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Cauliflowers - in a home garden in Kiev


We buy seeds to grow the cauliflowers in our home garden in Kiev, but we use our own seeds to grow tomatoes and peppers. To prepare the soil for cauliflowers we buy chicken litter (manure), and use biohumus which we make from our own organic garbage. We mix them both into the soil. We have 4.5 metres of garden so we do not need to use any special tools except for a regular shovel, rake, hoe, etc.

We never use chemicals to protect the plants from pests and we remove the weeds using a hoe. Due to the tiny size of the garden, we don't have serious insect problems. We regularly strew ash over the plants which is enough to keep the insects, mostly aphids, away. At the end of summer, the green caterpillar appears. We remove them by hand.

Slugs are the major scourge of our garden. To fight them, you have to put a wet piece of cloth on the ground and wait for the slugs to gather on it. Then you can just throw the material away.

Birds never bothered us but in recent times starlings - which we once considered a 'friend of the garden' because they help to fight insects - have become an enemy, banding into huge swarms and attacking the trees. I saw them with my neighbour's cherry tree. There were thousands of them and in a half an hour they had devastated the harvest from the whole tree.

Since cauliflowers can tolerate the cold, we water them by hose, in contrast to peppers and dill, which love warm water. We watch for the moment when the leaves start to divide on the head of the cauliflower, and then it is ready to harvest.

The first time we grew cauliflowers, we had such a huge harvest that it made up a significant portion of our vegetable supplies for the whole year. We ended up giving some to friends and neighbours. Eventually our children became so reluctant to even hear about cauliflowers, or see them, that they would just push it aside on their plates.

Cooking cauliflower

The usual method we use to prepare cauliflower is to boil it for 2-3 minutes then place in a dish and roast it with breadcrumbs and butter.

Cauliflower can also be preserved by placing in a can or jar with water, salt and citric acid, or just stored in the fridge.

Sophia and Dmitry Litvinyuk
Kiev, Ukraine
(translation: Roman Ravve)