Introduction: Broccoli is an exotic vegetable. Broccoli farming in polyhouse is the good sources of income. Broccoli has amongst the highest concentration of magnesium, iron, and calcium amongst all vegetables and it also has very high quantities of vitamin A and vitamin C.
A step by step guide to Broccoli farming in polyhouse
Broccoli is crisp and tasty to eat and use this vegetable in Salad. The size of the Broccoli plant is the same as cauliflower. Currently, this Broccoli vegetable has become popular in India, and the consumption of food has increased in the big five star hotels as well as at home for making this vegetable salad.
Broccoli varietes for Polyhouse
Broccoli varieties cultivated in India are Roylegreen, Evergreen, Danube, Yugren, Salinas Pilgrim, Green Mountain, and Central, Premium Crop, Premium Pusa Broccoli.
Requirements for Broccoli farming in polyhouse
Broccoli is a high-value vegetable crop for off-season and main season production under polyhouse farming. A partially ventilated low-cost polyhouse with both polythene and agro shed net can be suitable for farmers.
Polyhouse farming should be designed in such a way that smart farmers can produce high-value crops out of season when prices of farm produce are at their highest. This is the way you can get higher incomes and a higher return on the high initial investment. Since you can control light, ambient temperature, humidity, and water for irrigation, you can generate all the crops that fetch a high price in local and regional markets. In polyhosues, you can generate pesticide-free produce or even organic produce that fetch a higher price due to their high nutrition value, better taste, and freshness.
Soil requirement for Broccoli farming in polyhouse
Broccoli vegetable can be grown in a wide variety of soils type. To obtain a better yield from Broccoli crop sandy and silt loam soils are most preferred. The soil pH level should be in between 5.5– 6.5.
For Broccoli farming, the ideal temperature required 25°C to 26°C during the day and 16° C to 17°C in the night. To get through the year production Broccoli farming done in the polyhouse.
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Preparation of seedlings
Generally, most of the farmer make Broccoli plant seedlings on own felid because most of the nursery don’t create Broccoli seedling due to less demand for Broccoli seeling. So you can buy Broccoli seed and set own Broccoli plant seedlings.
For creating broccoli plant seedlings mainly two methods obtainable
Soilless media – with the use of coco peat in the plastic nursery tray
Soil media – raised soil bed
Seed spacing in Broccoli farming in polyhouse
Spacing and seed rate varies accordingly to the selected cultivar, soil quality, and fertility, planting method, etc. However, quality seeds are good enough for planting.
However, after spending and transplanting seedling, thinning must be at about 3 cm apart after 2 to 3 days of germination.
Spacing for single row planting must be 40 cm to 45 cm apart, whereas, for double row planting, the spacing should be 60 cm to 65 cm. The grown seedling should be watered sufficiently for several hours before planting on the field to avoid the wilting during transplanting. Light irrigation should be done, just after transplanting the seedlings.
Planting and fertilization
Because broccoli is a cool-season crop, it generally is planted in the spring. You should begin planting when soil temperatures reach at least 50°F and the possibility of hard frosts (28°F or lower) has passed in the area. Broccoli heads should be closed and tight (no yellow petals showing) to be considered good quality.
Generally, Broccoli is transplanted in the spring, it can be sown directly from seed in late summer or early fall when soil temperatures are in the high 60s and ambient air temperatures are in the 80s. Under these conditions, seeds commonly emerge in less than 7 days. Adequate soil moisture is necessary for optimum broccoli seed germination. Depending on the climate, transplanting begins in late March to mid- April month. Successive plantings can happen every 2 weeks through August.
Depending on the planter type used (random or precision), you must sow 0.5-1.5 pounds of broccoli seed per acre, with seeds placed 12-18 inches apart in 36-inch rows. When transplanting, you must have a minimum of 11,000 plants per acre. Spacing decisions depend on the row spacing of equipment, your ability to irrigate, the planting date, and your specific market requirements (small or large heads).
Fertilizer rates must be based on annual soil test results. If you are unable to conduct a test, the recommended N-P-K application rates are 120-100- 100 pounds per acre. Liming can also be necessary to maintain soil pH in the 5.5-6.5 range for optimal growth. Cruciferous crops such as Broccoli need more boron than most other crops.
The soil is a resource that wants to be managed and monitored meticulously. A grower must have soil samples of the intended growing area analyzed by an accredited laboratory to determine the nutrient status of the soil. Based on soil analysis results fertilization can then be developed. This program is specifically for the kind of soil that was sampled and subsequently analyzed. This exercise must be done every season or every time a new crop is planted on the land.
In addition to having soil samples tested, the water quality must be analyzed because water quality can have a direct effect on the growth of the plant. For example, irrigation water with high calcium levels can increase the soil pH level.
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Irrigation requirement for Broccoli farming in polyhouse
In polyhouse, Broccoli requires adequate soil moisture to maximize yield and quality, especially during flower head formation. Overwatering can cause loose heads or hollow stems to increase and can promote root diseases. Broccoli is generally irrigated with furrows and overhead sprinklers. Many growers use sprinkler irrigation through seed emergence or to set transplants, then switch to furrow or drip irrigation system for the remainder of the crop.
The amount and frequency of sprinkler irrigation or furrow irrigation depend on soil type, weather conditions, crop production area, and maturity. The combination of soil moisture monitoring and weather-based irrigation scheduling can be used to find out the water needs of Broccoli. Water quantity is highest during the last month of the crop when vegetative growth is high.
After the 30 days transplanting remove weed, this weed competes for food sunlight and air with the major crop so maintain the crop weed-free. Also, rake the soil on the bed which useful for increase oxygen level to the root zone.
Pest management in Broccoli farming in polyhouse
Insect pests can be the main problem in broccoli production, especially in summer plantings for fall harvest. Damage to transplants and older plants can effect from cutworms, imported cabbageworm, cabbage looper, diamondback moth larvae, and cross-striped cabbage worm.
Marketability is decreased when insects feed on leaves and heads. Early detection is critical for controlling these pests. Scouting to monitor populations can help growers decide when and how often pesticides should be applied. Bt is a microbial insecticide that can be used efficiently against most types of broccoli pests and is a primary component of organic production. Many other organic and non-organic insecticides are obtainable for use.
Several plant diseases (black rot, blackleg, and downy mildew) can result in yield losses. Good crop rotation and the use of certified disease-free resistant varieties will help in the prevention of many of these diseases. Fungicide/bactericide sprays could also be necessary when pathogens are present and conditions are favorable for infection
Broccoli harvesting in polyhouse
In polyhouse, Broccoli grown from seed will come to harvest in 100 to 150 days. Grown from transplants Broccoli will come to harvest in 55 – 80 days. Cut buds when they are still green and tight with a knife and cut the central head with 5 to 6 inches of stem. Leave the base of the Broccoli plant and some outer leaves to encourage new heads on secondary shoots. Heads that have begun to open showing yellow flowers are past the eating stage.
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