Biological properties of cauliflower
Cauliflower forms both a head and seeds in the first year. The head is the overgrown top of the stem in the transition to flowering phase. It can be white, yellowish or purple in color. Outside, the head is surrounded by 15-20 well-developed leaves, small underdeveloped leaves are found around and inside the head. The head of cauliflower begins to form in the presence of 9-12 leaves, in early maturing - with a smaller number of leaves. As soon as the phase of the visible head begins, nutrients from the leaves begin to flow into it. The rosette of leaves continues to grow, but much more slowly than before the formation of the head. This feature is widely used for growing cauliflower without access to light in protected ground conditions. The process occurs exclusively due to the outflow of previously accumulated nutrients from the leaves into the head.
Cauliflower is a long-day, light-loving and cold-tolerant crop. Adult seedlings adapted to open air can withstand short-term frosts down to -4 ...- 5оС. With a prolonged cold snap, the leaves acquire a purple hue, and plant growth stops. The heads of early cabbage are damaged from a temperature of -2 ...- 3 ° C, late-ripening ones - can withstand frosts down to -5 ° C.
Depending on the temperature conditions, the heads are formed over a different period of time. For example, in the conditions of the Moscow region, cauliflower heads are formed: at + 21оС - in 10-12 days, at +13 ... + 15оС - in 21-23 days, and in the fall at +7 ... + 9оС - in 40-45 days, and at the same time do not crumble. At a temperature of +4 ... + 5 ° C, the heads almost do not increase. Low temperatures inhibit the development of plants even in lesser degreethan tall.
Cabbage is demanding on moisture throughout the entire growing period, especially after planting seedlings in the ground. A good harvest of cauliflower can only be obtained in irrigated areas. Having an increased metabolism, it is very demanding on soil fertility. Sprinkler irrigation works well on cabbage, especially in hot weather. The duration of the growing season depends on the biological characteristics of varieties and hybrids. But it can also change from weather and agricultural conditions.
Planting seedlings in a permanent place and caring for plants
Site selection, predecessors and soil preparation for cauliflower are the same as for white cabbage (see Growing white cabbage). When grown on sandy loam and loamy soils, it is necessary to add (g / m2) to the crop: ammonium nitrate 25-30, superphosphate 20-25, potash fertilizers 40-50. When grown on floodplain or peat soils, potash fertilizers - 50-60 g / m2.
Cauliflower does not grow on acidic soils, therefore, depending on the acidity, 200-800 g of dolomite flour per 1 m2 are introduced for autumn digging. To save money, you can bring it directly into the hole when planting 20-50 g, followed by thorough mixing with the soil.
On heavy soils and weakly heated areas of the ridge for cabbage are located from south to north, with a slope to the south up to 10-15оС. At the same time, rows of cabbage are made across the ridges. Thus, the plants are better illuminated and warmed by the sun.
For a constant supply of fresh products to the table, cabbage seedlings can be planted by conveyor every 10-14 days. For early planting in late April - early May, 50-60-day seedlings are optimal. At the same time, finished products begin to arrive at the end of June and throughout the first ten days of July. During these periods, significant cold snaps are still possible, so an emergency shelter should be provided for such an event. In prolonged cold weather, the leaves of early cabbage can acquire a purple hue, which will disappear with the establishment of normal weather and after feeding. Freezing temperatures leave lesions on the leaves in the form of white spots.
For spring-summer and summer-autumn crops, 40-45 day old seedlings are optimal. The allowed range is 35-50 days.
For early spring cultivation, early ripening, early and mid-early varieties and hybrids are cultivated. For the spring-summer period, varieties and hybrids from mid-early to late-ripening are suitable.
Planting scheme 60-70 x 20-25 cm, depending on the characteristics of the variety or hybrid. Agrotechnology of planting seedlings, as in white cabbage (see Growing white cabbage). After planting, if the weather is dry, it is good to mulch the soil around the plants with peat or humus in the form of a "collar" in a thin layer to retain moisture and to avoid the formation of a soil crust.
