Final harvest|Images by the author
Cauliflower, in your area known as phool gobi, is among the cruciferous vegetables. Coming from the Brassicaceae family, this white coloured, flower veggie is clinically known as Brassica oleracea var. botrytis. The name cauliflower itself has roots in Latin, caulis referring to cabbage and floris relating to the word flower.
The white, normally edible, portion of cauliflower is called curd. Although curd can be found in a few other colours– including orange, purple and yellow, the flavour of this veggie remains the same; a little on the sweeter side as compared to most other veggies in the Brassica household.
Numerous likewise use the green stem for curries and soups. The curd is part of nearly all continental food choices. It can be baked, cooked, sautéed, fried, roasted, steamed and eaten even raw as snacks, or in soups and salads.
Typically, veggies from the Brassica household are more heat tolerant compared to other winter veggies. This indicates the seeds of cauliflower can be sown as early as the end of the monsoon duration. Gardeners from zone 9 and beyond, need to choose more heat tolerant ranges.
The phool gobi or cauliflower is a flexible vegetable that can be prepared in a variety of methods. Growing it needs perseverance but the results can be rewarding
For kitchen gardeners, seedlings can be grown by sowing a dozen approximately seeds in a 4-by-4-inch-sized pot. The approach is simple, fill 80 percent of the pot with potting mix or the gardening soil and sprinkle the seeds on the surface. Gently cover it with a thin layer of any kind of garden compost.
Relying on the conditions, the seeds are likely to germinate within one to 2 weeks. After 2 to 3 true leaves sprout, the seedlings can then be dug and spooned out with assistance of a small spade, trowel or perhaps a spoon, to be segregated in individual same-sized pots.
As the seedling grows into a sapling– which means it has 5 to six true leaves now– it needs to be shifted from this specific pot and transplanted into a bigger container, of at least 12-by-12-inch size, or into the ground occupying an area of a square foot.
Segregated single seedling being kept in plastic bags
Depending upon the variety and feed, the plant can spread out from one to 2 feet and grow in height from one foot to even 30 inches. Being a sun-loving plant, it needs early morning sunlight till afternoon. The soil ought to be well-drained and moist throughout the day.
Progressing from the sapling stage to the eventual harvest, the plant should be offered with a rich fertiliser. Early on, nitrogen-rich fertiliser is needed to augment the development of a healthy plant. Broken down cow manure, fish meal, blood meal or decomposed chicken manure can be given moderately, twice a month.
After harvest the plant can be developed into garden compost or feed for poultry
When the white portion or the curd starts to develop, replace the nitrogen fertiliser with potassium- and phosphorus-rich fertiliser, such as banana peel liquid and bone meal. Utilize these fertilisers every fortnight.
The cauliflower is often attacked by pests and diseases, including white flies, aphids, snails, snugs, flea beetles, moths, cabbage loopers and root maggots. As a prophylactic measure to avoid such insect attacks, the plant must always be sprayed with an organic pesticide, such as neem oil, after every 10 to 15 days. In case of attack, a few drops of any dishwashing soap ought to be combined with the natural pesticide and sprayed on rotating days, till the pests are removed completely.
As the curd starts to mature, it alters its colour from white to yellow. The time to harvest would be when the curd simply begins to show a tint of yellow. The taste is also thought about to be at its optimal finest at that time, and the size of the curd also does not increase after that point. Since, the plant does not produce any more curds after the harvest, the green parts can now be discarded or used as compost or feed for poultry.
Seeds sprayed on the surface to be covered with compost
Always keep in mind, any serious modifications in fertiliser amount, temperature, bug attack or watering throughout the curd development and advancement procedure can lead to poor development. There are high chances of premature fruiting, with smaller-sized curd, which may divide into even smaller sized, apart curds in one– a phenomenon known as buttoning.
For a brand-new garden enthusiast, this might be a really frustrating result, specifically thinking about that it takes about 3 to five months for the entire procedure, from seeds to harvest. This is part and parcel of the gardening hobby and one should not lose hope. It is encouraged, however, to sow a couple of more seeds to represent buttoning or any other accident ahead of time.
Please send your queries and emails to [email protected]. The author is a doctor and a host for the YouTube channel ‘DocTree Gardening’ promoting organic cooking area gardening
Released in Dawn, EOS, October 23rd, 2022