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Cauliflower: Varieties, Planting, Cultivation And Care, Storage

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The amazing medicinal properties of cabbage were known 5000 years before our era. In ancient Rome it was ascribed magical properties and used in rituals and the treatment of diseases. In the early modern era, cabbage came to Russia via the Germans and Celts. The famous vegetable became popular because of its availability and pronounced medicinal properties.

Cauliflower: varieties, planting, cultivation and care, storage
Colored cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis). © ctmarie3

Cauliflower useful properties

Cauliflower along with potatoes occupy the first place in the diet of the vast majority of families. It is distinguished by its high fiber content. Cabbage and its varieties are a source of the main vitamins of group "B", "C", very rare for vegetable crops "K" and "U". Cabbage is famous for its high content of tocopherol, niacin, rutin, biotin, the elements: potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc and others. Thanks to fiber, cabbage absorbs products of alcoholic beverages and purifies the blood, and anthocyanins and phytoncides relieve the effects of radiation.

The culture is particularly distinguished for its useful medicinal, dietary and gustatory properties. This group of vegetables contains valuable amino acids, pectins, malic and citric acids, vitamins and other substances that make it an irreplaceable foodstuff. Cabbage, in all its forms, is a good prophylactic agent for cancer of various origins. Sulfur and chlorine present in cabbage in the form of compounds, purify the walls of the digestive tract.

Colored cabbage, affects carbohydrate and fat metabolism, is involved in hematopoiesis and the formation of bone tissue. Undigested cabbage is a good laxative, overcooked is a fixative. It can be used as an anthelmintic if you infuse the seeds in boiling water and take on an empty stomach. The crop is used in dietetics, cooking, and cosmetology. The main property that makes it indispensable for a large part of the population is its hypoallergenicity. For food allergy sufferers it is the only source of vitamins and other substances the body needs.

Let's take back to the garden cauliflower

Scientifically sound nutrition norms, cabbage in the daily diet accounts for 1/4 part. In a year the norm of vegetable production averages 122 kg, in which the share of cabbage is 34 kg per person, of which 29 kg of white cabbage and only 2 kg of cauliflower and that mostly by the inhabitants of big cities are consumed. At the same time, it is the types and varieties of this vegetable crop that supply the earliest open field production.

Duration and ripening of the crop of varieties and hybrids of cauliflower

Times of maturity the crop is divided into groups:

  1. Early varieties and hybrids. The group includes early-ripening varieties with a period from sprouting to head maturity of 90-100 days.
  2. Medium varieties and hybrids combine medium-early, medium-ripening and medium-late.
    1. The medium-early ones form a biological yield in 105-126-135 days.
    2. The medium-early ones form a yield in 110-136-145 days.
    3. The medium-late ones are 146-159 days.
  3. Late cauliflower varieties and hybrids form a yield in 160-170 days. There are some varieties with vegetation in 170-230 days.
Cauliflower: varieties, planting, cultivation and care, storage
Cauliflower on a bed. © MarisaPerez

Cauliflower varieties

Early (early maturing)

The most common early maturing cauliflower varieties in private vegetable production are Early Gribovskaya 1355, Movir 74, Fruernite, Moscow early maturing, Snowflake.

Fruernite forms the largest heads up to 5 kg among the listed varieties. Movir 74 and early Gribovskaya require regular watering. Movir 74 is heat-tolerant and cold hardy.

Snowflake and Snowball are early maturing cauliflower varieties (90-120 days).

The earliest produce is Snowball early (Denmark), in 55-60 days.

Amfora hybrid is suitable for home cultivation in Russia from the later breeding.

Garantee variety is usually grown in the warm period in the open ground, and closer to the middle regions under film shelters.

Please pay attention to the cauliflower variety Dachnitsa. It is characterized by a very extended period of technical yield formation, which is very convenient for personal consumption. The period of biological yield varies from 80-100 days.

Coleman is a variety for hot climates. Forms a harvest on 90-105 days.

Montano is suitable for fans of Dutch varieties. Recommended for growing under cover (film, spandbod and other materials).

Medium (medium-early, medium-early, medium-late)

The most common varieties of this breeding are Guarantee, Otechestvennaya, White ball, White beauty, Moscow canning, Goodman, Lateman.

