If you are located in the colder areas of the country, you may wonder how to grow and farm Broccoli and Cauliflower which are popular and expensive vegetables in the country. Here is a farming guide to both vegetables:
Broccoli is a vegetable crop that lends itself well to smallscale and part-time farming operations. Initial investment is relatively low, and many field operations, such as land preparation, planting, and harvesting, can be custom hired. Equipment needs on a small-acreage farm are not very great, and most of the equipment can be used for other purposes.
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. var. italica Plenck) is one of the popular vegetables in the Philippines. It can be boiled, steamed, stir fried, or sautéed with other vegetables. It is fairly high in vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. Broccoli is being cultivated in about 207 ha, mainly in Benguet (157 ha) and Bukidnon (50 ha) (Bureau of Agricultural Statistics 2005).
Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea L. var. botrytis L.) is another popular crucifer grown mainly in cooler areas. It is steamed, stir fried, or pickled. Cauliflower is grown in 1,017 ha, mainly in Ilocos Sur (450 ha) and Benguet (340 ha) (Bureau of Agricultural Statistics 2005).
Soil and Climate Requirements
Broccoli and cauliflower grow well in mid-and high- elevation areas throughout the year. These also grow in low- elevation areas from November to February and thrive best in well drained loamy soil with pH 6.0-6.5.
Plow and harrow the field twice. For single row planting and raised beds, make furrows 0.5 m apart. For double row planting, 0.75-1.0 m wide, 0.5 m apart. Apply 1 kg fully decomposed chicken manure and 300 g carbonized rice hull/m2. Incorporate thoroughly with the soil. For single row planting, make holes 0.3 m between hills, and for double row planting, 0.3 m between hills and 0.4 m between rows. Wet the holes, apply 10 g 14-14-14 in each hole, then cover lightly with soil.
About 280 g of seeds per hectare is required. Prepare 1-m wide seedbed at any desired length. Pulverize the soil and incorporate 1 kg fully decomposed chicken manure or compost and 300 g carbonized rice hull/m2. Wet the seedbeds and make shallow lines across the beds, 7-10 cm apart. Sow the seeds thinly and cover lightly with soil. Mulch with rice hull, chopped rice straw, or cogon, and water regularly. Provide partial shade during the dry season and rain shelter or clear plastic roofing during the wet season. In case of diamondback moth and cutworm infestation, spray with hot pepper solution (100 g macerated hot pepper/16 L water) plus 1 tbsp soap, or apply pesticides at recommended rates. Harden the seedlings at one week before transplanting by exposing fully to sunlight and watering only when the plants show signs of temporary wilting.
Transplant the seedlings at three weeks after emergence.
Water the seedbeds to loosen the soil and carefully uproot the seedlings by using a dibble. Transplant one seedling per hole. Irrigate before and after transplanting. Replant missing
hills at once.
Mulching with rice straw, rice hull, or mulching film is recommended to suppress weed growth and conserve soil moisture.
Sidedress with 46-0-0 at a rate of 5-10 g/plant two weeks after transplanting. Repeat sidedressing at 30 and 45 days after transplanting with 10 g/hi II of 2:1 mixture of 46-0-0 and 0-0-60. Fertilize after each weeding. Tea manure may be applied weekly as source of micronutrients. To prepare, soak 3A sack dry cow/horse manure in a plastic drum filled with 189.25 L water for seven days. Fermented plant juice may also be used every two weeks to boost plant vigor. To prepare, mix equal parts of chopped actively growing plant parts and molasses or brown sugar. After one week of fermentation, extract the juice and apply as foliar fertilizer at 1 tbsp/3.785 L water.
Irrigate the field weekly by furrow irrigation or two-three times/week by sprinkler irrigation. Mulching helps minimize frequency of irrigation.
Harvest when curds are well formed. Include portion of stems and leaves. If possible, harvest early in the morning and avoid exposure to high temperatures to maintain good curd quality. Use top icing (placing of a 2- to 4-in layer of crushed ice over the top of pallets of precooled produce) to prolong shelf life.
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