Cauliflower needs constant soil maintenance in a loose and weed-free form. Loosening is carried out until the plants close between the rows. The first loosening is done 3-5 days after transplanting. Closer to the plants - to a depth of 5-6 cm, and in the aisles - by 6-8 cm. After loosening, the plants are additionally watered, if necessary.
The second loosening is carried out 10-12 days after planting and the first feeding is given, combining it with watering.
If fertilizers are applied randomly in a dry form, then per 1 m2 they consume: ammonium nitrate 20-25 g, superphosphate 15-20 g and 10 g of potassium fertilizer. After applying the fertilizer, irrigation must be carried out by sprinkling in order to wash off the fertilizer that accidentally fell on the leaves. Otherwise, there may be burns on the leaves, especially if they are wet.
It is better to apply fertilizers in the form of a solution, especially in dry weather. For 10 liters of water, you need to take: ammonium nitrate 30 g, superphosphate 40 g, and 20 g of potassium fertilizer. Consumption of working solution - 1 liter per plant.
In the early spring period, at the first feeding, it is good to give the following fertilizers: for 10 liters of mullein solution 1: 6 or chicken manure 1:10, add 20 g of ammonium nitrate, 40 g of superphosphate and 10 g of potassium fertilizer. Consumption of working solution 1 liter per plant.
After the soil is aired, the cabbage is slightly podkuchenie first time, the second hilling is carried out two weeks after the first.
During the period of intensive leaf growth and at the beginning of the formation of the heads, the following composition is given (dry g / m2): ammonium nitrate 15-20, superphosphate 20-25 and potassium fertilizer 10-15.
The following solution is made from organic fertilizers: for 10 liters of mullein solution 1: 6 or chicken droppings 1:10, add 30 g of ammonium nitrate, 80 g of superphosphate and 40 g of potassium fertilizer. Consumption of a working solution of 1 liter for a plant.
In the absence of mullein and chicken manure, you can buy dry granular chicken manure, liquid extract of cow dung "Biud", or liquid extract of horse manure "Biud", "Bucephal", "Kaury" in stores. For those who are not comfortable making fertilizers themselves, there are ready-made complex fertilizers for cabbage on sale: Agricola, Kaliyphos-N, Hera for Cabbage, Cabbage, etc.
It is better to alternate organic and mineral supplements with each other. Depending on the fertility of the soil and the duration of the growing season (early maturity), 1-3 additional dressings are carried out during the growing period. After fertilizing the plants, it is good to add a mixture of sod land with compost or humus.
To obtain more uniformly developed plants, it is good to give regular (fractional) weekly feeding. In this case, the amount of fertilizer for conventional feeding is divided by the number of fractional feeding and is applied in the form of a weak solution. For example, timing them to the next watering.
Cauliflower does not work well on acidic soils, and constant difficulties arise with it. To maintain the soil in a slightly alkaline state, once every 2-3 weeks, a solution of calcium nitrate (3 tablespoons per 10 liters of water) can be applied under cabbage plants. Or a solution of dolomite flour or lime (1 glass per 10 liters of water). Consumption of working solution 0.5 l per plant. When using calcium nitrate, the dose of nitrogen fertilizers should be slightly reduced.When adding a solution of dolomite flour or lime, the liquid must be constantly stirred so that the sediment is evenly distributed.
The last feeding of cauliflower is carried out no later than 10 days after the onset of head formation, otherwise their quality deteriorates and nitrates accumulate.
Above we were talking about fractional feeding of cabbage. Very convenient to use and efficiently environmentally friendly universal organic long-acting fertilizer "Siertuin-AZ" (NPK 7-6-6), available for sale in large cities. It is able to replace all the above-mentioned mineral and organic fertilizers, as well as enrich the soil with beneficial microflora, suppressing the growth of pathogenic microorganisms and increasing the availability of nutrients for plants. It is enough to use it only twice - by introducing it into the soil 7-10 days after planting the seedlings, and then at the beginning of the formation of the heads. The amount of fertilizer is 5-6 times less than that indicated on the package, about 10 g per 1 m2.
