Organic farming is a cultivation technique which largely avoids the use of synthetic compounds like chemical fertilizers, pesticides and growth regulators. Organic farming follows the pattern of crop rotation and inter crops. They use natural manures and fertilizers to increase the efficiency of crops. Organic farming ensures food security and maintains the balance of nature.
In this blog we are going to discuss about the farming methods of broccoli.
Broccoli is vegetable variety which is similar to the shape of a tree. They belong to the species called ‘Brassica oleracea’. Broccoli is closely related to other vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts etc.
Broccoli can be classified into three types:
- Sprouting broccoli
- Calabrese broccoli
- Purple broccoli
Broccoli is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fibres and anti-oxidants. They are consumed raw or cooked. Broccoli contains high amount of vitamin C, so they are good for eyes.
Broccoli is a cool season crop that needs moderate temperature for efficient growth. It does not develop well in hot weather conditions. Among the three types of broccoli, the green one is popularly cultivated.
Broccoli is well suited in light sandy soil to heavy loamy soil which contains required amount of organic matter. Fertilization of crops is a major factor in broccoli cultivation.
Broccoli is a heavy consumer of Nitrogen. So manures containing nitrogen should be supplied at required quantities regularly for the production of quality yields. Over supply of nitrogen can cause hollow stem disorder and damages he crop. They are well grown in the soil having pH around 7.0.
Before planting, the soil is applied with compost and mixed equally. The soil should always be kept rich with nutrients and should have a proper drainage system.
Even though they are cool season crops, they require full sun for the development of the head. While selecting the place to plant the crops, select a shady region which gets optimum day light during the morning and does not get dried out in the afternoon sun. if not you can use artificial shades.
Mulching is practiced for broccoli crops to keep the soil wet and cool and prevents bolting. The standard spacing while planting the crops is 45×45.
Manures like compost tea, fish emulsion and other liquid manure are used to energize the crops. If the supply of manures becomes more, it leads to a state called ‘eutrophication’, which means over growth or increase in the lifespan of the crops. This is a major issue that cause the death of fish in rivers and streams.
Apart from these, nitrogen rich manures like alfalfa meal and poultry manure are supplied to the crops.
Broccoli is often affected by pests like cabbage worm, root maggots and flea beetles. As a prevention criterion, the crops are covered with floating row so that these pests won’t attack the crops. To hinder the effect of cutworms paper collars are placed around the stem.
Damping off and clubroot attacks are the major disease affecting broccoli crops. Once you spot a crop affected by damping-off, just try to remove the crop to prevent the spreading.
Clubroot attacks aims at the root of the crop and converts them into knots and nodules, affecting the ability of the plant to consume water and nutrients. This disease arises mainly due to the air gaps present in the soil. To avoid this, soil should be compressed well before planting
Insects also cause the damage of broccoli crops. Some of them include cabbage worm, cut worm, cabbage looper, diamondback moth larvae and cross-stripped cabbage worm. These insects are mainly prevented using oil spray and garlic spray.
Harvesting of broccoli is done after 80-90 of planting. The matured broccoli heads would be 3-6 inches in size. A healthy broccoli head would weigh up to 250-300 grams.