Brassica Oleracea #1 Cauliflower from Seeds


#CommonAmongAll #PrettyCauliflowers #Cisbay #AGNLite #KinYanAgrotech

Note: This writeup focus on growing behaviours of difference cauliflower cultivars in same settings, compare and contrast the different cultivars. This post is purely based on growers' observations, your results may vary. No part of this can be reused without written permission from the blog writer.

We started seeding 6 cultivars of cauliflowers around Nov 2023, taking advantage of the cool weather. Our tropical green house temperature is in the range of 28 to 42 degree C. 

For best growing results in tropical weather, go for low land cultivar or heat resistant cultivar.

Most cauliflower cultivars will have head forming around 8.5 to 10 weeks from seeds. The head will be ready for harvest about 2.5 to 3.5 weeks there after. In short, they will mostly be ready for harvest around week 12 to week 14 from seeds ( about 80 to 100 days)

Note: This is just a general guideline. For specified cultivar, please refer to the seeds pack instruction for exact planting guide.

Seeds Packs & Initial Seeding

#Seedings #InitialGrowing #Cisbay #AGNLite #SixCultivars #KinYanAgrotech

Initial seeding is done in AGN Lite treated compost by Kin Yan Agrotech, using seed plugs tray or 8cm planting pots ( 5 seeds in one pot, space out). Seedlings are transplanted once they developed at least 4 true leaves into planter plots. Usually this takes about 3 to 4 weeks.

We used planter plots of 120x120x 25cm (LxBxH) for all planting. Give a space of at least 25cm x 25cm space per plant, 30x30cm for best results

These are the brands and cultivars we shortlisted for the test. 

#BanLeeHuatSummerDay #GreenWorld307 #KnownYouGreenHarmony #ChaiTaiCauliflower #BabaVE-026 #BCRober #Cauliflowers

These 3 performed very well in our weather. Taste wise, the first 2, Greenworld 307 and Ban Lee Huat Summer Day are crunchy while the KnownYou Green Harmony tastes a bit softer when cooked.

For those below, other than the Chai Tai cauliflower, the other 2 did not do well. The last did not even form any head way passed 20 weeks. Others started forming flower head typically 8.5 to 10 weeks from seeds.

The last seeds are gifted to us in ziplock bags and we have no way to trace back the brand. We only know the cultivar is BC Rober, popular and commonly grown in the western countries.

Journey Of Growth

#StagesOfGrowth #Observations #Challenges #WhoDidBestInWhatWay

The first thing we look out for is the forming of the head. Among the different cultivars, some have very strong plants/stems but the heads are not forming. But among the same cultivar, the strongest plant will almost always result in bigger head.

Picture on left shows the plants on week 8 to 9 where you should start looking out for heads forming, some cultivar faster than others. The picture on left shown the ready to harvest cauliflower average from week 12 onwards from seeds.

All cultivars grow well and look equally good up to week 8.5.

For baba VE-026 however, we have only 2 baba seedlings out of the whole seed pack due to low germination rate. For those germinated, they do not grow into strong seedlings as compare to the rest hence are discarded. They are the top left 2 seedlings in the picture sharing the same plot as known You green harmony.  

BC rober is the worst of the lot. The plants are pretty. But non of the plant form head way beyond 20 weeks. We removed them as we need the space for next crops.

All well formed heads weight about 300 to 500g across all cultivars.

#BanLeeHuatSummerDay #ChampionOfTheBatchInSpeed #BLH

This cultivar is the strongest and perform the best for this round of planting. By week 8.5, almost 90% of BLH Summer Day have tiny heads forming. 

They continue to grow well and most are ready for harvest starting week 11. The picture above shows the cauliflower ready for harvest on week 11 from seeds. Almost 75% are ready for harvest, except the two on the left in picture above.

By week 12, all balanced plants in picture above are ready for harvest. It took about 2.5 to 3.5 weeks to mature from the tiny head to full harvest.  