In the absence of this fertilizer, when planting in seedlings, it is possible to lay the Root Feeder (granular long-acting fertilizer in permeable bags) in the holes. This also gives good results and eliminates the need for split fertilization.
Possible physiological growth disorders
The quality of the cauliflower heads is directly related to the "quality" of the leaf apparatus. Depending on the varietal characteristics, the plant should have 16-20 well-developed leaves. Therefore, during the period of intensive growth of leaves, plants need a sufficient amount of available nitrogen. With its lack, the leaves acquire a light color, plant growth slows down, the heads are formed flat and loose. With an excess amount of nitrogen, on the contrary, the heads are strongly convex, heavy and watery, their quality decreases. At the same time, the leaf apparatus grows strongly and an increased content of nitrates accumulates in the plants.
During the growth of heads, plants need potassium and phosphorus. Lack of phosphorus, as well as excess leads to the formation of underdeveloped small heads. Potassium blocks excess nitrogen supply, promotes the formation of high-quality dense heads and increases plant resistance to diseases. Lack of potassium causes the edges of the leaves to dry out and appear brown spots on them. Trace minerals are also very important. They help optimize plant growth and development. Their lack leads to a decrease in yield and a deterioration in the quality of the heads.
Cauliflower constantly needs watering, the greatest need for water falls on the head formation phase. If in the initial period of growth of the planted seedlings the soil will dry out due to insufficient watering, then the cabbage in the future (even if then watered and fed "for slaughter") forms non-commodity heads. The approximate number of cauliflower waterings during the growing season for central Russia at a normal level of precipitation: early spring crop - 6-8, summer - 10-12, summer-autumn - 8-10. Depending on the development of plants, the root system, the structure and condition of the soil, 40-60 l / m2 are consumed for one irrigation. This amount of water should not be poured out immediately, but within 15-30 minutes of irrigation, preferably by sprinkling. To retain moisture, the soil after watering can be slightly mulched with compost, peat or humus. For more information about the various methods of irrigation, their advantages and disadvantages for different types of soils and reliefs, see the article Ways of watering white cabbage.
In the agricultural technology of cauliflower there is a very important technique that is not applied to other cabbage crops, but without which you cannot get high quality products - this is shading heads... If you ignore this event, then all your previous labors may be in vain. The heads in direct sun will turn pink or yellow and quickly crumble or grow.In June-July, shading of the heads is especially necessary. To cover the head, a couple of large rosette leaves are broken, or leaves from neighboring plants are used. Leaves do not need to be broken, but simply connect 2-3 pieces. and fasten together over the head of the cabbage. This should be done in a timely manner, as soon as the cabbage reaches the visible head phase.
Some varieties of cauliflower have a head well covered with leaves: Summer Resident, Marvel 4 seasons, Regent MC, Sugar Glaze, Snowdrift, Celeste, Express MC.
Cauliflower in compacted and re-planted
Cauliflower does well in compacted and re-culture. Re-planting is carried out after harvesting early spring greens and root crops. Having removed them at the end of May in the first half of June, the land is occupied by cauliflower seedlings, 40-45 days old. Of the old known varieties, Guarantee, MOVIR74, Otechestvennaya are best suited for this. The yield is approximately 1.5 kg / m2. This method is especially widely used by gardeners in small areas, for a more rational use of the land. For these purposes, they always maintain a small supply of seedlings in the nursery.
You can grow cauliflower in a re-culture and seedless way. But the yield is lower, about 1.2 kg / m2.
Cauliflower can be used as a sealant for white cabbage (see Growing White Cabbage). Early maturing green crops and radishes are used as a sealant for cauliflower. They are sown or planted with seedlings in every second aisle of cabbage in two lines with a distance between lines of 10-15 cm. Cauliflower adjoins very well with celery, which scares away the cabbage fly.
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