Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea botrytis) comes from the Latin caulis, which means "stalk," and floris, for "flower." Since the term "kale" is also related to caulis, the name could also be translated as kale flower or cabbage flower. The name is a nod to the fact that cauliflower is an unusual plant in a family which is cultivated for edible greens, not flowers. The plant is of Mediterranean origin, and tends to prefer cool, moist climates. It is cooked, steamed, stir fried or pickled.
(Source: Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Agricultural Research, Date accessed 24 March 2014)
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Climatic and Soil Requirements
Cauliflower requires an average moisture of 15-35 mm/week and is sensitive during early seedling or just after planting and during curd development.
Most varieties grow well in mid and high elevations during the dry season. Some varieties may perform well during the wet season in these areas. In low elevations, some varieties also perform well especially during the dry cool months.
These crops can be planted in most soils but clay loam to sandy loam are best.
Thorough land preparation is done prior to transplanting. Prepare the land thoroughly by plowing and harrowing several times. Make sure that the field is well pulverized and free from farm weeds. In high elevations, prepare beds 0.75 to 1.0 m wide.
Prepare 1m wide seedbeds at any convenient length. One hectare would require 50-70 meter square of seedbed. Incorporate manure and rice hull ash or wood ash. Line sow 280 g/ha of seed with furrows across the bed 7 to 10 cm apart. Sow thinly to prevent damping-off. Mulch with rice hull or grass clippings and water regularly. Provide nylon net tunnel as shade and rain barrier. Spray with pesticides when needed. Expose to full sunlight one week before transplanting. The seedlings are ready four weeks from sowing.
Water the seedbeds and gently uproot the seedlings. Transplant in rows 0.5 to 0.75 cm apart and 0.3 to 0.5 m between plants. Apply basal fertilizer at 10g 14-14-14/hill. Irrigate before and after transplanting.
Mulch with rice straw, rice hull or plastic to prevent weed growth and conserve soil moisture. It is best also to intercrop with bunching onion, bulb onion, garlic, kutsai, tomato, marigold, and other crops to minimize insect pests
Nutrient and Water Management
Side-dress with urea (46-0-0) at the rate of 5 to 10g / plant 2-3 weeks after transplanting. Repeat side-dressing at 35 and 45 days after transplanting with 10g/hill of 2:1 mixture of 46-0-0 and 0-0-60. Fertilize only after weeding. In some areas, boron fertilizer may be needed.
During the dry season, irrigate before transplanting. Repeat every 7 to 10 days (furrow irrigation) or 2 to 3 times per week (sprinkler irrigation). Mulching helps minimize irrigation frequency.
Pest and Disease Management
1. Damping off
Recommendation: Avoid overcrowding and too much watering in seed beds; drench with Captan Solution
2. Black Rot
Recommendation: Spray fungicides at the onset of disease; Crop rotation
3. Soft Rot
Recommendation: Remove and bury infected plants; crop rotation
1. Cabbage Looper
Recommendation: Spray with hot pepper/tobacco extract, or pesticides
2. Cabbage webworm
Recommendation: Spray with hot pepper extract or pesticides
Recommendation: Spray with soap solution or pesticides
Curds should be harvested as soon as they reach the proper market size and before discoloration begins. This is approximately 60 days after planting. During harvest, include portions of stem and leaves. Avoid exposing the produce to full sunlight.
Source: Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Agricultural Research, Date accessed 24 March 2014