CAULIFLOWER (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis)
Plant Characteristics
Cauliflower is a winter vegetable belonging to the family Brassicaceae. It is mainly cultivated for its white tender head called 'curd'. It is a rich source of protein vitamin A and C, minerals like potassium, sodium, iron, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium.
Varieties
Pusa Early Synthetic, Himani, Swathi, Pusa Deepali, Early Patna, 74-6-C.
Seeds And Cultivation
Cauliflower can be grown during winter in high ranges. Well-drained sandy loam to clay loam soils are suited for the crop.
Since it is a cool season crop, sowing is to be done from Aug-Nov. Seed rate is 600-750 g/ha. Seeds are to be sown in nursery beds. Three to five week old seedlings are used for transplanting. Field is prepared by three or four ploughings. Seedlings are transplanted at a spacing of 60 x 45 cm.
In order to produce large curds, earth up the plant one month after transplanting.
Mulching with polythene increases the yield. Paddy husk can also be used as mulch where as straw mulch is not good.
Blanching is an important operation in cauliflower to get good quality curd. Curds are covered and tied with leaves to protect the heads from sun scorch and yellowing preventing the loss of flavour and attractiveness.The duration of blanching should not exceed 3-5 days in hot weather and 8-10 days in cool weather
Water Management
A continuous supply of moisture is necessary for proper development of curds.
Nutrient Management
Apply FYM or compost @ 25 t/ha and fertilizers @ 150:100:125 N:P2O5:K2O kg/ha. Apply full dose of P2O5 and half dose of N and K2O before transplanting and remaining N and K one month after transplanting
Weed Management
Very shallow hoeing should be dne to remove the weeds and to loosen the soil for better aeration.
Pest Management
Cabbage aphid,Diamond back moth and cut worms are the major pests. Spraying malathion at 0.1 per cent will control the damage. Diamond back moth is another major pest. IPM involving a trap crop, release of a parasitoid and application of neem seed kernel extract is recommended by IIHR against this pest. Bold seeded Indian mustard is the recommended trap crop. Spraying 4 per cent neem seed kernel extract once every three weeks is recommended. The parasitoid, Diadegma semiclausum may be released 10-15 days before or after neem seed kernel extract spraying and the number of releases have to be decided based on the degree of infestation.
Disease Management
Damping off,Phytophthora root rot, leaf spot and blight are the major fungal diseases affecting the cauliflower. To control the fungal diseases, treat seeds with ceresan or bavistin @2 g per kg of seed. Drench nursery beds with captan 0.1 per cent before sowing. Follow crop rotation and ensure good drainage
Harvesting
Cauliflower curds are harvested periodically before flower opening. Other wise flower stalks elongate and loose curds are formed.
Average Yield
Average yield of curd ranges between 20 and 35 tons per hectare.
MAIN PRODUCTION AREAS-Sonipat, Panipat, Gurgaon, Yamunanagar.