Cultivation of Cauliflower
Cauliflower ( Brassica oleracea Var. botrytis L) belongs to family Cruciferae is one of the most important winter vegetable crops of India.it is cultivated in Winter Season for its white tender head or curd formed by the shortened flower parts. The name cauliflower has originated from the Latin words “Caulis (meaning Cabbage), Tloris (meaning flower and botrytis (meaning budding). According to Liyar (1975), the cauliflower has originated around the Mediterranean Sea from the Wild Cabbage, Brassica Oleracea: Var. sylvestris, a native of the coastal region of Europe and Africa. It was introduced in India during the Mughal Period.
This is used as vegetables in curries, soups and to pickling. The excess cauliflower can be dried and preserved for use in off-season Cooked cauliflower contains a good amount of Vitamin B and a fair amount of protein in comparison to other vegetables.
Climate Requirement for Cauliflower cultivation
Cauliflower is also a cool-season thermosensitive crop therefore it is very important to choose the correct variety to be sown in the right time. it produce the best curd in a cool and moist climate. It is a delicate crop and gets damaged near harvest by freezing. The foliage of cauliflower can withstand snow, but the curd is damaged. The optimum monthly temperature is 15 to 20°C with an average maximum of 25°C and an average minimum of 8° C. The early varieties required high temperature and longer day length. Cauliflower curd do not develop well in hot weather. Dry hot weather cause the delay in maturity and increase the vegetative growth which may give rise to small and hard heads on the hand cool temperatures may induce the bolting ( Premature formation of seed stalks)
Soil & its preparation
Cauliflower can be grown on any good soil (i.e. Sandy loams, Silt loams, Clay loams). But fairly deep loamy soil is preferable for growing cauliflower. Sandy loams soil is suitable for early crop and loams and clay loams for late crops. Soil should be rich in organic matter and well-drained. The cauliflower is sensitive to high acidity. The optimum pH of the soil for maximum production should be between 5.5 and 6.5.
Aldrin or Heftaf or Heplachlor or chlorodane 5 per cent @ 10-15 kg per acre should be applied with the last preparatory tillage to cheek the termite or cutworm infestation.
Seed Rate ;
Early varieties; 600- 750 gms per hectare
Mid Early season varieties; 500 gms per hectare
Mid-late season Varieties; 400 gms per hectare
Late Varietes ; 300 gms per hectare
Cauliflower is a sensitive crop and the varieties are specific to season. Early varieties is sown late produce button head and late varieties is sown early will go on giving leafy growth and will produce curd very late. The cauliflower can be grouped into the following four groups .
Hybrids of cauliflower
Several cauliflower hybrids seed in bulk quantity are imported (10-20 tons/year) from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, China by the private companies. These hybrids are tropical to temperate types that is why cauliflowers are available round the year in India. Mostly these hybrids are based on CMS and some are extent SI based.
Sowing of Cauliflower seed
Cauliflower is generally propagated through seeds. Seeds are sown in well-prepared nursery beds. The nursery beds should be sterilized by formaldehyde or some fungicidal treatment. Seeds should also be treated with some mercurial fungicide to save young seedlings from damping off disease,
Sowing of cauliflower seed at proper time is very important. The cauliflower seed is sown according to the varieties in the following way:
Seed Treatment ;
For better germination dip the seed in hot water (50-degree Celsius) or streptocycline solution 0.01gms per litre of water for 4 to 5 hrs. For sowing in sandy soil treat the seeds with carbendazim 50% WP 3gms per Kg of seeds. Nowadays seeds companies are palletizing the seeds and pelleted seed cover helps in broaden the temperature range of germinating the seeds.
The uprooting and transplanting of seedlings is the same as for cabbage, The planting distance depends on soil fertility, variety, season and market demand. Planting distance according to the variety is given below:
Seedlings of early sown crop should be planted on low ridges, otherwise the heavy shower will destroy all the tender plants. According to the field experiments conducted by Singh et al. (1960), at Bichpuri, Agra (U.P.), it! was observed that the yield along with quality of cauliflower curds, was appreciably decreased with an increase in the age of seedlings. The plant produce heads prematurely when kept too long in the nursery bed.