Like all growing, there may be a few slow coach amongst the batch. We have 1 to 2 plants as shown above which are weaker and grow slower. They took 15 weeks instead of the typical 11 to 12 of this cultivar to reach maturity. All planting parameters similar. 

We would say this is great cultivar to start for beginner. Relatively fuss free. 

#GreenWorld307 #ChampionOfTheBatchInSize

This is the cultivar that we have been growing since 2012. Very consistent performer. It has not failed us this round too. It is slightly slower than BLH Summer day above, but all plants are strong and the heads are well formed and slightly on the big side ( 400g and above )
The first sign of head forming is around week 10. 1.5 weeks slower than summer day. 

However, the plants are all very strong and relatively easy to care for.  Above picture shows the plants at week 10. 90% have well formed tiny heads.

The final harvest by week 13 are all pretty and of nice shape. Just like Summer Day, from first sign of tiny head to full harvest took about 3 weeks.

Almost 95% of the plants bear decent heads of about 400g. This cultivar remains our champion in term of growth consistency across all plants. The heads are uniformed, pretty creamy white and relatively big too.

#KnownYouGreenHarmony #ChampionOfTheBatchInTaste

We have grown this cultivar before. We are aware that the head may not be as pretty, uniform and round. But The taste of this cultivar is pretty good. Crunchy and sweet hence we are growing it again.

This cultivar is slightly slower in forming the first head. 12 weeks for heads to appear on all plants. The plants are also pretty strong and huge as shown in the picture below.

By week 14, almost all heads are ready for harvest. Below picture shows the very strong plants with pretty heads just before harvest.

#ChaiTaiCauliflower #TheWetChallenges 

In term of growth, this cultivar is not that bad. The first sign of head forming is detected on week 10, similar to green world 307.

However, it is a slow starter. The picture above shows the plants at week 8. It looks the weaker among all.

However by week 11, heads formed on 90% of the plants and they caught up and now look strong in picture above.

However, we encountered challenges, late into growing for this cultivar.  It seems like it is more sensitive to wet weather compared to the rest. 
A couple of the heads start to rot when we have 2 weeks of extremely wet weather where temperature dipped suddenly ( below 25 degree C in tropical Singapore, mid day)  and rained daily 30% of the time each day. By the time they are ready for harvest on week 13, almost all heads have rotten as shown in the picture above.

Our Failed Cauliflowers

We typically dropped seeds which cannot germinate well or cannot "fruit" well. The above 2 either cannot sprout well or worst cannot form heads despite having same planting parameters like the rest.

BC Rober has zero heads forming beyond 20 weeks. Way beyond the typical fruiting timeframe of cauliflower. Most other cultivars are fully ready by week 14 or 15 latest. Hence, we uprooted all by week 21 and made way for other crops.

We suspect this could be a non heat tolerant cultivar and hence refused to produce "fruit" in hot tropical weather. The same situation we encountered for broccoli. Very pretty plants but no or very very tiny head.

Journey Forward

#BestPerformer #Round2Candidates

For the best performing cultivars, after we have harvested the heads, we keep 2-3 most healthy plants for 2 to 3 weeks. Baby plants will form on the mother plants. We then detached them from the parents and use them as starter for next growing. 

Typically, this way of planting will cut the growing cycle by up to 3 weeks. However, since you need to keep the parent plants at plot for the same amount of time, occupying space, net time save is zero. Hence commercially, this is typically not practiced. 

For home growing, however, this method can be quite fun to start the next growing cycle without having to buy new seeds. 

We have shortlisted Ban Lee Huat Summer Day, Green world 307, Known You Green Harmony and Chai Tai Cauliflower for next growing cycle using shoots from mother plants. We will document this process in another writeup.

The first 3 being the top performers for round 1. Chai Tai cauliflower suffered from head rot during wet weather. We are starting the next round during hot/dry weather, let us see if it fairs better.

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