Hello my dear readers, welcome back to our new blog on rabi crop. Today, we are going to share our farming experience of growing broccoli. We will give you details of Broccoli Farming that we have done practically and learned it.
We all know that broccoli is cultivated by the farmers from ancient days and consumed all over the world because of its outstanding taste and health benefits.
We can portray broccoli with a thick green king-like structure with green heads on thick stalks known as the “crown jewel of nutrition”. Broccoli has become an economic game-changer for many small and marginal farmers that produce high returns with low investment and today we are going to teach you the same method .
Now in this blog, we want to introduce our crown jewel “Broccoli farming” experience. We also explain how broccoli is grown under different soil, climatic conditions, what are the methods of cultivation, fertilizer requirements of broccoli, harvesting and best broccoli varieties.
Before going into detailed first let us know the reasons to grow the broccoli and its benefits:
- We know broccoli for its highly nutritious elements.
- Broccoli decreases the risk of obesity and helps in reducing unnecessary fat from the body.
- It prevents heart diseases and overall mortality rate.
- It helps in controlling diabetes, that is a very serious disease in the present time.
- It improves the energy levels of the body and keeps us active for a longer duration.
- It also promotes a healthy complexion and hair related problem.
- In many research papers, they found that broccoli helps in fighting cancer.
- It also improves bone health.
Broccoli farming In Short
|Botanical Name Of Broccoli :-||Brassica oleracea var. italica|
|Broccoli Family :-||Cruciferae|
|Origin Place Of Broccoli :-||East Mediterranean and Italy|
|Soil Requirement Of Broccoli :-||Well drained clay loam and sandy loam soil with pH 6-7.|
|Temperature Requirement:-||16-20oC and hybrid varieties can tolerate up to 30°C|
|Seed requirement:-||Around 0.25 kg per acre.|
|Fertilizer Requirements:-||N:P:K 20:20:20 as foliar spray|
|Propagation:-||Direct seeding or transplanting.|
|Harvesting:-||We can harvest multiple times if we do proper cultivation.|
Broccoli farming In Detail:
Broccoli is a rabi crop, that is mainly grown during the onset of cool season. We can also cultivate broccoli in Autumn because we cultivate most of the Brassicaceae or Cruciferae family plant in the same season, and broccoli also belongs to Cruciferae family.
Most of the crop on the Brassicaceae or Cruciferae family species are annual plant, biennial plant, or perennial herbaceous plants. The native place of broccoli is in the East Mediterranean and Italy where broccoli is derived from the Latin word Brachium, meaning an arm or branch with Botanical Name Brassica oleracea var. Italica.
Brassicaceae or Cruciferae family contains healthy vegetables like cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli and many more. These vegetable is rich in vitamins, minerals and are an excellent source of Vitamin A, potassium, folic acid, iron, and fiber.
India is the second largest producer of broccoli after China, while the US ranks third. In the U.S.A, we also known broccoli as Italian broccoli pointing to its Italian origin. We mainly use broccoli for salad purpose and can be eaten by lightly steaming it. It is mainly marketed fresh, frozen or like a salad.
Now in this blog, let us know how broccoli is grown under different conditions, about the climatic requirement, soil requirement, methods of propagation, what are the fertilizer requirements during broccoli cultivation and how to harvest broccoli properly and its different types.
Different Varieties of Broccoli:
- Black broccoli
- Green Goliath
- Purple cape broccoli
- White sprouting broccoli
- Palam Samridhi
- Punjab Broccoli-1
Now let us see the varieties of broccoli in detailed:-
|Type:-||Broccoli Varieties in details.|
|Calabrese:-||Calabrese Broccoli is a Green sprouting broccoli from the Calabrian region. It is an heirloom broccoli with gigantic heads and prolific side shoots that will mature for harvesting.|
|Black broccoli:-||Black broccoli is from the Rome area. It is a highly branched annual plant with dark green spears and sickle-shaped leaves.|
|Green Goliath:-||Green Goliath is heat-tolerant broccoli with giant heads and prolific side shoots.|
|White sprouting broccoli:-||White sprouting broccoli is a Biennial plant with branches and white spears.|
|Purple cape broccoli:-||Purple cape broccoli is a Biennial plant with single purple heads.|
|Palam Samridhi:-||Palam Samridhi has a round head in green color with large smooth leaves. The heads have an average weight of 300gm. this variety matures in 70-75 days.|
|Punjab Broccoli-1:-||Punjab Broccoli-1 has a round head in green color with large wavy leaves. The variety matures in about 65 days.|
Land preparation for broccoli farming:
The first basic thing that every broccoli growing farmer should know for growing broccoli, the land preparation should start some week before showing the seed.
