Check out this guide to companion planting and discover how pairing your veggies with the right plants can help them flourish. Who knows, you might just see a bumper crop of cauliflower heads this year!
Companion plants help create a healthy and harmonious garden environment by sharing similar cultural needs for water, sunlight, and soil.
Planting crops that grow well with cauliflower will also complement each other in a variety of ways. These include deterring garden pests, attracting beneficial insects, and promoting soil health.
What to Plant with Cauliflower
The best thing you can do for your cauliflower plants is to make sure you have good companions for their growth. Here are the best companion plants for cauliflower:
- The leaves on the celery plant will keep the white cabbage moth from attacking your crop. Celery will also attract insects that are good for cauliflower.
- Legumes, like beans and lentils. As legumes grow, they create and replenish the soil with nitrogen and nutrients that help cauliflower flourish. Moreover, as cauliflower prefers a slightly cooler climate, the legumes also provide shade for them. As a side note, peas are not a good idea to plant near your cauliflower.
- Chard and Spinach. Chard and spinach may not necessarily be beneficial to your cauliflower plant, but they offer good ground cover. They also take up different soil nutrients.
- Thyme, sage, and basil. These delicious herbs are great companions for cauliflower. Sage attracts pollinators, while thyme and basil help deter certain pests.
- Onions and shallots. These aromatic plants will keep pests at bay and also help to keep the soil loose to allow more nutrients to enter and travel to your crop.
- Believe it or not, planting mint near your cauliflower plants will improve their natural flavors. Mint will also deter certain bugs.
What Not to Plant Next to Cauliflower
As you’ve seen above, there are those plants that are extremely beneficial to helping with the growth and success of your cauliflower crop. However, there are some plants that you should avoid planting near cauliflower.
- These are the absolute worst you can do for your cauliflower. Strawberries attract slugs, snails, and other destructive pests.
- As mentioned above, peas are very bad neighbors for your cauliflower. Peas will stunt, or inhibit, the growth and production of your cauliflower.
- Tomatoes require a large amount of nutrients from the soil just as cauliflower does. Therefore, when you plant these too close to each other, they compete for nutrients.
- Pumpkins, Melons, and Corn. These plants are poor companions because they take too much sunlight. Though cauliflower likes cool weather, a balance is needed. With these larger plants, the amount of shade provided is too much. They, therefore, prevent your cauliflower from getting the amount of sunlight needed.
- Brussels sprouts, Cabbages, Broccoli, and Kale. Some farmers grow them together without issues while others have a hard time pairing them. This is because these plants share the same nutrients and resources. Therefore, they will compete with each other and may even attract harmful insects.
How to Grow Cauliflower
So, now you’ve got your garden plotted out and you know where you’re going to plant everything. It’s time to start thinking about actually planting and growing your cauliflower.
Cauliflower is a cooler climate plant. This means that, depending on where you live, it’s very important to plan your garden carefully. If you live in warmer climates, then plant your cauliflower in the fall for an early spring harvest.
For cooler climates, start your seeds indoors in the spring for a late summer planting for a fall harvest.
If you’re starting with seeds, then you will want to start them indoors in some peat about six weeks before the last expected frost. This may prove tricky but there are helpful local weather websites that may help you to determine the ideal time to begin growing your seeds.
You will also need to pay close attention to the seed packs when you purchase them because many seeds are specific on the time frames and temperature locations that are most ideal.
Care and Maintenance
When taking care of your cauliflower, be careful not to over-fertilize. Store-bought fertilizers can hurt more than they help, so do your research when you are looking at specific fertilizers.
Additionally, cauliflower prefers an even amount of moisture, so make sure they don’t dry out and also make sure you don’t over-water. A good tip is to use mulch to cover your soil to help keep it moist.
What to Watch Out For
Watch out for brown heads of cauliflower. This means your soil is boron deficient.
A quick fix for this is to dissolve 1 tablespoon of borax into a gallon of water and add it to your plants. When doing this, however, make sure you don’t get any of the companion plants with this mixture as it can be harmful to other plants.
Additionally, there are several plant diseases that can affect cauliflower. These include Black Rot, Club Root, Mosaic Virus, and White Rust. These are fairly easy to spot as they will cause discoloration and even rotting on your plant.
Pests are also a danger to your crop. The worst are aphids, cabbage worms, stink bugs, thrips, slugs, and cabbage moths.
This is where it is especially important to pay attention to your companion plants as many of the plants will help ward off harmful insects, while others may draw these pests to your garden.
Overall, the best way to keep your cauliflower plants healthy and happy is to make sure you’ve picked a good growing spot. One with good, partial sunlight.
Also, don’t over or under-water, and most importantly, pick good companions for your cauliflower. Best of luck to you and your bountiful harvest!