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Songhua Cauliflower Cultivation Technology

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Songhua Cauliflower Cultivation Technology

CAULIFLOWER (Brassica oleracea L. var. Botrytis) belongs to family Cruciferae. Cauliflower (Latin caulis ‘cabbage’ and floris ‘flower’) probably originated from Cyprus (Europe), spread to other countries and at present is cultivated in many parts of the world. This crop is developed from broccoli. One type of cauliflower is known as Songhua Cauliflower (松花菜/散花菜). Its named as Songhua Cauliflower because of its long bud branches, thin layer of flowers, loose fully inflated tender head or curd. Compared with the normal firm type cauliflower varieties, Songhua Cauliflower has three salient features: First, the green-stem and loosen-flower cultivar with crispy and delicious white head or curd, that can endure long cooking; second, high nutritional value, high vitamin C content; third is huge diversity and wider adaptability.

1.Biological Characters

Songhua Cauliflower grows best in moderately cool, moist climate and is sensitive to low temperatures (as low as 8°C). Its a delicate, semi-cold vegetable crop, and can be demaged by both hot and freezing weather near harvesting. So, Songhua Cauliflower produces best curds in a cool, moist climate. Average maximum temperature that is suitable for bolting, flowering and foliage growth is 20-25°C. Curd or Head formation requires a cool temperature, suitably about 17-18°C. During maturity, temperature above 20°C badly affects its growth. Plants grown from stem to curd development, need to go through vernalization stage. Temperature requirements for curd development vary widely among different types of cultivars. The early maturing cultivars requires warm conditions (22-23°C) for curd development; mid-maturing cultivars requires about 13-14°C; late-maturing cultivars require more low, less than about 10°C; and four seasons cultivars requires a temperature of about 15-17°C for curd development .

2. Cultivars Selection

The current promising Songhua Cauliflower is mainly from Taiwan. Our Yafei company’s best-selling Yafei Songhua includes early, mid-maturing and late-maturing cultivars. Early maturing cultivars includes, Yafei Songhua-55, Yafei Songhua-58, Yafei Songhua-67, Yafei Songhua-65; mid-maturing cultivars includes Yafei Songhua-75, Yafei Songhua-85, Yafei Songhua-90 ; and late maturing cultivars are Yafei Songhua-100 and Yafei Songhua-120. Growers can select suitable cultivars according to their actual situations and needs. Thus, it is important that right cultivar should be selected for the right season and proper sowing.

3. Promote Potted Seedlings and Transplant Healthy Seedlings

Cultivation of healthy seedlings is basic to gain high yield. First of all is the suitable seedbed selection. Selcect the high terrain and facilitate proper drainage. During spring, select a better greenhouse with effecient insulation, in order to avoid frost damage of seedlings. Then prepare nutrient soil by uniformly mixing perlite, vermiculite, peat mossaccording to a certain ratio, and add a small amount of fungicide and micronutrient fertilizers. After appropriate mixing, irrigate soil. Then perform potted nursery sowing, using sowing depth of about 0.5cm. For sowing 1-2 seeds per hole, farmers can use 150-225 g seed rate for one acre. After sowing, cover seeds with a layer of matrix, and irrigate. To conserve moisture, cover seedlings with Sun-shade net. Avoid seedbeds to remain in too wet or too dry conditions for long duration. Excessive moisture (too wet conditions) can easily form tall seedlings, and cause seedlings to be vulnerable to disease. Long-term drought or too dry conditions can cause Arrhythmia (poor seedlings emergence) and poor seedlings growth, even cause death of seedlings. If the temperature is too high, pay attention to provide shade for 10-15 hours daily. Use effective preventive measures to avoid thunderstorms, strong winds and other hazards. Use effective measures to control pests and diseases, particularly control damping-off and Blight diseases. Preventive measures are essential during early 25-30 days of seedlings growth, especially during low temperatures in spring. Seven days earlier irrigation before transplanting can facilitate efficient acclimatization.

4. Land Preparation and Fertilizers Recommendations

For field cultivation of Songhua cauliflower, select well-drained, fairly deep laomy soil (loose and fertile soil), with proper irrigation facility. Sandy loams and silt loams are best.

