–> Is cauliflower like broccoli in that after you cut off the head, smaller sprouts will appear? Nope.
No cauliflowerettes. Sorry.
–> So once I harvest the cauliflower, should I cut it all down and let it compost into the soil or plant something else there?
NO! Brassicas, includes cauliflower, brocs, kale, Brussels sprouts and collards, are not so good in the soil. Look at the bottom two paragraphs on broccoli at this link. Always remove their fallen leaves, and the plant when you are done with it. While it is still growing, you can grow another crop underneath by removing the lower leaves to allow light for the new plants to start. All Brassica leaves can be eaten like collard leaves – steamed, or tossed in a wok with oil, sprinkled with soy sauce or a sauce of your choice. If it is a plant you will remove, like cauliflower after it has headed, or you don’t need as many brocs and need room for summer plants, leave enough room so when you remove the Brassica, pulling its roots out doesn’t overly disturb the newly growing plants underneath. Brassicas are heavy feeders, so after you remove it, depending on what you have planted to take its place, you might incorporate a little manure and compost to beef up the soil again. Then if you like, you are ready to plant a new center plant, maybe a tomato, or a pepper!
–> My cauliflower had a nice tight head (small) and then seems to have sprouted. I’m not sure if it’s “flowering” or what. Can you take a look and tell me if I should let it grow or what to do. I’ve never grown one before, and I’m simply not sure what to do.
Your cauli looks like the variety that makes a conical green head called a Broccoflower, not the white type! It is said this ‘Green cauliflower is definitely something to try and is often said to have a much more satisfying taste than White cauliflower. It tastes of both broccoli and cauliflower – which helps to give it a sweet flavor. Green cauliflower can be cooked the same way as White cauliflower.’
I’m guessing yours is the center one in the image above. Here is some more info about it.
–> I’ve pulled out my cauliflower plants. Can I put peppers there now? Tomatoes?
Yes, put in some manure/compost first because caulies and peppers/toms are all heavy feeders. Put a handful of bone meal in the tomato planting hole, and worm castings if you have them, mix it up! Sprinkle mycorrhizal fungi on the roots as you set your plant in. Put small babies, lettuces, culinary dandelions, onions, garlic, basil, strawberries, around them, particularly on the side that gets the most sun. As the bigger plants grow up, remove a few of the lower leaves so everybody gets plenty of light. Basil is a companion for toms. Peppers grow perversely slowly, bless them, so let them get a little height before you put fast growers underneath. Lettuces thrive on manure and lots of water.
Happy Weekend Gardening & Harvesting!