We will suggest all broccoli farmers to remove all the weeds from the field, do two to three plowing to improve soil aeration and drainage facility. Which is very important. Since we can grow broccoli as an annual plant, we can grow it both indoors and outdoors. If you are planning to farm outdoors, then it can be done either in early spring or in autumn. If you plant them in spring, they will be ready for harvesting during the summer. On the other hand, autumn planting will give your broccolis ready for harvesting during winter.
Choose a land where there is full sun because lack of sunlight may produce many disorders in broccoli like thin-leggy plants and subpar heads. To increase fertility of soil, integrate the soil with basal fertilization combined with organic rich compost and crop boosters.
Farmers Can also use green manures to increase the productivity of their field. They can grow daicha or any pulse crop before broccoli farming and incorporate it in the field to increase nutrient availability in soil. Check the advantage of green manure to understand it in a better way.
Soil requirement for Broccoli Farming:
We can grow broccoli in a wide variety of soils that are available all over the world, but clay loam and sandy loam soils are best suited for broccoli farming.
Most of the farmers use slightly acidic soils for the broccoli cultivation, with pH range 6 to 7. we will not suggest choosing Alkaline soils because in some soil conditions it may develop root cancer to plants, which affects plant growth and yield. We also known the root cancer disease as club root which is caused by a pathogen called Plasmodiophora brassicae.
When we grow plants in acidic soils, the plant can tolerate the soil and water with high salinity levels. Farmers and many agronomists suggest applying a pre-planting fertilizer, such as well-rotted organic manure or slow-release fertilizers for proper vegetative growth and development of the plant. After preparing the field, we created rows of 70-80cm (27.5-31.5inches) distance one from another.
Nursery Raising For Broccoli Farming
To have a good healthy plant, we must be conscious of choosing good branded seeds must check and read the label on the seed packet it should be allowed by the government or institution. We will suggest taking around 250gm of seeds for sowing on one acre of land and the optimum time for sowing is mid-August to mid-September.
Farmers can grow nursery in 2 different ways:-
- Growing Broccoli nursery in soil-less medium.
- Growing broccoli nursery in soil medium.
Broccoli nursery in soil-less medium:-
Farmers rarely follow this method of growing nursery because it is requires a lot of technical knowledge and attention of growers and slight mistake can spoil all the seedlings. In this method, we use coco peat and plastic tray to grow the seedlings in a protected control environment.
Growing broccoli nursery in soil medium.
This is a very common method of growing nursery in which we used to grow nursery in raised bed, farmers can use playhouse or greenhouse for growing nursery of broccoli if climatic condition is not stable.
We will suggest farmers to make the raised bed small so they can inspect and protect it easily. Our suggested size is one metre wide, three metre long raised bed is best for broccoli farming. Farmers should mix well decomposed organic manure in the soil of nursery approx 8 to 10 kg per bed nursery is enough.
For nursery, growing farmers can show the seeds in the line or they can do direct uniform broadcasting in nursery. After that, we will recommend spreading a thin layer of soil and cover the seeds. If farmers are growing broccoli, in open space where direct sun will hit the nursery bed in this condition, we will suggest doing mulching with green leaves and twigs to protect new growing plant from direct light.
We will suggest broccoli growing farmer to maintain the temperature of the soil less than 6 degree Celsius of nursery soil because broccoli seeds germinate at low temperature, make sure and test the temperature of soil before sowing low temperature is favorable for the proper germination of broccoli seed, farmers can spray water at time interval to maintain this temperature.
Under proper environmental conditions, broccoli seeds germinate in 6-10 days. The proper transplanting time of broccoli is on set out 5 or 6 leaves from the plants. It can take up to 3 to 4 weeks after germination.
We will suggest grower to maintain the distance between row to row of 25 to 30. We should maintain plant to plant distance of 38 to 40 cm, proper distance between the plants will provide the space for good vegetative growth and development.
We should always do transplanting of broccoli in the evening time when the heat of sun decreases with these chances of survival of the plant will increase.
Irrigation requirement of broccoli farming:
Irrigation is the process by which we supply water to any land according to their need of the crop for various purposes. There are various ways to irrigate broccoli when we are planning to do broccoli farming.
The irrigation types include:
- Surface Irrigation for broccoli farming
Gravity distributed equally throughout the land water and it doesn’t require a machine to take care of it. Any broccoli farmer can use this method to irrigate their field.
- Drip Irrigation for broccoli farming
In this process of drip irrigation, the water drops fall on the root zone of the broccoli plant. The plants absorb the dropped water using their roots. This method needs technical knowledge for management.
- Sprinkler Irrigation
High-pressure sprinklers from a moving platform sprayed throughout the land in the broccoli field.
Since Excessive irrigation is harmful for broccoli, among any of the irrigation methods, broccoli always loves either Drip irrigation or Sprinkler Irrigation because of its advantages like timely watering period, saving water and minimal application.
Excessive watering can cause water stagnation, which is not good for soil and plant health. In result, it causes some root diseases and affects plant yield. Some farmers water every other day during the germination stage.
