This section is from the book "The American Garden Vol. XI", by L. H. Bailey. Also available from Amazon: American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants.
The cauliflower prefers a deep, mellow, loamy soil, one that has not been previously occupied by any rapid growing crop, and it should be given a good dressing of thoroughly decayed stable manure, plowed under as deeply as possible. A thorough harrowing should then be given so as to level the ground. Mark off into rows two and a-half feet apart each way. At each intersection a good handful of some concentrated fertilizer is scattered and thoroughly intermixed with the soil by means of the hoe; at the same time a slight hill is formed in the center of which the plants are to be placed.
The crop should be planted just before or after a rain, care being taken to remove the plants carefully from the seed-bed. In planting, set the plant down to the seed-leaf, no matter how long the stems may be, and firm the soil well around the roots.
I find it to be very satisfactory to make at least three successive plantings, one about the 4th of July, another about the 15th, and the remainder of the crop some 10 days later, equal quantities of each variety being set at each plantation. After growth commences, the plants should be well cultivated. At each hoeing let a little fresh earth be drawn up around the plants. As soon as the heads commence to form in September, turn a few of the outside leaves over the heads; by so doing they will grow more compact and white.
The plants can be obtained by sowing the seed on a nicely prepared border about the 10th of May. The seeds should be sown very thinly, in drills about a foot apart. Cover slightly, and just as soon as the young plants make their appearance, they should be dusted with soot or tobacco dust to prevent the attack of the flea-beetle.
For this late crop, the Large Algiers and Thorburn's Nonpareil are the varieties usually employed. - Chas. E. Parnell, Queens, N. Y.