Group Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Title: Cauliflower
Full Citation
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 Material Information
Title: Cauliflower
Series Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: p. 425-439, 2 leaves of plates : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hume, H. Harold ( Hardrada Harold ), 1875-1965
Publisher: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Lake City Fla
Publication Date: 1901
Subject: Cauliflower -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by H. Harold Hume.
General Note: Cover title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00005170
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA6488
ltuf - AEN1450
oclc - 18155990
alephbibnum - 000921010

Full Text






The bulletins of this Station will be sent free to any address in Floridanupon appli
cation to the Director of the Experiment Station, Lake City, Fla.


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GEO. WX. WILSON, President............ Jacksonville.
F..E. HARRIS, Vice-president ................ Ocala.
J. D. CALLAWAY, Secretary ............... Lake City.
C. A. CARSON, Chairman Executive Committee.
............... .............. K issim m ee.
J. R. PARROTT ........................ Jacksonville.
E. D. BEGGS ........................... Pensacola.
L. H ARRISON .......................... Lake City.


T. H. TALIAFERRO, C. E., Ph. D............ Director.
H. E. STOCKBRIDGE, Ph. D............ Agriculturist.
H. K. MILLER, M. S...................... Chemist.
H. A. GOSSARD, M. S ................ Entomologist.
H. HAROLD HUM.IE, B. Agr. M. S............
.............. Botanist and Horticulturist.
C. F. DAWSON, M. D., D. V. S ......... Veterinarian.
A. W. BLAIR, M. A............... Assistant Chemist.
W. P. JERNIGAN ........... Auditor and Bookkeeper.
MINNIE HELVENSTON .... Librarian and Stenographer.
LUCIA MCCULLOCH, Asst Biologist and Asst Librarian.
JOHN F. MITCHELL ........ Foreman of Station Farm.
JOHN H JEFFERIES ........................
....... Gardener in Horticultural Department.



General Remarks. ..................... ..... 428
V varieties ...................... ......... 429
Seed ................ .................... 429
Seed-bed ............ .............. ..... 430
Seed-planting ......................... ... 43
Transplanting in Seed-bed .......... ....... 432
Soils and Preparation...................... 432
Setting out ............................... 433
Fertilizers and Fertilizing ................... 434
Cultivation and Care. ................. ...... 436
Insects .................. ................ 436
Gathering ................................ 438
Packing ........ .............. ........ 438




From the experience of the past two years with
cauliflower as a winter truck crop, on the horticultural
grounds, the conclusion has been reached that it can
be raised very successfully and with good profit. It is
believed that when given the same care as lettuce, cel-
ery, cucumbers, or any other of our standard truck
crops it will yield as large a return for the investment.
In this crop we have a valuable addition to our list of
remunerative truck crops 'both because it can be profit-
ably grown and because it will help in diversifying gar-
den work. For these reasons it has been deemed ad-
visable to issue a short bulletin giving full cultural di-
rections. The cauliflower is grown in a small way in our
State and in the South, but at present most of the pro-
duct which finds its way into the northern markets
during the winter comes from forcing houses or in
early winter from field grown plants which have been
developed under cover after removal from the field.
However, the crop cannot be held long, hence the sup-
ply is usually exhausted early in the season, and it is
probably true that there is no surer market for any of
our truck crops than there is for the cauliflower. It will
bring a good price, provided, of course, that a high
quality of product is shipped.
The crop is particularly recommended to those
sections where cabbage has been successfully grown.
Certain districts in Florida have won an enviable repu-
Station for particular truck crops. The cauliflower is rec-


ommended to those sections where cabbage and celery
have been successfully grown, but any district having
good garden soil need not hesitate to undertake the


Varieties:-Florida conditions call for a cauliflower
of the forcing type, a vigorous, rapid-growing, sure-
heading variety. The time required to reach maturity
is of very considerable importance and when every-
thing is taken into account, the dwarf varieties are the
only ones to be recommended. The -most satisfactory
varieties, so far as our experience goes, are the Extra
Dwarf Erfurt, Early Snowball and Dry Weather. The
last named variety has given particularly good results
on the Station grounds and appears to be well adapted
to our rather exacting conditions. It withstands
drought well and forms large heads of excellent quality.