The White beauty is distinguished by high yields, a beautiful delicate taste. Variety of cauliflower Domestic amateurs stand out for its resistance to temperature fluctuations. Moscow canning is designed for open and closed ground of Russia in the European part and Siberia.

The relatively young varieties cauliflower Goodman and Lateman are zoned since 2000 for home plots of the North-West, Central, Central Black Earth and for some areas of the West Siberian regions. The growing season is only 105 days. Lateman varieties are also valued for their resistance to adverse weather conditions, low lesion of bacteriosis, kila, fusarium.

Late (mid-late and late-ripening)

The varieties of this selection require a long warm period. They are grown mainly in the south of the Russian Federation. Of the most common by dacha owners are used late-ripening varieties cauliflower Adler winter 679, Adler spring, Sochi.

Adler winter 679 is designed for the Krasnodar region.

Andes - Dutch selection and Magellan Dutch selection varieties (medium-late and late) are suitable for rearing in greenhouse or other sheltered conditions.

Skywalker refers to late maturing Dutch cauliflower hybrids specially for moderate climate. © Happily Occupied Homebodies

Basic rules for getting high yields of cauliflower

Many gardeners complain that they cannot get a quality crop of cauliflower at home: the heads are small, the bush is elongated, the taste is bitter, etc.

To avoid trouble it is necessary:

  • seed cauliflower only regional varieties,
  • before buying familiar with the climatic characteristics of the area (duration of daylight hours, rainy and dry periods, frosts) and to select regionalized varieties.
  • Study the biological features of the crop and the requirements of the variety or hybrid for growing, including type of soil, intensity and frequency of watering, provision of nutrients),
  • seeding in the open field only healthy seedlings.

Brief biological characteristics

Colored cabbage refers to the subspecies of cabbage vegetable (cabbage heads). Its biological characteristic is its one-year cycle of development. During the vegetation period (unlike cabbage) the crop forms a crop at technical and biological ripeness. The root system is taprooted. Requires constant moisture in the root layer. Stem is cylindrical, up to 70 cm in height; some varieties form lateral shoots. If the stem is high, supports are necessary.

Productive organ is set in dense bunches 3-15 cm long. At technical maturity it is represented as a head of shortened shoots with inflorescence buds. If harvesting is delayed, elongated seeded shoots with seeds are formed. Harvesting at technical ripeness lasts 18-35 days.

Key requirements for cauliflower growing

Brightness

Cauliflower is very light loving, especially after sprouting and during the initial period of growth in the open ground. In shaded areas the stem is elongated, the heads are formed loose, rough, prone to frequent diseases. Prolonged daylight hours quickly lead to seed formation.

Temperature regime

To obtain a qualitative crop of cauliflower it is necessary to observe heat and watering regime. The crop cannot tolerate prolonged cold, below +10 °C. The optimum temperature from the germination phase to the formation of the heads is +15...+18 °C. A higher temperature delays the development of inflorescences. The combination of low humidity with high temperature and their sharp fluctuations has a particularly negative effect.

Soil conditions

Colored cabbage requires a high agrotechnical background. To avoid the formation of deformed heads, soil acidity must be neutral with a high supply of nutrients. Given the high need for nutrients, during the growing season the crop needs several fertilizers, including micronutrients. Especially important are boron, copper, molybdenum, and magnesium. Be careful! Do not use potassium chloride for cauliflower.

Cauliflower: varieties, planting, cultivation and care, storage
Cauliflower seedlings. © Natalie Shocklee

Cauliflower Growing Agrotechniques

Cauliflower crops will always be of high quality if the agrotechnical requirements are followed. To have fresh products for a long period the seedling growing method is used, sowing in several terms, as well as with rearing in case of unfavorable autumn conditions and late sowing in the open field.

Springinging periods

Springinging of cauliflower is sown in greenhouses by mid-March and seedlings are planted in the open field in early May after spring frosts.

So long as cold greenhouses are used, seeds are sown in May 15-25 and planted in June.

Cauliflower is cultivated under cover in the open ground without seedlings and sown in late April - early May, and without cover in late June. Sowing in early July is successful.

The given sowing dates are approximate. In each region and even individual areas of regions, depending on climatic conditions of the year, sowing terms may differ from these 8-15 days.