Cauliflower requires a large quantity of fertilizer. One month before sowing, apply 15 t/acre of well-rotted organic manure (FYM) with 45% SACF NPK (600 kg/acre), Calcium Magnesium Phosphate (300 kg/acre) and Borax (15 kg/acre) as basal dose. Farm yard manure (FYM) should be applied and completely mixed with soil.

For Yafei Cultiars, fertilizers should be applied 2-3 times. 10 days after transplanting, 150 kg Urea per acre, combined with weedicides application. Before and after the Bolting stage, apply 45% SACF NPK at rate of 225kg per acre. At early bud formation, apply topdressing UreaSACF NPK and Potassium Chloride (150kg + 375kg + 150kgalong with Borax 15kg . Late-dressing principle may not recommend use of Ammonium Bicarbonate or Ammonium Bicarbonate-containing fertilizers, because heads/curd will prone to be hairy.

5. Proper Plant Density

Better to perform transplanting on a cloudy day or at 15:00 pm in afternoon. Transplant seedlings when they are 30 days old, with 15 cm height and have 5 to 6 true, large leaves. Choose seedlings with thick, short internodes, short petioles and root. Select those seedlings that does not have pests attack and/or mechanical damage. Seedlings should not be too old, otherwise they will produce curds earlier. This leads to the loss of market value of the goods and lower yields.

Prepare Seedbeds of 1.0-1.3m, with 0.3m deep furrows for the transplantion of suitable plant density. Planting distance depends on soil fertility, season, variety and market demand. Due to varietial differences, plant density ranges from 27000-36000 plants per acre. For early maturing varieties, high plant density will be suitable, but for late-maturing varietieslow seedling density is more suitable. For early maturing varieties, 45 cm and for late-maturing varieties 60cm spacing is maintained both between plants and between rows.

6. Irrigation

Cauliflower is shallow-rooted crop and most of its roots and most of its roots are within 45-60cm of the surface. After transplanting, an early maturing crop requires irrigation twice a week and late maturing crop once a week.

At head/curd growing period, weekly irrigation is recommended, in order to maintain adequate moisture supply. Application of micro-drip irrigation facilities is wise as it can save labor and time, and also to achieve a balanced water supply. After a rain, make proper drainage timely, to avoid excessive water in field.

7. Integrated Pest Managment

Integrated pest and disease control techniques incudes use of agricultural practices and use of bio-pesticides and pesticides together. Plant disease resistance can be improved by fertilizer and water management and use of agricultural control measures including: proper crop rotation, avoiding continuous cropping; cultivating healthy seedlings; timely removal of weeds, demaged branches and diseased leaves to reduce the chance of pathogen infection. To avoid residual affects of pesticides, the use of pesticides should be stoped seven days before harvest.

Major diseases are Black rot, Downy Mildew, Bacterial soft rot.

Black rot: Use 72% Streptomycin Sulfate powder disolved in 4000-times spraying solution or use 77% Copper Dihydroxide WP disolved 500 times for making spraying mix.

Downy Mildew: At early stages, use 50% Dimethomorph WP dissolved 1500 times, or 72.2% Cymoxanil Mancozeb WP dissolved 800 times, or 64% oxadixyl.mancozeb dissolved 500 times, or 70% Fosetyl MnZn WP dissolved 500 times to make spraying mixture. One should try to spray the liquid onto the dorsal portion of the stem.

Bacterial soft rot: Before rain, immediately after rain timely spraying of Neomycin dissolved 4000 times or 77% Kocide101 WP fine powder dissolved to 500 times the control.

8. Curds Protection and Timely Harvesting

In order to avoid direct sunlight that can affect the quality of curd, protect curds by sunshading net. When the heads attain proper size of 10 ~ 15 cm diameter, then use few toothpicks to fix 4 to 5 large alternately overlapping leaves near curd, to cover the entire head. It is better to cut/harvest curds a little earlier than too late. When the curds are fully swollen with fresh, loosen surroundings, then its optimum harvest period of Songhua vegetable. The curds are harvested retaining part of stem and 5-7 leaves, so that they can protect heads or curds from mechanical damage during transport and storage etc. Sale the curds as soon as possible after harvest, or store them at about 4°C under cold and fresh conditions. Medium sized curds (15 ~ 20 cm diameter) are in greatest demand in market.

Wuhan Yafei Seed Co., Ltd.