Seed:-No more important element enters into the
success of the cauliflower crop than the quality of the
seed and to the seed alone is often due the difference
between success and failure, profit and loss. The best
seed that can be secured is the cheapest at any reason-
able price, and it should always be obtained from a well-
lInown, reputable seedsman. The standing of the seeds-
man is the only guarantee the trucker has that the seed
is true to name and selected from the best strain. Aside
from the remarks above, the variety does not count for
so much as does the care exercised in selecting the
seed of that variety. The cauliflower is very prone to
deteriorate and unless the most scrupulous care is
taken in selecting the seed, the variety will degenerate
rapidly. Cauliflower seed is grown to some extent in


America, but most of the seed comes from Denmark,
Germany and Holland and the best from the first nam-
ed country (Denmark). The price of good seed is from
three to five dollars per ounce and an ounce of seed will
generally give about fifteen hundred plants suitable for
the field. If an ounce of seed will give about fifteen hun-
-dred plants and if they are set in the field as recom-
mended; namely, 2x3 ft., 7260 plants will be required,
or between four and five ounces for an acre.
The seed should be purchased some time before re-
quired for planting and tested as recommended in
Press Bulletin No. 3. In this way the percentage germ-
ination may be ascertained-and more seed ordered if
necessary. The time required for germination is from
five to ten days, depending upon the amount of mois-
ture, heat and the quality of the seed. Generally speak-
ing, those seeds which germinate first will give the best
plants, as, in well ripened seed, early germination de-
notes a vigorous constitution. But, if the seed is of first-
class quality, practically all the plants will break
through the soil at the same time.

Seed-bed:-The seed-bed should be carefully pre-
pared. We prefer to use virgin hammock soil. This
should be enriched with a liberal application of com-
mercial fertilizer,; or thoroughly decomposed stable
manure. After the fertilizer is applied it should be thor-
oughly worked in to a depth of three or four inches.
From a few days to two weeks should elapse before the
seed is sown for there is great danger in planting seed
too soon after applying commercial fertilizer as the seed
is likely to be destroyed by the action of the mineral
substance unless it has been dissolved and thoroughly
incorporated with the soil. The time between the, appli-
cation of the fertilizer and the sowing of the seed will


depend upon the amount of rainfall and it is often bet-
ter to wet down the seed-bed each day for four or five
days before planting and not to depend upon the un-
certain rainfall.
On the horticultural grounds the seed-bed used is a
portion of an ordinary cold frame, one foot high at the
front, three feet at the back, six feet wide, forty feet
long and placed so as to face slightly southeast; during
warm weather this is kept shaded during the middle of
the day with a cotton cover placed about three feet
above, the frame. (See frontispiece.)

Seed-Planting:-The earliest date at which we have
succeeded in getting a good stand of plants is the first
week in August. Attempts at an earlier date have usu-
ally been unsuccessful on account of the warm weather,
which prevails at that season.
The soil should be freshly opened just before sowing,
the seeds placed in the soil while it is still moist and cov-
ered immediately. This applies to the planting of all
kinds of seed. It is best to sow the seed by hand. Open
the drill a half inch deep with a pointed stick, scatter
the seed thinly along, replace the soil and gently tamp
it down. The rows should be about three inches apart.
In six or seven days the young plants should begin to
appear and the ground between the drills should be cul-
tivated. Do not allow the soil to dry out as the cauli-
flower plant from seed to head should never be check-
ed. Neither should the bed be kept too wet, else there
is danger of "damping off." The happy medium must be
sought. The bed should be carefully watched and if the
disease does break out it may be checked by removing
the diseased plants, working the soil, scattering dry
sand and sulphur along the rows and withholding wa-
ter until the surface soil becomes dry.


It might be pointed out here that about six months
must be allowed from the sowing of the seed until the
crop matures.

Transplanting in Seed-bed :-The plants should not
be allowed to remain long in the seed rows. If left too
long they will soon crowd and become weak and spind-
ling. When they have reached the height of one inch.
they should be pricked off and set in another portion
of the bed. They may be set in rows four inches apart
with the plants one and a half to two inches apart in the
rows. Here they should remain until ready for the
field. If care has been exercised all the way through.
the plants will be short, stocky and vigorous. By the
time they are four or five inches high or when the leaves
have lapped they are ready for the field. It is not best
to let them get too large, because there is often a de-
lay of a few days in order to obtain good climatic con-
ditions for setting out. If left too long in the seed bed.
greater care must be exercised in transplanting, else the
plants may suffer a severe check and will button or
break irregularly instead of forming smooth well-
shaped heads.

