Best Method To Grow Cauliflower
General Description of Cauliflowers
Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea) is one of the most common vegetables found in India. The edible part of this vegetable is actually its shoot system known as ‘curd’. It has short internodes, branches, apices and bracts.
The part of this vegetable which is edible is approximately 45% of the vegetable as purchased. It is rich in minerals such as potassium ,sodium , iron, calcium, etc.
It has high quality of proteins and is stable of Vitamin C after cooking.
There are some states which produce large quantities of cauliflower. These are Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana , Rajasthan,Bihar, Maharashtra , Odisha and Karnataka.
Suitable Climatic Requirements
Basically Cauliflower is a cool season vegetable . It is one of the most important winter vegetables grown in India. The best curd produces in cool and moist climate conditions.
It has a wide range adaptation to diverse climatic conditions . The optimum temperature for young plants is around 23°C. In later stages the most favorable ones are 17-20°C . The tropical ones show growth even at 35°C . The early varieties may even tolerate high temperatures. The lower temperatures ranging from 5°C to 28-30°C are needed for transition from vegetative to curdling phases.
If the temperature is higher or lower than the optimum temperature required for curd formation of the cultivars, it may cause disorders.
Suitable Soil For The Cauliflower
Cauliflower can be grown in all types of soil with good fertility and good regime .It is best cultivated on any soil from clay to loamy. Deep loamy soil is the most desirable. High moisture holding soils are preferred in late seasons.
Cauliflower likes to grow in full sun and rich, moist, well -drained soil with a pH between 6 and7. The soil is left to loosen it to a depth of 12-15 inches . Cauliflower is more sensitive to deficiency of boron and molybdenum and it has a high requirement of magnesium. The deficiency of magnesium may quickly appear in acid soils. High pH can reduce the availability of Boron.
Best Sowing Time of Cauliflower
The best time to sow the seeds depends on the Varity, climate , temperature and other requirements for curd formation.
The cauliflower varieties are grouped into three categories:
- Early season
- Mid season
- Late season
The early season varieties are sown from MAY to AUGUST and are ready to harvest from SEPTEMBER to DECEMBER. The main season ones are sown from SEPTEMBER to OCTOBER. They are ready to harvest from DECEMBER to JANUARY , while the later varieties are sown from OCTOBER to DECEMBER and are harvested from mid JANUARY to APRIL end.
Best Suitable Varieties of Cauliflower (You can consider as per your local temperature requirement)
|Pant gobhi-2 pant gobhi-3
Seed Rate for Cauliflower
For early season cauliflower– 600 to 750gm
For main and late season cauliflowers – 400 to 500gm.
Yu can grow soil less seedling in tray with the help of cocopit & vermi compost. (We will further publish how to grow soil less seedlings.)
Best suggested spacing for the Cauliflower
Early season crop: 45 x 30 cm
Mid and Late season crop: 60 x 45 cm
You can grow in paired row plantation in raised bed along with drip irrigation laterals. This will reduce your further water requirement.
Days of Transplanting
Cauliflower seedlings get ready for transplanting in 4 to 5 weeks. The plant’s spacing is done according to the market demand and fertility of the soil.
Weed Control and Intercultural operations
Weeds are competitors of crops which go hand in hand with the growth of plants and may hamper in their growth and productivity, so it’s important to remove the weeds from the seed bed and surrounding areas.
Early weeds can be controlled by doing shallow cultivation by hoe or khurpi not more than 3 to 6 metres as it could harm the plant and also mulching of the soil. Soon after transplanting the crops you should start weeding and the soil should be slightly earthen after 4 to 5 weeks of transplantation.
Manure and fertilizer
Manure and Fertilizer requirements depend upon the fertility of the soil in which the crop is cultivated, so it is recommended to test the soil before you start farming.
Add 150-200 q/ha of farmyard manure in the soil and mix it before transplanting.
For optimum yield of crops, it is provided with 200 kg of Nitrogen, 75 kg of Phosphorus and 75 kg of Potassium per hectare area of the field.
Inter Cultivation of Crops
The intercultural operations should be done regularly for better growth and aeration of the cauliflower plant. This also helps to keep the crop free from weeds. It may sometimes happen that during the rainy season , the roots of the plants in the ridge.
may get exposed ,which will require proper earthing. After the earthing is done , dressing of nitrogenous fertilizers should be done for proper and healthy growth of the crop.
Blanching is considered as an important step in cauliflower cultivation to prevent the curds from yellowing as it is exposed to direct sun. The curd may even sometimes lose its flavor due to this exposure. In some varieties, the curd is covered by inner whorls . This is called self-blanching.
