Why Broccoli farming in Kenya?
Broccoli is originally Cole Crop just like cabbage and cauliflower. Now days broccoli farming is very popular among Kenya’s farmers due to broccoli’s nutritional value, very popular in local consumer and also in other countries. Broccoli is belong to Cruciferae family. Broccoli is eaten for its stem or head. It is flower bud in early stage which is known as head. In the early era it is known as The Five Fingers of Jupiter. It is famous for its distinctive texture and taste. It is one year crop if planted for head and two year crop for the fruits and seeds.
What are the benefits of broccoli in our healthy life?
Broccoli has vital vitamins like C and K, even hassulfur, folate and chromium. It is also rich source of vitamin B1, omega -3 fatty acids, magnesium, zinc, calcium, niacin, iron and selenium. So it has vast amount of micro nutrients. Due to omega-3 fatty acids, it is very useful for cure Cancer. Also it is useful for control diabetes and obesity. This is the increase demand of broccoli in Kenya and directly increase broccoli farming in Kenya.
- How is it look?
It is look like small tree. It has many small flower bud which is anonymously known as flower head in green color. It is surrounde d by leaves.
- Which type of soil is needed?
Broccoli can be grown any type of soil from sandy loam to clay loam. Soil should be have high drainage capacity. The pH level of soil should be 6 to 7.
- Which type of environment is needed?
Broccoli can be grown cool environment. Optimum temperature for the growth of broccoli is 150 to 200 c.
- Which type of verity should be used?
There are many types of verity for growing of broccoli.
There are three types of broccoli which are grown very commonly:
(A) Calabrese broccoli
(B) Prouting Broccoli
(C) Purple cauliflower.
There are some famous verities which are grown very commonly grown for broccoli farming in Kenya as per under:
- Early Green F1 Hybrid: The head shape is like mushroom with uniform bluish green color. It has good quality head with single head and no side shoot. It matures in 85 days.
- Dandy Early No.32 Hybrid: It is tolerant to black rot and downy mildew. It has firm dome shaped head. It matures in 92 days.
- Green Sprouting: It has compact head with fleshy stalks and flowering shoots. It matures in 60 days.
- Ritardos: it has dark foliage. It matures in 65 days.
- Stalto F1: it is higher producer verity. It matures in 60 days.
- Heritage: it also matures in 60 days.
- Skiff F1: Head has blue greenish color. It matures in 60 days.
- How to propagate?
Broccoli is sown by direct seed or first sown in a nursery after that transplanted in main field after four to six weeks of sowing. Direct sowing is little bit risky for emergence of plants.
- How to prepare nursery bed?
First plough the field properly and make raise or flat bad as per requirement. After that mix the fertilizers and watering the bed. Sterilized the bed through soil sterilization methods to protect from pest and diseases and weed control. Seeds are drilled in tiny holes with 10-15 cm spacing. Covering the beds by dry leaves or other dry farm waist. After emergence of seedling covering material should be remove.
- When to transplant to the main field?
Seedling should be transplanted after 4-6 weeks when four leaves are formed.
- What is spacing for main field?
Raw to raw and plant to plant distance 60*45 cm
- Which Manure and Fertilizers should apply?
Manure and fertilizers should be apply before transplanting the seedling to the main field. DAP or Tap are the best fertilizers for the broccoli. During top dressing 20gm CAN should be apply for per plant. Magnesium and boron are essential micro nutrients during growth of plant so apply magnesium and boron.
- How to give Irrigation?
Water should be apply when it required. Broccoli needs an adequate soil moisture for qualitative and quantitive production. More irrigation can encourage the watery heads, root rots and damage to the production. Drip irrigation is new method now a days and it is saving water and increase yield.
- How to control weed?
Weed can be control by hand weeding after 40-45 days of transplanting. We can also use chemicals. But it is not safe because it can be damage to root.
- What should be care during broccoli farming?
- Mulching is new innovation now a days for broccoli farming in Kenya. It maintain soil moisture and control weeds.
- Do not watering during head formation because it develop watery heads and encourage root rot.
- Do not damage root during intercultural practices because root of broccoli are very shallow and they damaged easily.
- Fertilizers should be apply after 3 weeks of transplanting to the main field.
- Quality of broccoli should be maintain because it is mostly used in restaurants, higher class of markets and export purpose.
- How to control pest and disease?
Those pest which are attack to cabbage or cauliflowers are also found in broccoli framing. Diamond back moth, cabbage sawfly, aphids, cutworms, loppers, flea beetles, etc are most damaging pests. Some cultural practices and insecticide can be control the pests.
Black rot, root rot, downy mildew, bacterial rot, fusarium rot etc are very common diseases in broccoli farming in Kenya. Downy mildew is very common disease of broccoli farming in Kenya of higher altitude area. They can be control by chemicals, crop rotation. Now a days disease and pest s resistance verities are used for broccoli farming in Kenya.
- What are physical Disorders?
Buttoning is very common disorder of broccoli farming. Broccoli is very sensitive of environment. Very cool environment and below 100 c encourage the buttoning even nitrogen stress during growth can develop button type heads. Give properly fertilizers and maintain adequate moisture in the soil.
- When and how to harvest?
Broccoli head should be harvest when they are mature. They should be harvest after 60-100 days of sowing depending up on which type of verity sown. When flower bud is gone tighten and firm deep green. Cut the stem near the head of broccoli and put it at cool and dry place. Broccoli should be harvest at the morning before soil get warm.
- Taking care after harvesting
It is very perishable vegetable and it cannot be stored or very long time. After harvesting put it in dry and cool area. Spray the water for cooling it and maintain its freshness.
- How to store Broccoli?
To store the broccoli for long time needs refrigerator. It can be store 0 to 40 c temperate and 95 to 100 % relative humidity for the 10-15 days.