Most vegetables in Zimbabwe thrive even in winter because the temperatures are not very low as compared to other countries. Since we are just a few months before winter, it’s best we talk about cauliflower production. This is one vegetable that does well under full sun and cool temperatures of 15°C-20°C. It requires optimum pH of 6 -6.5. Cauliflower prefers deep loamy soils which have good water retention, good drainage, and good fertility. The soil should be rich in nutrients such as potassium and nitrogen so you should apply potassium and nitrogen based fertilizers. It is also advisable to add organic content to the soil so as to improve yields. Cauliflower takes 2 to 3 months (after transplanting) to maturity, depending on the cultivar of course. The vegetable comes in many colors which include purple, yellow and orange though it tastes the same.
How to grow Cauliflower
You first prepare a nursery bed then you transplant after 4 weeks. Transplanted seedlings perfom better than direct sowing. Spacing should be 45cm by 45cm. It should mostly be grown where there are irrigation facilities because it requires water at every stage of growth, and drip irrigation is the most effective one.
Common Pests and diseases
Aphids, Caterpillars, Cabbage fly, Flea beetles, slugs, nematodes.
Grey leaf spot & Grey leaf spot, Downey mildew, clubroot, black rot fungal diseases.
Cauliflower is hand picked so it is labor-intensive. You should carefully harvest them because any slight damage will redue the shelf life of cauliflower. It should be harvested when the curds attain a proper size & before it starts to discolor. Cauliflower doesn’t store well so its better you harvest the cauliflowers you want to consume or sell soon after.
So think about it and consider cauliflower for your garden!