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The species probably originated in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, but the cauliflower did not become widely grown until the 18th century. In his work Natural History, the Roman writer Pliny the Elder refers to the 'cyma', believed to be an early form of the cauliflower, calling it the most pleasant-tasting of brassicas.
Today cauliflowers are a major commercial crop in the United Kingdom, the three main types are named according to their season of harvest - winter, summer and autumn. Read more
How to grow Cauliflower
Cauliflowers do best in deeply dug, fertile, moisture-retentive soil. It is important to keep the soil moist at all stages of the plants' development, which helps prevent checks to their growth. The seedlings are best transplanted to their cropping positions as young as possible to keep growth disruption to a minimum. Dig-in plenty of manure (such as Orgro) in the autumn.
Seed can be sown in a well-prepared seed bed from late march however to minimise root disturbance, they are best started off undercover in pots or modules and planted out when they have 5 or 6 leaves. Sow seed very thinly to a depth of 1cm/ ½ in and cover with a fine layer of compost or vermiculite, in rows approx. 15cm/6in apart. Thin-out seedlings to leave approx. 8cm/3in between plants and transplant to their final positions from June, allowing 60 to 75cm/2 to 2½ft between plants.
Use cabbage collars around the base of the seedlings if cabbage root fly is a problem and protect from birds. Keep well-watered and feed regularly as the heads mature. Show less