Irrigation of the Cauliflower
Irrigation is given just after transplanting and then it depends upon weather conditions, soil type and variety of crops. Depending upon the soil, climatic conditions, irrigation is applied at intervals of 4-6 days in summer season and 7-8 days during winter season. If you uses drip irrigation you can use to irrigate on daily basis as per plant growth period. You can also provide growth promoter nutrients directly root zone of the plant by ventury method.
Micro Irrigation on Cauliflower
Drip irrigation is an alternative method used nowadays that is potentially more efficient than overhead watering. Semi-permanent overhead watering is the most common type of irrigation system for vegetable production. Using drip irrigation, it potentially leads to reduced water application without reducing any yield. Drip irrigation decreases any type of irrigation run-off and nutrient leaching, and also helps in reducing soil erosion and any nutrient losses into the environment.
Plant Protection For Cauliflower
Pest protection of cauliflowers is very important as there are many insect pests that can harm them.
Some of them are:
- cabbage worms
- flea beetles
- cabbage root maggots
- cabbage aphids
Row covers help in the protection of young plants of the crop from common pests like cabbage worms, root maggots and flea beetles.
Cabbage worms can be removed by traditional method of hand picking, aphids can be removed by simply streaming a gulp of water followed by neem oil. Slugs and Snails are killed with bait.
Some other important Insect Pests include:
- Tomato fruit borer
- leaf eating caterpillars
- leaf miner
Diseases of Cauliflower
Disease control is the major task of any vegetable farming. Cauliflower has a range of diseases.
Some of the important diseases are:
- Stalk Rot
- Downy mildew
- Black Rot
- Grey and black leaf spot
- Damping off
These diseases can be controlled by adding proper fertilizer and understanding the symptoms and causes of the disease. You can contact the horticulture department to get the preventive methods. (On our further article we will let you know the complete solution of disese & pest on cauliflower.)
Physiological Disorders of Cauliflower
Cauliflowers suffer from a number of disorders. Some of them are as follows:- Riceyness, Leafiness, fuzziness, etc. They manifest some disease syndromes in the crop.
Riceyness-In this case the peduncle elongates and the curd becomes granular and loose.It can be controlled by cultivating genetically pure seed of appropriate varieties with recommended cultural practices.
Fuzziness- The leafy floral bracts of the bud or flower during this disorder elongates in length giving a velvety or hairy appearance to the surface of the curd.
Leafiness- This disorder is commonly seen where small thin leaves are formed from the curd which reduces the quality of curd.Certain varieties are more sensitive to leafiness or bracketing than others. It can be controlled by selecting such types of varieties which can adapt in the environment.
Browning of the curd- Due to Oxidation, it causes Brown Spots which is caused by deficiency of Boron that is influenced by pH of the soil.
Cost Economics on Cauliflower (Only with micro Irrigation)
|Economics of Crop cultivation under Micro Irrigation:
|Primary tillage operations
|Tractor / Rotavator
|Seed & seedling preparations
|Seed Tray + Seed + Vermi Compost + cocopit
|FYM / Compost
|DAP + Urea + Potash
|Insecticides, Pesticides & Spraying
|Irrigation & Electricity
|Total Variable cost
|Investment on MIS
|Interest on MIS value @ 18%
|Depreciation @ 10%
|Maintenance @ 5%
|Total Fixed Cost
|Total Cost (A+B)
Harvesting, Yield and Storage of Cauliflower
Harvesting of the crops is done as soon as the curd attains right maturity. When they are compact, with white colour of the curds it is maintained. If the harvesting is delayed, the curds become over mature and their quality will deteriorate and may turn loose, leafy, ricey or fuzzy. The over mature curds should be sorted out while sending them to the market. The curds are cut off stalks below the curd with a sharp cutting knife or sickle for the harvesting process.
The plant yield varies greatly depending upon the variety of crops, its maturing time, group and season. Early maturing crops produce an average yield of 80-120 q/ha and the late maturing plants give the highest yield of 300- 350 q/ha, because of the highly compact curds and larger plant population per unit area.
Cauliflower can be stored successfully at 0°C and 90-95% RH for 2-4 weeks.
Cauliflower cultivation practices can be done properly by selecting appropriate planting time and using proper spacing between crops. Plant spacing and different Nitrogen levels affect the growth and yield of the crop when applied at various stages of the plant. This review significantly highlighted the proposed subject in a very brief way to emphasize its use as food for humans and for animals as well