Cauliflower requires very heavy manuring. Because it removes large quantities of major nutrients from the soil. Manuring practices differ in different region. It should be done as per following manner
(a) F.Y.M. or Compost: 25 to 30 tonnes per hactare. It should be applied during field preparation and mixed well with the soil.
(b) Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium @ 100-150 kg, 60-80 kg and 80 kg/ acre respectively. All quantity of Phosphatic and Potassium fertilizers and half of the nitrogenous fertilizers should be applied 5-7.5 cm deep on both sides of the line just before transplanting. The remaining half of nitrogenous fertilizers is applied as top dressing.
A physiological disorder in the cauliflower to boron deficiency which is known as “brown rot’ or ‘red rot’. Water-soaked concentric areas first develop on the stem and curd, resulting in browing, smaller incompletely developed curd which is bitter in taste. Such a disorder can be corrected by two sprays (i.e. first spraying about two weeks after transplanting and second spraying two weeks before head formation) of 0.3 to 0.4 percent solution of boron on the foliage of standing crop or applying 10-12 kg borax per hectare. Another physiological disorder which occurs due to deficiency of molybdenum is known as ‘whiptail’. Affected plant produce strap-like leaves. It occurs in acid soil and it can be corrected by application of about 2.5 to 3 kg of sodium molybdate per hectare or by liming the soil Liming raises the soil pH and increases the availability of molybdenum in the soil
Cauliflower is a shallow-rooted crop. Shallow frequent cultivation should be given to kill weeds and provide soil mulch. Weeding should be started as soon as plants are set in the field. The plant should be earthed up about four to live weeks after transplanting. Cauliflower is a delicious crop, requires good care. Like….
(1) The soil should be good and well manured.
(ii) Seedlings should not be kept too long in the nursery bed
(iii) Weeds should be controlled properly.
(iv) Regular and timely irrigation should be provided
(v) The only good quality seed of proper variety should be used.
Hand weeding is uneconomical, laborious and tedious. But the use of herbicides is more economical to control the weed. One day before transplanting of seedlings, the application of Pendimethalin (0.56 kg a.i./ha in 600-750 litres of water) followed by a hand weeding 40-60 days after transplanting effectively checks the weed population
Cauliflower needs very heavy irrigation. Irrigation should be given twice a week to early crops and once a week to late crops. At the time of head formation, the crop should be watered frequently. Irrigation at seven to ten days interval between December and January is highly recommended
Irrigation at the wrong time may cause problems like as head rot of cauliflower. Sprinkler, big gun, furrow and drip irrigation are used in cauliflower
Blanching is an essential operation to protect the heads from sun burning and yellowing, so that they may not lose part of the flavour and attractive appearance While the head is small, it is protected by inner leaves but later the head. exposed. The common practice is to bring the outer leaves up over the head and ties the tips of leaves with a twine or rubber band. This can also be done by breaking one of the outer leaves and covering the heads lightly with it for 2-3 days before harvesting to protect it from sun. This will induce milky white colour to the curd. This process is called Blanching and it should be done when heads has grown fully. The leaves should not left tied over for more than 4-5 days.
Pest and Diseases of Cauliflower
Diseases of cauliflower
Pest of Cauliflower;
High-grade cauliflower has a solid and compact head and is white in colour. Cauliflower should be harvested when the curd reaches a proper size and bright in colour. The head should be compact, but has not broken into segments. Harvesting is done as and when curds are well developed. The plant is cut off well below the head and leaves are timed with a knife. The leaves should be cut off about an inch above the head. The stubs thus left protect the curds from injury during transporting to the market. As the whole crop does not mature at a time, several cutting is necessary. Harvesting should be done either in the evening or early in morning so that the produce is not damage before it reaches to the market.
The harvesting time after transplanting varies according to the variety. Viz.
Early variety: 60-70 days
Midseason variety: 90-100
Late variety: 110-120
The yield of Cauliflower ;
The per acre yield of cauliflower varies according to the variety as follows:
Early Variety; 10-15 tonnes per hectare
Midseason variety; 20-25 tonnes per hectare
Late variety; 30- 35 tonnes per hectare
Cauliflower may be stored ordinarily in open for 2-3 days in winter, Cauliflower can be stored in cold storage for three to four weeks at 0° to 0.5°C with 90 -95 per cent relative humidity