Gardening Magazine


By Chooksandroots @chooksandroots

For me, there’s not much that can rival a good cauliflower cheese. A healthy vegetable, dripping with a sauce so calorific it could power your street lights: what’s not to like?

So this year, I decided to have a go at growing some. Back in March, a tray of ‘Organic Goodman’ was sowed, and the seedlings appeared in no time at all. Out into the big wide garden they went, and I had a little bit of a smug moment as I surveyed my brassica patch. Oh yes indeedy, Brussels, purple sprouting broccolli, not one but three types of cabbage, and the piece de resistance… a row of caulis. I chucked in some fish and bone meal whilst planting, and was careful to firm them all in well: apparently brassicas don’t like to be blown about too much. It makes them insecure and upset.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the patch on my regular slug and caterpillar hunt, when my attention was drawn to the cauliflowers. Blow me down… they were only producing white heads. Amazed that I had some vegetables actually behaving and doing what it said in the book, I investigated further to see how best to tend to them.

Out came the gardening book, and I read to keep the heads white, they shouldn’t be exposed to sunlight.  I dutifully pulled up all the leaves to the top of the crown and secured them with string. Quite excited now, I looked forward to the day when the family asked eagerly, “What’s for dinner?” and I could nod sagely towards the garden, answering, “Cauliflower. Not cabbage”.

Leaving the trussed up caulis to do their stuff, I left them well alone. Imagine my surprise when I gently peeled back a couple of the leaves for a sneak peek last week.

diseased cauliflower

Something’s definitely ‘up’ with my caulis

Either something was eating them, or they had some sort of disease. Either way, they weren’t the firm, white heads I was anticipating. They were moth-bitten and scrawny; some no more than wizened black stumps -  and no amount of cheese sauce was going to magic them into a tasty side dish. Disappointed, I rootled round on the t’interweb, but drew a blank. Plenty of guesswork going on, but no definitive answer – I’m still none the wiser as to what killed them. The Mystery of the Cadaverous Cauli: that’s one in the eye for the Famous Five!

There was nothing for it – the whole row had to go. Not wanting to risk putting something disease-ridden in the compost bin, I gave them a decent send off in the household rubbish. I can’t bring myself to tell the family just yet…


I love the headlines the people at The Hinckley Times make up

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