plant seeds or seedlings.
6. Do not feed cauliflower with too much nitrogen: use a slow-releasing granular fertilizer that does not contain plenty of nitrogen. Alternatively, you can use compost that contains high carbon materials. (Tip: learn more about carbon materials in composting here.)
7. Space cauliflower about 3-5 inches apart: do not leave cauliflower closely parked together. Thin out weak seedlings to avoid overcrowding. Creating space will allow fresh air to circulate in the cauliflower garden and this can prevent the occurrence of pests and diseases. It also helps reduce the competition for nutrients.
Frequently asked questions
Why is my cauliflower growing weird?
Cauliflower can grow weird due to insufficient nutrients, moisture, and sunlight. It can also grow poor heads. This condition can also occur if there is extreme cold, drought, or heat.
Why is my cauliflower turning brown in the garden?
This may be a sign of disease, low nutrients, or overwatering. Other factors that may contribute to the yellowing of cauliflower are drought and insufficient sunlight.
What causes cauliflower to bolt?
Cauliflower can bolt if there is extreme cold or heat. Cauliflower can also prematurely produce seeds if there is a change in day length, which is indirectly related to changes in temperature.
In this article, I looked at the problems with growing cauliflower in a step by step guide. I hope this article will be helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions.