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Selecting plants to save: Choose plants that have the traits you want to carry over for the following year - this may mean not eating your best heads of cauliflower, in order to use them for their seeds! Alternately, you can plant specific cauliflower specifically for harvesting seeds. Allow selected cauliflower head to mature. It will flower and produce seed pods.
Harvest plant: Once the pods are dry on the plant, remove plant from the ground.
Dry: Hang cauliflower to dry for about two weeks.
Extract seeds: Remove dried pods from plant and break them open with your fingers over a bowl to catch the seeds. Collect seeds and store.
Label and Store: Cauliflower seeds remain viable for up to 5 years.
Cauliflower does best in cold climates and temperature has a significant impact on seed production. Cauliflower should be planted such that the plant faces its coldest temperature when it has matured. Sow in early to mid-fall, so that maturity occurs in late fall and flowers bloom in early winter.
Cauliflower is pollinated by bees, making isolation an important concern for those interested in saving seed. For instance, cauliflower will easily cross with Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and kale. To preserve the integrity of your cauliflower seeds separate broccoli from other members of Brassica oleracea (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, collards, kale) by at least 1000 meters.
Cauliflower does not produce flowers after heads are harvested. Therefore, we recommend planting several plants just for seed production. These will require less space, water, and nutrients, as small heads will still produce plenty of seed for your next season!
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