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Department of Olericulture

Hitherto, cultivation of cabbage and cauliflower was possible in Kerala only in

the hill tracts of Idukki and Wynad districts. But, now with the development of tropical
hybrids which can grow well under high temperature conditions, cultivation of these
crops can be done in plains of Kerala as well. Cultivation of the temperate vegetables like
cabbage and cauliflower is now thus possible anywhere in Kerala. The Olericulture
Department, College of Horticulture, Kerala Agricultural University, has been
successfully cultivating these vegetables in their research fields at Vellanikkara for the
last two years. In fact, the demonstration plots of these crops at the Department are
attracting thousands of visitors from all over the state.
Both cabbage and cauliflower come up well during October - March period under
Kerala conditions. Pusa Deepali, Pusa Early Synthetic, Greeshma, Atisheeghra and
Basant are potential cauliflower varieties/hybrids suitable for Kerala plains. Pusa Agathi,
Quisto and Hari Rani Gol are the cabbage varieties/hybrids which perform very well
under Kerala conditions.

Cabbage and cauliflower are raised as transplanted crops. Recommended seed

rate is 400-500 g/ha. The seedlings will be ready for transplanting in 3–6 weeks after
sowing. Main field is ploughed 2-3 times to a fine tilth and ridges are taken at a spacing
of 60-75 cm. Seedlings are transplanted in ridges at a spacing of 30-60 cm. FYM is
incorporated at the time of field preparation @ 25 t/ha. A fertilizer dose of 150:100:125
kg NPK/ha is recommended for realizing better yield. Special attention must be paid to
availability of elements like boron, molybdenum and magnesium. Earthing up is to be
carried out one month after transplanting. Optimum moisture supply is to be ensured
during the entire growth period. Very shallow hoeing is helpful to remove weeds without
causing injury to the roots.

Cauliflower is harvested when curds remain compact and smooth, attain proper
size and retain original colour. Storage of cauliflower is generally not recommended for
more than 3 weeks. Slightly immature and compact curds keep better than more mature
ones. Cabbage heads should be harvested when they attain full size. After that, they burst
or loosen. Cabbage should be handled carefully from field to storage and only solid heads
with no yellowing, decay or mechanical injuries should be stored. Before storage, all the
loose leaves should be trimmed away leaving heads with 3-6 tight wrapper leaves. The
average yield of tropical hybrids will come to 20 – 25 tons per hectare.

Black rot, downey mildew and Alternaria blight are the serious diseases of
cabbage and cauliflower while the serious pest is cabbage diamond back moth. However,
the crops raised in the plains are found to be relatively free from pest and disease
incidence. The black rot disease occasionally seen in cauliflower can be controlled by
spraying Pseudomonas fluorescens at 1% concentration.