Di Sicilia Violetto
A stunning regional cauliflower variety from Sicily. Medium-late rounded deep purple curds with excellent flavour are produced on a voluminous plant that forms side shoots after the main head is cut. Stunning colourful additional when raw to dips, will turn green when cooked, although steaming retains some colour. A foolproof way to grow healthy cauliflower seedlings is to sow them in module seed trays – sow one or two seeds in each module 1.5cm deep. Thin out the weaker seedling. They will germinate in about a week and will be ready for planting about three weeks later (when 5cm tall). Make sure to harden off early sowings carefully. For a steady supply of cauliflower, sow a few plants in March, May and June. Spacing will determine the size of the curds – between 60-70cm is about right. The more space you can give them, the healthier the plants will be. As with cabbages, cauliflowers should be planted in to firm, fertile, free-draining ground – the root and stem will eventually have to support a very heavy head! Water plants well before sowing – create a hole with a dibber, pop the seedling in and then firm in very well. Include cauliflower in your brassica rotation – do not plant them where there have been brassicas for at least 3-4 years previously.
Keep plants free of weeds and water regularly – if they dry out they are inclined to bolt. Late sowings can be given a feed of an organic liquid feed to encourage growth. You can protect curds from sun and frost damage by folding some of the surrounding leaves over the curd and tying with a rubber band or some twine.