Tips for Growing Cauliflower in Your Garden

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If you are a fan of cauliflower, you might want to consider growing your own. After all, how tasty is cauliflower with melted cheese, or roasted in the oven with herbs? If you want to try growing your own cauliflower this year so you always have it on hand, take a look below at tips for growing cauliflower in your garden. While growing your own cauliflower takes a little work, you will find that the end result is well worth it.

Tips for Growing Cauliflower in Your Garden

How to start cauliflower from seed:

Cauliflower is a slow growing plant, so starting seeds indoors is advised. Use seed starters to get the seeds germinating early. Plant your seeds in starters ½ an inch deep, and in rows that are about 4-6 inches apart. Be generous with your plantings, as you can always thin out the weaker plants later.

How to transplant cauliflower seedlings:

When your seedlings are a few inches tall, and the spring is still young, you can transplant your seedlings outdoors. Choose an area with clean, rich soil and moderate sunlight. When transplanting your cauliflower seedlings, plant them 6-8 inches apart and in rows that are at least a foot apart. This way, you can easily access the cauliflower heads when it is time to harvest.

How to care for cauliflower seedlings:

Once you transplant the seedlings, they will need your regular care. They require regular fertilizing, so be sure to feed them every 4-6 weeks. A phosphate rich fertilizer is preferred by cauliflower and can really help them reach their full potential. The seedlings require moist soil, but do not do well in standing water. Water every few days in short spurts to make sure they get the hydration they need.

Remember, seedlings can always be thinned out if overcrowding seems to be an issue. Just weed out the weaker of the seedlings and leave the stronger.

General tips for producing a good crop:

Cauliflower will attract a variety of pests and wildlife, so be sure you check for pests regularly and hand remove them. You also want to be sure to have netting or fencing in place to keep animals out. Also, don’t be afraid of fertilizer. Cauliflower is a slow growing plant and it can use the help that fertilizers offer.

While cauliflower is a cool weather plant, extreme frost can cause damage to it. If you are expecting and extreme drop in temperatures, you may wish to cover your plants until the threat has passed.

When and how to harvest cauliflower:

Harvesting cauliflower requires a few steps. First, when the heads of the plant are about 3 inches in diameter, take some twine and tie all of the leaves together. This will help the head get more exposure. And “blanch.” When the head reaches about 6-8 inches in diameter, it can be cut at the base.

Now that your cauliflower is harvested, you just need to figure out how to serve it! As you will find, you have so many tasty options.

Give these tips for growing cauliflower a try and see what fun growing this tasty vegetable can be.

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Homemade Garlic-Mint Garden Insect Spray {that really works!!}

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Easy to make and use, homemade garlic-mint garden insect spray was tested on badly attacked basil plants & a vine and worked with only 2 applications!

Welcome to Nanthinifarms: how to make a natural garlic-mint insect spray easily from pantry ingredients- that actually works! Be sure to check out these other resources for more information on this spray:

Okay guys, I’m excited to finally share with you -bug experiment I’ve been conducting on my poor, bedraggled basil plants and trumpet vine that I shared a bit about here. I know I’ve teased you with my testing for long enough – we all deal with bugs, so I know you’ll be as happy to see the results as I was!

The background to this experiment is a tale known to many organic gardeners (and maybe even would-be gardeners who gave up when faced with seemingly destroyed plants?): years of either ignoring it (and losing plants or living with damaged plants) or trying many different remedies from diatomaceous earth (works on many things though tedious to apply, sometimes hard to find, needs a lot of reapplication, may kill good bugs) to soap and water (this never really did much in my garden). And for some reason, while I don’t have much of a problem beyond cucumber beetles in our large, main garden (and most years I don’t lose plants to them), our herb garden hosts something(s) that have eaten the basil every year since we added it to our backyard. I created this spray last year (adapted from a Keeper of the Home article) to use on them, but didn’t really keep track of it, although I do remember that it worked.

So this year when our basil was hit particularly hard as well as some marigolds I planted among the herbs and the trumpet vine growing up the gazebo across the path, I mixed up a new batch, wrote it down and documented in pictures so if it really did work, I could share it with you. And you’re not gonna believe how well it worked – in fact, as I was putting this together I was thinking I was going to have to add disclaimers on the photos like “I promise these really are the same plants” or something, so you’ll believe me!

