Purple Cauliflower

Purple Cauliflower Chaos

It’s been a year now that I have taken on the new adventure of growing purple cauliflower.  I started the seeds indoors in March 2009 and tenderly cared for them until they could be hardened off.  I grew a bunch, maybe twelve, so I put two in my back garden beds, took six more to the community garden and gave the final ones away.  The ones in my back garden grew and grew and grew into monstrous proportions and finally started to rot and stink over winter so I composted them.  That was hard to do after ten months of anticipation for a purple crown of deliciousness but the backyard patio area smelling like rotten cabbage was a strong motivator.

The ones at the community garden were basically in shade because my plot—unbeknownst to me when we took the plot in the late winter of 2009—was totally shaded by a huge tree until 2PM every day.  Not the best spot for growing veg.  Nonetheless, four of those plants seemed to be staying healthy albeit quite small so I potted them up and brought them home and forgot about them.  One day I had a bare spot in the front garden so I put four of them in the ground and a year later to my great surprise I have purple cauliflower!

Each plant is looking a little different today.  Two have golf-ball sized crowns, one has melon sized crown and one, in this photo, has started to set a bunch of florets instead of a crown.

Cauliflower Gardeners out there: what should I now do with my purple cauliflower?  I couldn’t imagine after the treacherous life these plants have had that they would provide me with something edible, but they have, and now I wonder if I should harvest them or let them grow larger.  Could it be that each one could become it’s own crown?

This certainly is no ordinary tale of planting a growing cauliflower, and I would not recommend it, but this sort of chaos is to be expected as I try new things and stray from the traditional ways of doing things (like gardening in rows – for shame!)  I’m sorry to those experienced gardeners with dedicated vegetable plots that are carefully organized and planned that I am making cringe with my tale but for me any experiment that ends with a tasty meal is a success.  And I’m hoping for a tasty meal soon.

About the Author : Stephanie Rose

A city girl who learned to garden and it changed everything. Author, artist, Master Gardener. Better living through plants.

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  1. Dan
    DanMarch 6,10

    The one pictured looks like it is about ready to flower. They grow to be quite massive things when flowering and then die after setting seed. I would harvest just before the heads start to soften.

    Quite a cool look specimen. I am trying Purple Sprouting Broccoli this year. It is a fall crop that would grow even better in your climate them mine. It produces sprouts kind of like a sprouting broccoli.

  2. Stevie
    StevieMarch 6,10

    Thanks, Dan, I appreciate the feedback – I’d hate to leave it too long and not get to eat the cauliflower at all!

    I’m growing purple sprouting broccoli as well – it does great here – so great I overwintered it and the florets are starting to bud now. I’ll take some photos once it sets edible parts :)

  3. Stevie
    StevieMarch 8,10

    UPDATE: I haven’t picked this yet – but it has doubled in size in just a few days. The end is surely near for this pretty veg so I better eat it quick!

  4. Dan
    DanMarch 9,10

    I think I need to grow some of these purple cauliflower! :-)

  5. Franklin
    FranklinMarch 10,10

    Cool color! I’d eat it now!

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