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Cauliflower Clapton is the first commercially available cauliflower variety with clubroot resistance. It has a very erect habit and a well wrapped curd.
Clapton is a must for anyone who suffers with club root in their garden. It is a versatile variety for mid summer to late autumn maturity and depending on its sowing time, sowing to harvest will be approx 85 days. It produces large good flavoured heads on stocky plants.
Seeds of Clapton can be sown anytime from March to early June but if sowing outdoors, it’s advisable not to sow during the hottest and driest months of summer. Certain varieties can also be sown in October for over-wintering in the soil, Clapton is not one of these.
For best results sow under cover using seed trays or modular trays. The latter will ensure the plant’s roots are not disturbed, making for quicker growing and healthier plants. Use a seed compost to fill the trays and sow the seed sparingly over the surface of the compost. Cover the seeds with fine sifted compost or vermiculite to a depth of about 1cm then lightly tamp the surface using a flat compost presser. Gently water the seed boxes using a watering can with a fine rose attachment.
To speed up the germination process, seed trays can be placed into a propagation unit at a temperature of 21C (70F). All seeds should then germinate within 4-7 days. Once large enough to handle, transplant individual seedlings into 75cm pots and move to a cooler position with plenty of light. After about 10-14 days from transplanting to pots, and prior to planting into their permanent positions, move the seedlings into a cold frame, cloche or a sheltered area of the garden for a further 10-14 days so that they can become acclimatised.
Water the seedlings about an hour before transplanting. For seedlings grown outdoors, use a hand fork to loosen the soil around the seedlings taking care not to damage the delicate roots. Individual seedlings can be transplanted using a trowel or a furrow can be created using a string line and the edge of a hoe or spade. Space out the plants 60cm apart and 60cm between rows for large heads, and 30cm apart both ways for mini heads. Ensure the soil around the seedlings is well firmed down so plants are adequately supported.
Once your seedlings have been transplanted, water well with a watering can with a fine rose attachment.
General After Care
It’s important to water young plants regularly to ensure they do not dry out and to achieve an even and healthy growth rate. Remove any weeds, which grow between the plants and rows to discourage pests and maintain soil moisture. As plants become established a light sprinkling of general fertiliser every 2-3 weeks will help them develop healthy leaves and florets. However, avoid any fertilisers that contain high percentages of nitrogen as this will encourage excessive leaf growth at the expense or flower heads. A liquid vegetable fertiliser applied at every other watering is an excellent alternative.
It’s best to harvest Clapton cauliflowers whilst the heads are white and the florets are still tightly bunched. If left too late the florets will begin to grow apart and turn yellow then eventually brown. Cauliflower don’t keep for long and do not store well so it’s probably best to start harvesting some of the younger plants first, giving others time to fully grow. If the whole plant is uplifted and stored in a cool shed, they may keep for up 10 days.
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