Yellow Cauliflower Signs of a Harsh Growing Season

Yellow Cauliflower Signs of a Harsh Growing Season

This year was a disappointing year for my cauliflower and broccoli plants.  In Wisconsin, we received a heavy frost during the early growing season.

The frost and usually low temps during the months of May and June caused the cauliflower to turn a bright yellow.



In mid June, we went from an average temp of 60 degrees during the day, to a hot and humid, week of 90-98 degree weather. Mother nature didn’t want to cooperate.

After the 98 degree weather she decided that a week of unseasonable low temps during the day, with near freezing temps overnight was the correct thing to do.

The weather ironed out for the month of July.  By then, all the plants in the garden were shocked.  They didn’t know weather to grow, or go to seed.

My broccoli plants went to seed as well as my rhubarb plants. The cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, peas, dill, tomatoes, beans, peppers and cucumbers were left to chance.


Two weeks ago, I knew the fate of the cauliflower. It was shocked and grew yellow heads, instead of my crisp, clean white heads.  I decided I would allow it to take its course.  I only knew two reasons that it yellowed.  One, frost and two, too much direct sunlight. Since we had heavy doses of both and a yo-yo growing season it didn’t surprise me.


I was told by another gardener that the heads would be too bitter to eat.  Instead of heeding the warning, I went ahead and finished out the growing season for the plants anyway. Figured they were already taking up the space in the garden and who knows, maybe, they would not taste all that bad.

This morning I harvested the heads.  I could see over the weekend, one of the heads went past it’s prime.  Normally, you pick the cauliflower when the flowerettes are tightly packed.  Unlike this one pictured.

I pulled out each plant and then cut the heads of off it.  When I was finished cutting the heads off the plants, I transferred them to a large bowl and then tossed the remaining portion of the plant into the garbage.

We do have compost piles but I chose not to use it for a valid reason.  I figure any plant that has had a problem, is a plant to discard.  I don’t want the plant decomposing and becoming part of next years soil.  Why invite a problem back next year?


In the house I washed the heads off.  Here is where I wish life come with a rewind button!  I popped a large piece of cauliflower into my mouth and bit down a few times. Oh my, I have NEVER in my life tasted something so bitter.  Here it is 3 hours later and the taste still haunts me.  Not recommended.  Take my advice.  Please.

On the plus side the cucumbers, dill, peppers, squash and beans are all growing well.  I have eaten all of them and the taste is out of this world.

I’ve been making all sorts of dishes with the cucumbers and dill.
Creamy Cucumber Salad
Refrigerator Pickles
Cucumber Dill Mini Rye Bread Appetizers


The tomatoes are plentiful, but have not ripened yet.  The Brussels sprouts fate are up in the air.  Another month before I could even tell how they turned out.

The peas are long gone.  They never stay around long in our household.  Everyday, I had two pea pickers, aka, my children out in the garden looking for pods. I would venture to say they were good.  I didn’t get many to take in the house.

Now let’s hope that the tomatoes ripen.  I am looking forward to making salsa and spaghetti sauce.  With the abundance growing currently, it looks like that could become a reality.

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  1. Excellent line up. We are going to be linking to this fantastic write-up on our web site.

  2. I couldn’t resist commenting because I too can attest to the bitter taste. Haha!

  3. Rosalia Gordillo

    June 8, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    We have been in a drought here. I figured that my broccoli was no good anymore but needed confirmation. Thanks for the post.

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