Soils and Preparation.-Soil which will produce good
cabbage will be, found to be well adapted to the cauli-
flower but cauliflower should not be grown after cab-
bage on the same ground. The soil should be rich, well
supplied with organic matter and moist, though well
drained. If the field can be irrigated, the success of the
crop will be assured.
Work should be started on the ground at least a
month before the plants are set out. The cauliflower is
a deep rooted plant, consequently the soil should be
prepared deeply. It is not advisable to turn under the



good surface soil and to obviate this ground may be
plowed shallow and then stirred and opened with a
bull-tongue to a depth of seven 'or eight inches. After
this the surface should be cultivated to a depth of two
or three inches. Give thorough preparation by fre-
quent cultivation before the fertilizer is applied, pre-
paratory to setting out the plants.

Setting Out.-It is best that the plants be set out
either just before or immediately after a rain, but if this
cannot be done they should be set out late in the even-
ing and watered, giving each plant about a quart of
water. A cloudy day is much preferable to a clear one
and if the day on which the plants are set out is followed
by cloudy weather so much the better.
The ground should be leveled or smoothed over, for
which purpose a roller or float may be used. After
this the ground may be marked off. Two markers
should be constructed, one with the teeth three feet
apart, the other with the teeth two feet apart. These
may be made of wood after the pattern of an ordinary
garden rake. In place of a marker a line may be used
or the ground may be checked off with a light hand
Only a limited number of plants should be removed
from the seed-bed at one time. The leaves should be
cut back about one-half or one-third, using for the pur-
pose a large pair of shears. Sprinkle the plants with
water as soon as removed from the bed, place in a shal-
low box or basket and keep them shaded from the sun.
Two men and a boy can do the work more economically
than two persons can without the third assistant. The
boy should drop the plants at.the checks, just as they
are needed and the men do the planting. The plants
should be set deep. Use a dibber. With the instrument


in one hand open a hole deep -enough for the plant.
With the other hand pick the plant up, place it in the
hole and with both hands press the earth firmly about it.
After planting the plants should be watered, unless the
soil is already quite moist and a little dry earth should be
thrown over the moisture to act as a mulch.

Fertilizers and Fertilising:-The cauliflower is a
gross feeder and requires large amounts of fertilizer.
In short, for the successful growing of this crop the
ground can scarcely be made too rich and fertilizer
must be applied with a liberal hand.
The analysis of the cauliflower shows that it contains
.13 per cent. nitrogen, .16 per cent. phosphoric acid and
.36 per cent. potash. To plant an acre setting the
plants as recommended, namely, 2 x 3, 7260 plants will
be required. The total weight of the crop, granting
that each plant, root, stem, leaves and head will weigh
six pounds, would be 43,560 pounds. Such a crop
would remove from the soil 56.62 pounds of nitrogen,
79.69 pounds of phosphoric acid and 156.81 pounds of
The amounts actually found in the plant would be
too little to apply, for a certain quantity is always lost
to the plant or cannot be taken up by the crop on the
ground, and no plant is capable of taking up 'every
particle of fertilizer that is applied. Hence the fertilizer
must be given in larger amounts than is actually re-
quired by the crop. The materials used in our work at
the Station have been stable manure, nitrate of soda,
cotton seed metl, acid phosphate and high grade sul-
phate of potash. The stable manure, thoroughly de-
composed, together with one-half the commercial fer-
tilizer is applied broad-cast from two to three weeks
before planting the crop and worked into the soil.


Of the materials mentioned above there are required
250 pounds of nitrate of soda, and 400 pounds of cotton-
seed meal, 600 pounds acid phosphate and 400 pounds
high grade sulphate of potash. Sufficient stable ma-
nure is used to cover the ground one inch or an inch
and a half deep. If the soil is very rich in humus the
stable manure may be omitted, in which case the
amount of fertilizer should be slightly increased.
The amounts as given above are. sufficient for any
ordinary soil, at all suited to the culture of the vege-
table, but no one can determine how much is needed on
any given field, except the planter himself. Many soils
will require less and others might require more but it
should be remembered that the amount applied bears a
direct relation to profit. An attempt might be made to
grow the crop on a field which required so much fer-
tilizer as to reduce the margin between the cost and
selling price below the profit line.
As already indicated one-half of the commercial fer-
tilizer may be applied before planting; if so, the remain-
der should be given a month and a half or two months
after the crop has been set out. However, it is prefer-
able that the nitrate of soda be applied in several sep-
arate dressings. It is frequently an excellent plan to
compost the acid phosphate, potash and cotton-seed
meal with the stable manure and apply it all before the
crop is set out.
If the fertilizer is divided, the first application may
be given along the rows in which the plants are to stand,
or it may be applied broad-cast. The latter is the bet-
ter plan, but in either case the ground'should be cul-
tivated immediately afterward. That portion of the fer-
tilizer which is applied after the plants are set out and
started off should be scattered around them and the
ground cultivated or raked.