During flowering and head formation time broccoli thrive for water, we should be careful about timely watering.
Climatic Conditions for Broccoli Farming:
Broccoli is a cool-season crop that is best grown in the spring. Always prefers to grow 2 to 3 weeks before spring because during harvesting it should not be excessively hot. Excessive summer heat can cause bolting, so broccoli is best grown in the cooler spring and fall seasons. Or If you are planning for a fall crop harvest should be done during mid- to late summer.
Broccoli also needs good sun where it needs 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. The optimum temperature for the growth of broccoli is 16-20oC and seed germination takes place at 12-16oC. The seed needs to have optimum moisture levels to sprout.
If the broccoli plant experiences higher temperatures more than 20°C during its growth stages, it faces intense stem growth and forms leafy curds which will delay the formation of the flower heads. Temperatures over 26 °C will probably cause the heads to bloom, decreasing their quality and commercial value. Mulching around plants will also help to keep soil temperatures down.
Fertilizer Requirement for Broccoli farming:
We know broccoli for its excess requirement of fertilizer. To give more and quality yield, it demands more nutrient externally and internally through fertilizers. We will always suggest using balanced nutrient because excessive nutrient or less nutrient can always create new disorders.
We will suggest using organic fertilizers, green manures and decrease the excessive use of chemical fertilizer. Also, do proper soil testing then apply chemical fertilizer according to the crop.
Farmers can use chemical fertilizer like nitrogen, phosphorus and Potassium at the ratio of 20:20:20.
We applied fertilizers in three stages:
(i) Apply 400kg per hectare at transplanting or direct seeding,
(ii) 200kg per hectare about 3-4 weeks later after transplanting, and
(iii) Remaining 200kg per hectare, about 6 or 7 weeks after planting.
However, we suggest you go through soil tests before seedling because fertilizer requirements sometimes also change from place to place and according to soil conditions.
Fertilizers Nitrogen, phosphorus and Potassium are taken from organic fertilizers which are available as urea, farmyard manure and green manure or any other natural fertilizers. The list of various organic fertilizers is available on our rabi crop website.
Pests and Disease management:
Most common problems that we face in broccoli farming
|Thrips/ Aphids:-||Small yellow to light brown color insects with symptoms like distorted leaves and silvery leaves. To prevent them, spraying of Imidachloprid 17.8 SL 60ml per acre in 150ltr water should be done or place banana or orange peels around plants.|
|Nematodes:-||It shows a reduction in plant growth and yellowing of plants. Forate@5kg or Carbofuran@10kg for per acre land is used to prevent nematodes.|
|Diamond back moth:-||The larva feeds on the upper and lower surface of the leaves and as a result, it damages the whole plant. To prevent Diamond back moth Spinosad 25% SC 80ml/150ltr water per acre should be sprayed.|
|Whiteflies:-||Use Handheld vacuum to remove pests; spray water on leaf undersides in morning/evening to knock off whiteflies.|
|White rust:-||Chalk-white blisters or yellow-green spots mainly on leaf undersides. Rotation of crop varieties can prevent this problem.|
|Downy mildew:-||These are orange or yellow color angular spots that are seen on the lower surface of the leaves. This can be prevented by spraying with Metalaxyl 8% + Mancozeb 64% WP @250gm/150ltr.|
|Clubroot:-||Clubroot is a fungus that takes place when there is excess irrigation or stagnant water.|
|Ring spots:-||Ring spots is a disease with small and purple color spots are seen on leaves which turn brown at maturity.Spray Metalaxyl 8% + Mancozeb 64% WP @250gm/150ltr to prevent ringspots.|
|Damping off:-||The symptoms are immediate death of seedlings after germination and brown-red or black color rot is seen on the stem. Adding Ridomil email@example.com/ltr in roots and after that irrigation is given when required. Make sure water doesn’t stand in the field.|
After completing the broccoli farming, the key question arises when to arise when to harvest. It totally depends on the variety and environmental condition where you are doing broccoli farming.
Broccoli is ready to harvest after 80 to 90 days of sowing in the field. We used to harvest when the size of the head becomes 5 to 6 inches. We will suggest harvesting with a sharp knife and sanitize it before use because it can transmit virus.
Late harvesting of broccoli will decrease the market value, so we will suggest farmers to harvest your crop at proper time. If farmers are getting 260 to 290 gram weight per broccoli, then it is a wonderful production.
While cutting the broccoli head, we should include 23 to 25 cm edible parts of the stem.it will increase the market value of broccoli.we will not recommend broccoli growers to harvest in daytime in sunlight. We should always harvest broccoli in morning time before sunrise. Just start the packing after harvesting, don’t do late in this.
On average, farmers will get 3 to 3.5 quintal per hectare. Broccoli can be blanched and frozen for up to one year.
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special thanks to some research websites like research paper for providing extra advanced knowledge on sage oil used in uncommon disease.