I've been busy lately with the cauliflower in the garden. This is the first year I was able to successfully grow it and I have to say it has been an exceptional harvest year. I started this journey in early February when I first planted the cauliflower seeds in the greenhouse. It was February 2nd to be exact. The kids and I made our daily trip into the retreat of the insulated greenhouse on a cold morning. Believe it or not, a sunny winter day with temperatures below freezing can deliver an 80 degree retreat in the greenhouse.
Below is a picture of what we planted this year. This variety comes from the company Territorial Seeds. I devour their catalog during the winter months wishing and dreaming and this year I felt like this short season variety would give me the best chance. Notice the part about "50-60 days." We will get back to that part in a bit.
Fast forward to the tail end of June (4+ months later). I've harvested roughly 20-25 heads of this amazing and delicious stuff. Yes, that is correct, 20-25. I apologize for losing count, but I can make up for it with pictures of what I did (and still am doing) with it.
With 20+ cauliflower heads ready all at once, I had to have a plan for what to do with them. I knew I wanted to harvest them before the big heat set in around here and I knew that meant pulling the entire plant. Cauliflower offers only one harvest as opposed to broccoli, which may send another shoot up. This left some gaping holes in the garden space, but I have plans for those!
In order not to make this post too long, I'll quickly show you a few of the things I did with this amazing harvest. The story of how to blanch vegetables and how to can them will come another day.
I made sure to wash the cauliflower when I brought it into the house to ensure that none of nature's little friends tried to join us inside. Soaking the heads for a few hours in a light salt water helps with this. I used my trusty Ball Canning book in my experiment with a few jars of pickled cauliflower.
I can't forget to note that we had other winners in this great harvest here on the farm. Our chickens earned the right to forage and devour the left over leaves after my harvest. They were happy ladies too.
I feel very pleased with how this year's harvest turned out. We have fresh cauliflower in the fridge for snacking and meals. We have plenty of enticing cauliflower resources to reach for during the cold winter months ahead too. It has been an enormous task to "put it away" in the freezer and in canning jars, but I am thankful to have had the chance to do it. February 2nd to June 28th... not quite the timeline noted on the seed package. That is gardening in Central Oregon for you! This little face makes it all worth it though.