So this year when our basil was hit particularly hard as well as some marigolds I planted among the herbs and the trumpet vine growing up the gazebo across the path, I mixed up a new batch, wrote it down and documented in pictures so if it really did work, I could share it with you. And you’re not gonna believe how well it worked – in fact, as I was putting this together I was thinking I was going to have to add disclaimers on the photos like “I promise these really are the same plants” or something, so you’ll believe me!

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So I’m pinky-swearing or whatever you need from me: the three photos in the collage above really, honestly are the same plant from beginning to four weeks later. I know, can you believe it?

And also honestly: even after 20 years of growing things, seeing stunted, bug-eaten plants like my poor basil makes me want to throw in the towel sometimes. It’s just…ugh. These were three basil plants that I grew from seed, nurturing them along and to see them look like this in just a few weeks after planting out? It’s hard. And so I sprayed my homemade garlic-mint spray all over that poor plant, but I didn’t really think it was much for this world. It had only one growing tip left, but seriously, look at it – who would give that guy a chance?

Well, I started seeing results within days – new growth! After a week I still was a bit skeptical – was that old bug-bitten leaves or new? But by week 2, I knew we had a winner and I snapped a picture before applying one more light spraying and then waiting another 2 weeks.

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Look at this beautiful, healthy basil plant! There’s a bug-bite here and there, but I can live with that (and we organic gardeners do, often, a-hem), but most of the new growth is blemish-free and I’ve started harvesting and making our not-so-secret-ingredient frugal pesto to freeze.g5a

Now, I had to share this with you as well, even though the photos were not taken in great light. This plant on the left was the worst of the three basils – stunted beyond anything I had seen with every growing tip eaten off and the remaining leaves were hard and leathery. It was so bad I did dig it up and was just about to drop it in the compost (which I probably would’ve done if I hadn’t been planning on sharing this with you all), but at the last minute I planted it in an empty spot out in the main garden, spraying it with the garlic-mint spray. And while it took longer to rebound (duh, I would, too!), I took the photo on the right just a few days ago, hardly believing what I was seeing.

Is this stuff a miracle worker, or what? I should probably mention, too, that when I applied it the first time, we got a ton of rain the following week and I was sure it wasn’t going to work.  Garden M-I-R-A-C-L-E.

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And, you can probably see where this is going (should I have saved all the after’s for the end? I was just too excited to share with you!) but here we have a reminder of the trumpet vine damage. This insect (I still don’t know what – I’ve never seen anything so it must be nocturnal) ate leaves like other bugs, but seemed to zero in on the new growing tips, which is a sure way to kill a plant.

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And now the vine is growing like trumpet vines are supposed to (that would be out-of-control, for those not familiar with trumpet vines, ha!), full of lovely leaves and new growing tips. I think this thing has grown 3 feet in just a couple weeks, tat’s how much the insects had stunted it.

So, are you dying to know what is in the spray and how to make it? It’s super easy and uses easy-to-find (or grow) ingredients – I created it up by combining a couple of sources, none of which had a clear ‘recipe’ (though I’m crediting a main source below) so I’m writing it out for you so you can make it whenever you need it. I’m so happy to gift this to your garden, ’cause I think you’re going to love it as much as I do.

Oh, and the mint? It makes this smell good – no yucky concoction here for you to suffer through.

Worm Composting Bins – Learn How To Make Your Own Worm Bins

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Worm composting is an easy way to reduce landfill pollution and provide juicy, rich soil for your plants. It is especially suited for the apartment or condo dweller who has limited space. Worm composting bins abound at nursery centers and online, but they are easy and cheaper to assemble yourself. Make your own worm bins and enjoy these slimy little “pets” and their rich castings.

Worm Composting Bins for Home and Garden

Vermicomposting is the term for worm composting bins. There are many types of worm bins for purchase, but you can also make your own worm bins. You can take advantage of the natural earthworms in your soil by building earthworm boxes. These are similar to vermicomposting bins, but have no bottom so the earthworms can burrow up into the organic refuse.

