Cauliflower Pollination

gltrap54December 6, 2012

Growing 60-70 Cauliflower & Broccoli transplants under tunnels & while they are big & healthy, the production has been poor to none. These seeds were started on 8/7! I've harvested a few small (3") central heads of the heirloom broccoli but not one head of cauliflower. I'm confused about my research....... It appears broccoli doesn't need pollination while cauliflower does. Is this correct information? My common sense tell me that I should forget it, take down my tunnels & toss the plants in the compost bin. The broccoli is producing a small amount of side heads ...

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No. Neither is grown for seeds except by dedicated seed savers. When grown for food pollination is not required. Heirloom broccoli seldom has large heads. Cauliflower is much more finicky and needs relatively optimum conditions to head. Low light slows development even further. They need water and nitrogen, but I suspect short daylight is the major contributor to your problem.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 2:02PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Pollination is only an issue for seed production (if you are growing them for seed). In that case you let the heads bolt (spread into its yellow or purple flowers), then be pollinated by insects, and left to go to seed.

The vegetable we eat from both plants is the "flower" (the florets), if you will, before it fully develops and blooms.

Your production issues are most likely nutrient or temperature related. Cool temps are required. How warm is it in your tunnels?


Here is a link that might be useful: Pics of blooming cauliflower

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 2:11PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I wonder if your source mentioned 'fertilization' rather than 'pollination'? Fertilization in the sense of adding fertilizer, not in the sense of sexual reproduction.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 4:39PM
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Don't toss them. They'll come eventually. One thing that I've noticed about broccoli and cauli is that "days to maturity" can be ignored. They always take a lot longer than advertised.

Also, if you're attempting to harvest SEED from the cauli, you'll have to wait -- I've read it's a biennial.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 5:30PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

For fall cauliflower I sow on June 16th and set out about the 12th of July. While that may sound early, it really works for me with very large nice heads in October. I plant mostly a full season variety like Symphony. I am at latitude 40.27

I transplant them out while still somewhat small and KEEP THEM well watered.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 7:01PM
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Thanks folks! Lots of good info here that's confirmed a couple of my suspicions...... Light being one. I'm using Agribon 30 that allows 70% light transmission coupled with shorter days & soil temps in the low to mid 50s (which should be OK). All this could be part of the problem...... I've had good success in the past using Agribon 19. They've been properly fertilized & irrigated through my fertigation system.....

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 7:53PM
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