Sowing seedlings

It is better to grow seedlings in peat pots and without picking planted on a permanent basis. In cold regions, vegetable growers sow cauliflower on a prepared bed in a heated greenhouse. Soil, if necessary, disinfect one of the recommended ways, refill fertilizers. Contributed per square meter 0.5 bucket of humus, compost or ready-made humus (300-400 g). Add 70 g of superphosphate and 30 g of potassium sulfate. You can replace the mixture of mineral fertilizers by introducing 50-60 g per sq. m nitrophoska or nitroammophoska.

Sowing in a row with row spacing of 15-20 cm to a depth of 0.5 cm. Seeds are sown at the bottom of the furrow and covered with fine mulch or sand. Carefully watered so as not to wash out the sowing. Keep the temperature at +18 ... +20 °C until sprouts. Sprouts appear on the 4th or 5th day. During this period, reduce the temperature to +5...+6 °C. Lowering the temperature is extremely important. In the hot climate of the greenhouse, as well as in the apartment, it is impossible to get seedlings. It needs a moderate or even cold climate. After 5-6 days of cold adaptation, the temperature is raised to +15 ° C. Such a change in temperature will lay large, normally developed heads of cauliflower.

Pickling is carried out in 1-2 weeks. The seedlings are fed 3-4 times during the growing period. The main feedings are carried out with solutions of mineral fertilizers at the root or in the inter-row.

Cauliflower: varieties, planting, cultivation and care, storage
Cauliflower Seeds. © Forest & Kim Starr

First feeding of cauliflower is done 2 weeks after picking. Some growers advise feeding immediately after picking. But this method is acceptable if the seedlings are grown on the infertile soil with deviations in acidity. For fertilizing dissolve 50 g nitrophoska in 10 liters of water at room temperature. Plants are gently washed from the nutrient solution, getting on the leaves of seedlings.

When the phase of 2-3 true leaves, foliar feeding with a mixture of trace elements boron and molybdenum (1 g/10 l of water). This procedure accelerates the development of seedlings, promotes bookmarking a full-fledged inflorescence. The next feeding of cauliflower is carried out at the onset of the phase of 4 leaves. Nitrofoska is dissolved in concentration 20 g/10 l of warm water and applied (as the first one) under the root followed by watering. 10 days later the complex composition for the last feeding is prepared. Dilute 50-60 g nitrophoska, 2 g of boric acid, manganese sulfate and copper sulfate in 10 liters of container. The mixture is mixed well and applied under the root, followed by watering.

The soil is constantly kept moist (overdrying, as well as too abundant watering leads to disease of the root system of seedlings, metabolic disorders). The seedlings have a well-developed tap root, 5 normally developed leaves, a straight stem.

We should harden them before planting in other conditions for further growth with a gradual decrease in temperature and change of lighting conditions.

Planning and care of cauliflower in the open field

Preneurs

Best predecessors are cucumbers, carrots, peas, beans, onions, potatoes. Do not plant cauliflower on the plot, where in the previous 3 -4 years grew any type of cabbage, tomatoes, beets, turnips.

Cauliflower: varieties, planting, cultivation and care, storage
Rassembled cauliflower planted in the open ground. © gardenfrisk

Preparation of soil

In autumn preparation a bucket of humus or compost per 1 sq.m. It is possible to use peat truck. Mineral fertilizers are added: nitrophoska (60 g / sq m) or superphosphate (50 g) and potassium sulfate (30 g) per 1 sq m of area. Dig over the area. In spring it is flattened and slightly compacted. Planting on compacted soil promotes the formation of larger heads.

Planting seedlings in the open ground

Planning of seedlings in the open ground carried out in rows with a distance of 40-50 x 70 or 50 x 50 cm. At the bottom of the hole is introduced a little humus, 5-7 g nitrophoska, mix. The cabbage root is powdered with rooting agent and planted so as not to cover the apex bud. Cover with a layer of soil and water. Then finally fill the hole, compact the soil and water about 1 liter of warm water (not from a well). Be sure to mulch to prevent the formation of crust.