Old wooden boxes with holes drilled in the bottom would also work for building earthworm boxes. The purpose is to contain your kitchen scraps and prevent animals from digging in them and yet allow the worm’s access to the food.

Types of Worm Bins

Bottomless bins are one type of vermicomposting system, which is used for building earthworm boxes. You can also use plastic containers, wooden boxes or even bamboo. Avoid containers of metal, which leach into the soil and increase mineral concentrations.

The most basic types of worm bins are single layer. You can also do several levels, so the worms move to the next layer when their work is done in the first. This allows you to harvest the castings.

For an even fancier set up, install a spigot at the bottom to collect the compost tea. This is the leftover moisture that has steeped through the worm compost and contains vitamins and minerals useful as food for plants.

Make Your Own Worm Bins

You can make worm composting bins for home and garden use yourself using the following steps:

  • Start with the container and drill twenty ¼-inch holes in the bottom.
  • Set another container under this that leaves a gap for the worms to move into after they are finished with the contents of the top layer. Drill holes in the bottom of this bin and holes around the edges of both containers for ventilation.
  • Line both bins with shredded paper for bedding that has been soaked in water and squeezed dry.
  • Add a layer of dirt and place a big handful of red worms inside. This is only if you are not building earthworm boxes.
  • Put a moist sheet of cardboard on top and then cover with a lid that has more ventilation holes drilled into it.
  • Place the bin in a cool, but not cold, location indoors or out. Keep the mixture moderately damp, but not soggy.

Feeding Worm Composting Bins

Feed the worms your food scraps slowly until you see how much they can eat. One pound of worms can consume ½ pound of food scraps per day. The worms multiply quickly, so you will gradually have enough worms to handle larger amounts of kitchen scraps.

Avoid giving them dairy, meat, fatty items and animal waste. Keep the food buried in the bedding to reduce fruit flies and moisten the paper frequently but lightly.

When the bedding is used up, add more until the bin is full of castings. Then put the second bin on top of the castings with moist bedding and food. The worms will move up to that bin through the holes in the bottom and the whole process starts over again.

5 Golden Rules of Garden Planning

It’s never too late to plan a garden, even if you’ve missed the early spring sowing dates. The first secret to a super-productive garden is a well-planned garden. This avoids common issues that affect the health and productivity of your plants.

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Plan For Success:

Using the Garden Planner, you can easily identify the best growing position for each plant’s needs by simply moving them around until you get the perfect layout.

Is your garden as productive as it could be? Plan for success! Using the Garden Planner, you can easily identify the best growing position for each plant’s needs by moving them around until you get the perfect layout.

In this short video we explain the 5 golden rules of garden planning to help you to avoid many of the pitfalls and grow your most productive garden yet

Rule 1: Provide the right growing environment

Full sun is essential for most veggies. For shady areas, choose crops such as leafy salads and greens.

Ensure you soil is fertile, moisture retentive yet well-drained by regularly mulching with or digging in compost.

Rule 2: Grow what you like!

Concentrate on the fruits and vegetables you love to eat. By growing your own you can choose varieties that promise exceptional taste and quality.

Rule 3: Make the most of the space you have

Choose vegetables that are hard to find in the grocery store, or expensive to buy.

Many types and varieties of fruits and vegetables are well-suited to growing in containers. Miniature varieties of vegetables, naturally compact salads and dwarf fruit trees can all be grown in pots.

You can use our Garden Planner to maximize the use of garden space. The Planner will show you exactly how many of each vegetable or fruit you can grow within the space available to you, without overcrowding them.

Rule 4: Make gardening easy

Opt for varieties that are suited to your growing conditions and the time and resources you have available. Pest and disease resistance is worth seeking out.

Place your vegetable garden or containers close to the house to make it easier to tend and harvest. Install water barrels to collect rainwater from greenhouse or shed roofs. Paths between beds should be wide enough for a wheelbarrow, while beds should be of the right proportions for easy maintenance and crop rotation.

Rule 5: Timing is of the essence

Sow quick-growing crops at one- or two-week intervals to spread harvests out and ensure that your garden is achieving its full potential. Harvest prolific croppers such as pole beans little and often to encourage more produce to follow.