Cultivation and Care:-The field should be frequently
cultivated and the ground should be scarified at least
every week and after every rainfall. THi best tool for
cultivating is an ordinary cultivator and the ground
should not be worked to a greater depth than two and
one-half or three inches. This will preserve a surface
mulch of dry earth and prevent loss of moisture by
As soon as the heads commence to form the leaves
should be drawn together at the top and loosely tied
near their tips with a piece of cord or twine. Rafia
makes a good substitute for twine and is preferable be-
cause there is less danger of cutting the leaves. We
have tried the practice of breaking down the leaves
over the head but have found that it is not quite so satis-
factory. If the heads are left uncovered they become
yellow through the action of the sun and rain but when
the leaves are drawn together and tied, they bleach out
pure white, and curd-like.

Insects:*-Three or four insects trouble the cauli-
flower as well as the cabbage and among these may be
mentioned cut worms and cabbage worms. Of the lat-
ter there are at least four distinct species to be found
feeding on the crop in Florida, these are Plusia brassi-
cae Pierjs rape, Picris protodice and Pluntella maculli-
The cut worms may be controlled by using poisoned
bait. We have found that bran, molasses and Paris
green makes an -excellent mixture for this purpose. Suf-
ficent Paris green should be mixed with the bran to give
it a greenish tinge and to this should be added enough

*For the notes on insects I am largely indebted to Prof. H. A. Gossard, Sta-
ion Entomologist.


molasses or syrup to make it sticky. This poisoned bran
may then be scattered in a small circle about each plant.
It is an excellent plan to scatter poisoned leaves of cab-
bage, beggar-weed or velvet beans over the field a few
days before planting but we have generally used the
first mentioned plan and find it quite efficacious.
Any of the above named cabbage worms can be con-
trolled by using Paris green or arsenate of lead. These
poisons can be applied to the young plants before they
commence to head with perfect safety to the consumer.
There is considerable difficulty in using Paris green in
solution as the mixture will not stick to the plants.
This can be overcome by using dissolved soap in the so-
lution, one pound of hard soap to forty gallons of mix-
ture. The arsenate of lead should be used in th-e pro-
portion of three or four ounces to forty gallons of water
and Paris green in the same proportion. With Paris
green a certain amount of milk of lime should always
be used to prevent scorching of the foliage. Paris
green may be put on the plants in the form of a powder
by mixing it with flour. One pound of Paris green to
forty pounds of flour makes a powder of good strength.
This should be dusted over the plants while the dew is
on them. The flour mixture may produce burning if
too freely used, so some prefer to mix with lime, a
leveled teaspoonful of Paris green being used with a
quart of lime and applied by dusting in exactly the
same way as with the flour mixture. Arsenate of lead
may be prepared as follows: Take Ii ounces of acetate
of lead and 4 ounces of arsenate of soda and dissolve to-
gether in two or three gallons of water. This should be
diluted to Ioo gallons for immediate use. The same
amount of poison can be used in 50 or even Io gallons
of water without danger of injury to the plants. Arse-


nate of lead already prepared may be procured of Wm.
H. Swift & Co., Boston, Mass.


Gathering.-Cauliflower may be cut before it is ma-
ture but the flavor is not so well developed as it is when
the heads are full grown. For winter shipment heads
from four to six inches in diameter are of a desirable
size and the market will take them fully as well or bet-
ter than large ones.
The field should be picked over at least -every two or
three days during the season, though heads will remain
in good condition for nearly a week if the weather be
cold. Examine the head by separating the leaves on the
side. As soon at the head is well rounded up in the cen-
ter and developed so as to force the leaves outward, and
assumes a grained appearance, it will be found to be
fully matured.
The heads should be cut, preferably, when dry. If
moist they are likely to decay in transit. The best time of
day is the afternoon if they are intended for long dis-
tance shipment. About an inch of stem should be left on
the head and three rows of leaves. After cutting, the
heads should be carfeully placed in a wagon and carried
to the packing house or on dry pleasant days packing
may be done in the field.

Packing.-The package recommended for gen-
eral use is the ordinary lettuce basket. Before
packing, the leaves should be cut back to stubs,
leaving them somewhat longer than shown in the illus-
trations. Each head should be carefully wrapt in a
large sheet of white glazed paper. The baskets should
be packed snug and tight without bruising the heads.


and only those of uniform size should be placed in each
basket. Never place different sizes in the same pack-
age and always discard inferior or injured heads; the
compost heap is the place for them.




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