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Production Technology of Sprouted Broccoli

Broccoli is an important cool-season vegetable crop in which the terminal heads are edible. Broccoli is a high-quality vegetable for fresh use and is one of the most popular frozen vegetables. It is a highly nutritious crop containing a high amount of vitamins (A and C) and minerals (K, P, Ca, and Fe).

Climate and Soil

Climate and Soil

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Broccoli is a cool-season vegetable that thrives best in a cool and moist climate. It is very much sensitive to very low and high temperatures. Broccoli grows best when exposed to an average daily temperature between 17 and 23 °C. Broccoli grows best on a well-drained, medium to heavy soil with high organic matter content. It requires moist soil for fast and proper growth. The shoots become more fibrous under dry soil. It does well in the pH range of 5.0 to 6.5.

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Land preparation

Land preparation

Prepare the land to a fine tilth by disc ploughing followed by one or two harrowing. Incorporate well-decomposed FYM @ 8 tans per acre at the time of land preparation. Broccoli can be sown on ridges or on a flatbed, sowing on ridges in case of heavy soils. Application of organic manure or vermicompost improves plant growth, and productivity and improves the water holding capacity of field soil. The sterilization of soil by drenching, nursery beds with formalin @ 1:49, about 15-20 days before seed sowing is beneficial for preventing the attack of the fungal diseases. After drenching, seedbeds should be covered with polythene for a week. Then beds are again dug and left open for 5-6 days to avoid the injurious effect of formalin on seeds.

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Planting Season

Planting Season

The best time for sowing seeds in the nursery is mid-August to mid-September. Seedlings are ready to transplant in the field after a month of sowing in the nursery. In order to avoid bolting and buttoning, it is advisable to sow the nursery at right time.

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Spacing & Seed Rate

Spacing & Seed Rate

A spacing of 45 × 45 cm between row to row as well as a plant to plant should be followed for the successful cultivation of broccoli. A seed rate of 250-270 g is sufficient for the cultivation of broccoli in a one-acre area.

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Nutrient Management

Nutrient Management

Manure and fertilizer requirements in broccoli depend upon the fertility status of the soil. So, a soil test is the most accurate guide to fertilizer requirements. Apply 8 tones well rotten FYM during field preparation. Apart from the application of manure, apply 40 kg N, 30 kg P2O5, and 20 kg K2O per acre. The half dose of N and full doses of P and K should be applied before transplanting. The remaining half dose of N should be top dressed in two equal splits viz. after one month of transplanting and at the time of head formation.

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Intercultural Operations

Intercultural Operations

Shallow frequent hoeing should be done in broccoli fields by ‘khurpi or hoe’ to kill young weeds and provide soil mulch. Since it is a shallow-rooted crop, hoeing should not be done beyond the depth of 5 – 6 cm to avoid injuries to the roots. Weeding should be started as soon as plants are set in the field. Four to five weeks after transplanting, plants should be slightly earthen up in the field.

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Water Management

Water Management

Broccoli needs sufficient moisture in the soil for the uniform and continuous growth of plants. First irrigation should be given just after transplanting. First irrigation should be light to avoid the loss of freshly transplanted seedlings. Subsequent irrigation can be given at an interval of 7-8 days during summer and 10-15 days during winter depending upon soil type and weather. There should be sufficient moisture in the soil at the time of head formation.

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Plant Protection

Plant Protection

Aphids

Aphids

The aphids are generally observed on the lower surface of the leaves. The Yellowish green nymphs and adults suck cell sap and devitalize plants. Affected plant parts become discolored, malformed, and weakened.

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Diamondback Moth

Diamondback Moth

It is one of the most serious pests of cole crops including broccoli. The green or brownish-colored caterpillars feed the inner leaves by making holes, rendering transparent cuticular patches. Severely affected leaves are completely skeletonized.

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Black Rot

Black Rot

It is the most serious disease affecting broccoli. This bacterial disease is common in areas with warm and humid climates. The typical symptoms of black rot are caused by a local infection that results when bacteria enter leaves through natural openings of leaf margins. The infected tissue turns pale green-yellow and then turns brown and dies.

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Downy Mildew

Downy Mildew

The disease is very serious in nurseries and may also appear in field planting. During periods of high humidity, light grey powdery patches appear on the undersurface of the leaves and shoots.

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Leaf Spot and Blight

Leaf Spot and Blight

There is the appearance of small dark yellow spots on the leaf surface during the initial stage, which later on enlarged to circular areas with concentric rings, surrounded by yellow halos. In severe cases, the entire plant defoliates.

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Physiological Disorders

Physiological Disorders

Whiptail:- The lamina of the newly formed leaves becomes leathery, irregular, and consisting of only mid-rib. It is caused due to molybdenum deficiency in plants.

Control:-Soil application of molybdenum @ 400-600 kg per acre before transplanting reduces the occurrence of the disorder. Foliar spray with 0.01% Ammonium molybdate solution helps to check this disorder.

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Browning Head: Firstly, there is the appearance of water-soaked areas on bud clusters which later on turns pinkish or rusty-brown resulting in rotting. Browning’s head is a result of boron deficiency in plants.

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Control: Soil application of borax or sodium borate @ 8 kg per acre prevents the disorder. Foliar spray of 0.25-0.5% borax solution is very much for effective especially when the deficiency is acute.

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Harvesting and Yield

Harvesting and Yield

As soon as sprouts are of marketable size i.e. 10–15 cm stems should be harvested with a sharp knife. The bud cluster should be green and compact. If harvesting is delayed, the bud cluster becomes loose. The sprouts or heads should be picked up regularly to ensure quality. Moreover, sprouts should be marketed as soon as possible because they cannot be stored for a long time. Sprouts are ready to harvest again after 10-12 days. An average yield of 40 – 60 q per acre from multi-cuts can be obtained depending upon the variety

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Post Harvesting

Post Harvesting

After harvesting, its heads should be immediately sorted, graded, packed in baskets, and sent to markets. A high rate of respiration results in deterioration of its quality. They should be cooled at 4°C and then packed with ice in crates and stored in refrigeration. They can be stored well for 7–10 days at 4°C.

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