Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea in the genus Brassica, which is in the Brassicaceae (or mustard) family.
It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head is eaten – the edible white flesh sometimes
called “curd” (with a similar appearance to cheese curd).
Cauliflower heads resemble those in broccoli, which differs in having flower buds as the edible portion. Cauliflower is one of the most important winter vegetables grow in India.
Climatic Requirements :-
The optimum monthly average temperature ranges from 15 to 20 °C. The early varieties require higher temperatures and longer day lengths.
Cauliflower is cultivated on any good soil from clay to loamy, but the fairly deep loamy soil is most desirable. Soils with high moisture-holding capacity are preferred in late season/summer since water stress adversely affects curd development.
In the rainy season, soils that dry rapidly are preferred so that the cultural and harvesting operations can be done easily.
It is sensitive to high acidity, and the optimum soil pH for maximum production is 5.5 to 6.0. Sowing Time
Early-season varieties are sown from May to August and ready to harvest from September to December. Main season varieties are sown from September to October. They are ready for harvest from December to January, while late-season varieties are sown from October to December and harvested from mid-January to April end.
Cauliflower Varieties :-
• Early season – Early kunwar, Early Synthetic, Pusa Katki, Pant Gobhi-2, Pant Gobhi-3, • Main season -Pusa Synthetic, Pant Shubhra, Punjab Giant-26, Punjab Giant-35 .
• late-season– Pusa Snowball-1, Pusa Snowball-2, Sonwball-16, Dania Kalimpong.
For cauliflower cultivation in an Early season: 600g-750 gm/ ha, mid and late season: 400-500gm/ha.
60 cm x 45 cm 00 gm/ha seed required.
Nursery Raising For Cauliflower Cultivation:-
Prepared raised bed for nursery a well rotten FYM or compost mix with soil at the rate 4 kg/m2. Make Nursery beds one meter wide and fifteen cm in height. After that, drench fungicide like Captan or Thiram at the rate of 2 g/l of water to prevent fungal diseases. The seeds should be sown in lines at a spacing of 8-10 cm between rows and 1.5-2 cm between seeds at a depth of 1.5-2 cm. The seed should be covered with sand and FYM mixture. Sowing of seed should be done at a distance of 8 to 10 centimeters between seedlings and 1.5-2 cm in the rows. Seeds should be covered with soil and FYM mixture.
Seedlings become ready for transplanting after 4 to 5 weeks. During planting, the distance between the two plants depends on the soil’s fertility, Cultivation season, and market demand. Generally, for the early season distance between plant to plant is 45 cm X 45 cm, and for the main season and late-season crop, 60 cm X 60 cm is maintained.
Manures & Fertilizers:-
8 to 10 tons of FYM per acre has to be incorporated into the soil before sowing. Green manuring crops before the main crop is also desirable. First Dose 6-8 DAT: 50:50:60 NPK kg per acre. Second Dose 20-25 DAT: 25:50:60 NPK kg per acre. Third Dose 40-45 DAT: 00:25:30 kg per acre. Boron & Molybdenum should be sprayed at curd initiation stage.
Irrigation – Drip irrigation
Irrigation is very critical during the growth and development of the plant but absolutely critical during the curd development stage.
Intercultural Operations In Cauliflower Farming:-
Weeding should be started as soon as the plants are set in the field. It should be shallow so as not to disturb the root system. To produce solid curds, cauliflower plants should be earthed up about 56 weeks after transplanting.
Special Cultural Practices:-
If the curds are exposed directly to bright sunlight, they lose some of their flavors and turn yellow; thereby, it a low-quality product. Only perfect, milky white or snow-white curds get a good price hence Blanching operation carried out. It consists of tying with twine or securing with a rubber band the tips of the outer leaves at the curd’s top. The curds should be left covered this way for a maximum of 45 days. This period can be extended to a week in severe winter or reduced to 23 days during hot weather.
Harvesting Of Cauliflower:-
Cauliflower crop is ready for harvest 90-120 days after planting.
Yield of Cauliflower:-
Cauliflower yield depends upon production season and breed varieties, for early varieties- approximately 6-t/ha is obtained while Midseason varieties yield 12-20 t/ha and for late variety, types are 20-30 t/ha obtained.