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Tips on Growing Cauliflower from Seedlings

Tips on Growing Cauliflower from Seedlings

 

Cauliflower is a popular vegetable in South Africa because of its nutritional value. It is affordable for the consumer too, though not quite as low-priced as cabbage. Many farmers in South Africa grow cauliflower commercially from seedlings obtained from nurseries. The seedlings are delivered to the farms directly. Commercial nurseries rear the plants in temperature-controlled greenhouses where the plugs are protected against the elements, pests, and diseases. The nursery chemically treats the cauliflower seedlings before delivery to the farmer, ensuring that the plants are protected against all the above-mentioned threats. This also gives the farmer sufficient time to implement their own chemical treatment regime.

Spacing Needs

The cauliflower seedlings should be transplanted to the soil in rows with spacing of 50 cm between plants in the row and 60 cm between the rows. Where the tramline method is used, it is possible to increase the total number of plants per hectare because, with this method, the spacing between the seedlings can be 40 cm between plants in the row, 50 cm between rows, and 60 cm between the tramlines. For large-head cultivars, provide for spacing of 90 cm to 102 cm between rows.

Soil Needs

Cauliflower requires an organically rich growth environment. It is best to grow the crop in organically rich sandy loam soil that has good drainage characteristics. The ideal pH is in the range of 6,6 to 6,9. It is imperative to prepare the soil a few weeks before transplanting the seedlings. The process starts with a soil analysis to determine the current pH and nutrient levels. Add the required nutrients to create the ideal growth conditions and regularly take soil samples leading up to the time of plug transplant. Soil conditions are extremely important for this vegetable crop.

Climate Needs

Cauliflower grows best in areas experiencing average temperatures between 14 and 25 °C. The crop does not perform well when temperatures drop to 4 °C and below. It can also not handle prolonged high temperatures of 30 °C or more.

Harvesting

The heads or curds are harvested when they are well-developed and compact. The crop should not be left on the field for too long, as the heads become loose. Harvesting should take place when the curd shape is firm and globular. The size of the head is dependent on the cultivar, watering regime, nutrient levels in the soil, and temperatures. Remove as little as possible foliage if the heads are going to be transported. Careful handling is required to prevent spots from developing or browning of the curds. Store the curds at a temperature of 3 °C in a space with a humidity of 95%. Harvesting is mostly done by hand, using a knife to remove the curds. Selective harvesting helps to ensure the best-quality products for the market. Mechanical harvesters are used when the curds are produced for processing purposes.

Where to Buy Plugs

Farmers can order cauliflower seedlings from Hishtil South Africa. The plants are delivered to farmers across South Africa. The nursery is known for high-quality and disease-free plants. Enquire about the varieties available.

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