Real Men Sow

I’ve got the Cauli-Power

me and my first cauliflower

I haven’t blogged properly for a couple of weeks, so I thought I better get back in the swing of things.

The allotment has been somewhat neglected over the fortnight in favour of bike rides, but it’s that time of year when the plot is being put to bed for the winter, so I’ve only been making fleeting visits for harvesting.

Things move slowly at the moment – or so I thought. Maybe it is the unusually mild November temperatures, but out of nowhere this beauty of a cauliflower has appeared.

I’ve never been able to grow caulies before. Research tells me they have a reputation for being tricky to grow, so when I saw the caulie pictured I was as excited as Bizkit the sleepwalking dog.

Basking in cauliflower success, there’s a big part of me that feels like I’ve finally made it. I’ve joined the big boys. I want to run around with it above my head like the Olympic torch shouting ‘Look what I’ve done! Look what I can do! I AM PREMIER LEAGUE!

I want the allotment show to be this weekend so I can rip up the cauliflower section, and a Norwegian commentator can tell the assembled crowd that ‘Boss Man Ron, Neat and Perfect Man, Merv the Pumpkin King, Power Station Andy, your boys took a hell of a beating!

Except I’m not that confident just yet. Or competitive. Vegetable shows scare me to be honest. And the old boys have grown more veg than I’ve eaten hot dinners. Remember your respect, you little upstart!

The cauliflower weights in at a chunky 4lb 14oz, which incidentally is bigger than any fish I’ve ever caught. As my mate Alastair said, “Thats gotta be a lakeful of cheese sauce going over that MOFO.”

And when Ailsa gets back from blogging at the <shamelessplug forthemissus>National Cancer Research Institute 2010 conference</shamelessplugforthemissus> on Wednesday, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.


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  1. Sarah (@Soggous)November 11, 2010 at 7:53 pmReply

    That’s one massive cauli. My kids shouted “Wow that’s so cool”. You should feel honoured.

    BTW, is that a tiny snail crawling up the back of the cauli? Where did it go? …

  2. Jono

    JonoNovember 11, 2010 at 10:05 pmReplyAuthor

    Haha, thanks Sarah. I am indeed honoured.

    Fortunately, I did notice the snail – and all his mates – he brought an army with him. Oh well, better than having them on my plot I suppose!

  3. susieq100November 27, 2010 at 9:12 amReply

    Wow – I have been trying to grow cauliflower for 3 years – mine get to tennis ball size and then bolt. What is the secret of your success?

  4. Jono

    JonoNovember 27, 2010 at 7:35 pmReplyAuthor

    Hi Susie.

    I wish I could tell you the secret, but I haven’t worked it out yet!

    I’ve been trying caulies for three or four years myself, and this is the first year of success.

    I did tie the leaves over the crowns when they got started to form for protection, and also pulled out any plants as soon as they started to go ropey. This just left the good ones.

    The other thing was that they were planted near to loads of African marigolds, which helped keep the whitefly away.

    Hope that helps.

  5. Real Men Sow / a cheery allotment blog » Blog Archive » Ten Tips When Planning the PlotFebruary 7, 2011 at 2:09 pmReply

    [...] Leave space for successional sowing. One thing that I’ve vowed to get better at this year is sowing seeds so that I have a steady stream of veg through the year, rather than all at the same time. Instead of planting full rows, I’m going to sow in thirds, three weeks apart, so I get veg at a steady pace. I cannot eat that amount of cauliflower again… [...]

  6. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » What is it With Spring Onions?June 8, 2011 at 6:01 pmReply

    [...] proud to have managed some toughies, like cauliflowers and sweet potatoes, but the humble spring onion? Not on your [...]

  7. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » When Vegetables Defy Logic – Am I Actually Needed on the Plot??March 10, 2012 at 10:30 pmReply

    [...] My best ever cauliflower followed this path too. I’d almost forgotten about it, giving all my attention to summer staples instead. Then, out of nowhere, a massive cauli head appeared. [...]

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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During 2011, I kept a diary of how much money I save from growing my own fruit and vegetables. After totalling all my outgoings, I saved approximately £500 over the year. I made a spreadsheet to calculate these savings - it’s nothing too complicated, as I’m no Excel guru, but hopefully someone else will find it as useful (and strangely fun) as me. For more info, visit my Money Saving Experiment page by clicking here.


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