Sunday, November 4, 2012


One of my "new" plants this year was purple cauliflower.  I haven't grown cauliflower before, but not only is purple cauliflower a trendy (and spendy) veggie these days, I also read that it is supposedly easier to grow than white cauliflower.  It likes cold weather and early planting, so they were started very early indoors and planted out in April.

My purple cauliflower was not difficult to....grow.  Per se.  It was not afflicted by bugs and it was not troubled by inattentiveness.  In fact it flourished, producing bundles of tropically-proportioned leaves, which I felt were very beautiful and provided a horizon of lovely texture in the garden.

The only thing was there was very little cauliflower to be found.

Actually the really weird thing was that the plant seemed to grow in three different ways.

This is a lush and leafy plant with no evidence of cauliflower at all.  About half of the 8 plants were like this, and never developed any vegetal vestiges.

This plant has some little bits that might be purple cauliflower, but it's hard to tell, even in real life.

This is my favorite, despite it's inedibleness. It consists of huge stalks of purple cauliFLOWERS, almost six feet tall.  This is not a matter of 'it used to be cauliflower and I let it bolt.'  There never was any cauliflower.  Just this ambitious lovely spray of green and purple.  I begrudge it nothing.  And although it was anything but a head of dense nutritious purple cauliflower, these flower stalks, lightly steamed, made a frankly lovely and nearly edible garnish.
I let these plants just follow their joy all summer, occasionally checking for developing vegetables.  Really they just looked like the above for a really long time.  After a few hard frosts, I started pulling out the frost-wilted tomatoes and peppers and basil, hauling them all to the compost.  The cauliflowers were untroubled by frost, so I let them be.

And then by George.  They started making cauliflower.  

As I alluded in my blog title, this vegetable was really kind of halfway between a cauli and a broccoli.  
The lovely late-October harvest was diminutive compared to the immense leafy plants they came from, but I will be growing cauliflower again.  I thought they were lovely and exciting plants all season, and the eventual harvest is unrivaled in taste and beauty.

If you have a favorite variety of cauliflower, or any tips or stories about growing it, please let me know!

No comments:

Post a Comment