Sowing seeds into the open ground

Sow in rows into the furrows at a depth of 1 cm. The row spacing leaves 40-50-70 cm. In the phase of the first leaf thinned plants in a row by 15-20 cm. In the phase of 5-6 leaves, perform the second thinning. The distance between the overgrown plants again left by 15-20 cm. In the first week after planting it is necessary to monitor the state of humidity particularly carefully. Watering is carried out 2 times a week. But there is a peculiarity! Watering should be sufficient, but not to flood the plants. In wet soil, there is a lack of oxygen, which disturbs the root system. As the plants age, you can switch to less frequent watering after 7-10 days, but do not allow the soil to dry out. After watering, the soil is hoeed or covered with mulch until the bushes are closed. The heads are covered from the sun by side leaves, fastening them like a roof. © Laura Rittenhouse

Feeding

The first feeding of plants in the field is done in 17-20 days, preferably with a solution of organics. Carefully mixed 0.5 liters of cowpea in 10 liters of water. Apply under the root, followed by mulching. The second feeding of cauliflower is carried out after 10-12 days with a solution of nitrophoska, kemira or crystalline. 20-25 g of fertilizer is dissolved in 10 liters of water. Per square meter the consumption of the solution is 5-6 liters.

The third feeding also carry out nitrophoska. Dissolve 30-40 g with a consumption of 8-10 liters per 1 sq. m.

After applying the fertilizer solutions, be sure to wash the plants with clean water. If there are open places, the soil is mulched or hoeed, breaking up the crust.

Protection from diseases and pests

Protection of cauliflower from diseases and pests by chemical preparations is excluded. When using herbal decoctions and infusions, only non-poisonous plants can be used.

From diseases cauliflower is affected by mucous bacteriosis, black leg, altenariosis, viral mosaic. From fungal diseases are effectively protected by biofungicides, which do not harm the health of the family, animals, birds. However, their effect is manifested with a system of treatments. Therefore, treatments begin in spring and are carried out in 10-12 days until the harvest. The crop can be treated with the following biofungicides: gaupsin, phytosporin, alirin-B, Gamair, planriz, trichodermin, hypocladin, binoram, trichopol.

In pests, slugs and snails severely eat cauliflower, moths, cabbage fly, aphids and other biting and sucking pests cause significant damage. The following bioinsecticides provide good protection with systematic application: Bitoxybacillin, Bicol, Boverin, Verticillin and others. It should be noted that biopreparations are well mixed in tank mixtures and are effective at simultaneous treatment of plants. Pollinate plants against snails and slugs with ashes. Pour dry ashes in gauze and shake the plants. It is also sprinkled between rows and under bushes.

Cauliflower: varieties, planting, cultivation and care, storage
Cauliflower. © Dave Miller

Harvesting and Storage

Harvesting at technical ripeness is selective. Mature heads are cut off with 3-4 rosette leaves. The leaves protect the inflorescences from mechanical knocks and dirt. Cut carefully, avoiding the collapse of the rosette. The cut heads are placed in the prepared container.

Sometimes cauliflower heads fall apart without forming the marketable form of the product in technical ripeness. This occurs because overgrown seedlings were planted or the irrigation regime was violated (overdrying of the soil). Too dense and heavy soils and insufficient nutrition also adversely affect the marketable form of the product.

Cut heads can be stored for 4-6 weeks. Products to be stored do not have the leaves cut off. The optimal storage temperature is 0 ... +1°C with humidity not lower than 90-95%. Store cauliflower separately from other cabbage varieties.

Store cauliflower

There are several ways to store cauliflower. If it is rainy and the heads do not have time to fully form, you can pull them out by the root and take them to the basement or cellar. There, the plants are hung on trellises with their roots up. Cultivation is carried out at a temperature +1 ... +3 °C without access to light and humidity of 80-90%.

Plants of late sowing terms, which did not have time to form a developed head before the cold, finish growing in greenhouses or greenhouses without access to light. Plants with developed leaves and a head diameter of at least 5 cm are selected for rearing. Plants are dug up with the roots and, without shaking off the soil, tightly stacked in rows in pre-watered 15 cm furrows. The growth of heads, lasts up to 30 days at a temperature of about +10 ° C and a humidity of 85-90%. With a decrease in temperature to +4...+5 °C, the process lengthens to 40-50 days. The heads during this period can gain weight up to 0,5 kg. If the rearing takes place in greenhouses, they are insulated as the air temperature decreases.