Cauliflower is a cool-season crop and a descendant of the common cabbage. It is more difficult to than its relatives because it does not tolerate the heat or cold as well. For this reason, cauliflower is usually grown commercially.
If you plant to attempt growing cauliflower in the home garden, it requires consistently cool temperatures with temperatures in the 60s. Otherwise, it prematurely “button”—form small button-size heads—rather than forming one, nice white head.
Climate and soil requirement for growing Cauliflower
Cauliflower grows well on wide range of soils from sandy loam to clay. The optimum pH is between 6.0 and 7.0. Cauliflower is a thermo sensitive crop and temperature plays an important role influencing vegetative, curding and reproduction phases of a plant. The optimum temperature of growth for young seedlings is around 230C which at later growing stage drops to 17-200C. The tropical cultivars grow even at 350C. However, temperate cultivars grow well between 150C to 200C.
Improved Cauliflower varieties
1. Pusa Snowball-1 (1994)
Outer leaves are upright, and inner leaves cover the curd initially. The curd is compact, medium-sized and snow white. The curd is ready for harvest in about 100 days after transplanting. Curd yield is 90 q/acre.
2. Pusa Snowball K-1 (1994)
Outer leaves are upright, and inner leaves cover the curd tightly. The curd is compact, snow white and slightly raised in the center. The maturity is late by one week than Pusa Snowball-1. Curd yield is 90 q/acre.
Agronomic Practices for Cauliflower cultivation
Sowing and Seed Rate
The best transplanting time is June-July for the early varieties, August to mid-September for the main season varieties and October to the first week of November for the late varieties. The seed rate for main and late season varieties is 250g per acre, whereas, for early season varieties 500 g seed is required.
To check bolting and buttoning, sow the recommended varieties at their proper time. To minimize mortality of early sown nursery and transplanted crop, apply a heavy dose of well rotten farmyard manure and irrigate frequently. Protect seedlings in the nursery beds against sun stroke with sarkanda thatch. Transplant seedlings in a cool ‘wattar’ field in the afternoon and irrigate immediately.
The spacing for the main-season crop is 45 x 45 cm and 45×30 cm for early and late-season crops.
Manures and Fertilizers for Cauliflower
40 tons of farmyard manure, with 50kg of N (110kg of Urea), 25 kg of P2O5 (155 kg of Single Superphosphate) and 25 kg of K2O (40kg of Muriate of Potash) per acre is the optimum fertilizer dose for all these varieties. Apply whole of farmyard manure, P2O 5 and K2O and half N before transplanting and the remaining half of N as top-dressing four weeks after transplanting.
Apply Basalin 45 EC (fluchloralin) @ 750 ml per acre 4 days before transplanting the seedlings. Herbicide should be thoroughly incorporated into the soil with the help of light harrowing. It should be supplemented by one hoeing after 30-40 days of transplanting. Stomp 30 EC (pendimethalin) 1 liter/acre or Stomp 30 EC 750 ml followed by one hoeing 35 days after transplanting can also be used. Stomp should be applied one day before transplanting the seedlings in the moist soil conditions.
Irrigation of Cauliflower
First irrigation should be given just after transplanting. Subsequent irrigations can be given at an interval of 7-8 days during summer and 10-15 days during winter depending upon soil type and weather. The total number of irrigations required are 8-12.
Harvesting of Cauliflower
The curds should be harvested at the marketable stage. Delay in harvesting causes loosening of the curd. The curds should be sent to markets in baskets after proper grading and packing.
For seed production crop is grown just like the market crop. After curd formation seed of early and main season varieties can be produced in the plains, however, the seed of late-season varieties can only be produced in the hills because during flowering and seed setting stage moderate temperature is available in the hills. To produce genetically pure seed, the off-type plants must be removed thrice during vegetative phase, curd formation stage and flowering stage. An isolation distance of 1600 meter should be kept between different cole crops and different varieties of cauliflower. When pods turn brown, they should be harvested two or three times. After curing they should be thrashed and cleaned.
- Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana.
- The Old Farmer’s Almanac.