Broccoli is a now widely cultivated vegetable in Keralathanks to its recent popularity. It belongs to the same family of cauliflower, Brassicaceae, and is a winter crop, originally from Italy. Broccoli is a pretty vegetable that has a flower head looking like a group of small dark green trees. Though it is similar to cauliflower, the curd of cauliflower is white in colour. There is a hybrid variety called broccoflower, a mix of broccoli and cauliflower.
Select a ground where 50 percent of shade is available for seed germination.
Make a mix of soil, sand and compost/cow dung powder in 1:1:1 proportion.
If the soil acidity levels are high, then, add 100 grams of lime to 10 kgs of mix. This mix, with its moisture intact, has to be kept under shade for at least a week.
After this, add 10 gms of trichoderma or pseudomonas to the mix with a little moisture. This will help prevent the fungal infection that cause root rot.
Make beds half a feet high, one feet wide and sufficiently long enough. Sow the seeds 0.5 to 1 cm deep and 2 inches apart. If protrays are used, then sow one seed in one hole.
After 25-30 days of germination (once they grow 10 cms high), they can be planted on grow bags or previously prepared ground with sufficient moisture and fertilizers. Make sure they receive enough sunlight too.
Add compost 2-3 times in the initial stage and then add one among egg/fish amino acid, cow urine, and jeevamrutham week after week depending upon the growth rate. Bacterial fertilizer is also good for growing broccoli.
Pseudomonas can be sprayed on the leaves and in the plants bed as well. This will increase the immunity of plants as well as help to ward off diseases.
Pluck off wilting and dry leaves so that moisture won’t be trapped in the plant.
Spraying neem oil mix will keep away pests.
Use copper oxychloride if fungal infection is spotted on leaves.
Proper irrigation and well-drained soil is necessary for farming.
It is a fact proven by many studies that the new generation in Kerala has many health issues due to unhealthy food and lifestyle. Broccoli’s relevance is particularly high in this scenario. Though it looks humble, the vegetable is a power house of nutrients. It has many specialties and benefits though most of us are ignorant of the same. Broccoli belonging to the same family of cauliflower and cabbage, alleviate various ailments in our body. However it is a fact that people are unaware of its values.
Recent studies show broccoli can prevent cancer. Sulforaphane and indoles present in broccoli are the cancer preventing factors. Regular diet of broccoli and tomato is believed to prevent breast cancer. These reasons make it a favourite vegetable among westerners.
Many specialists advice broccoli be included in lunch to prevent blood pressure levels. The ability of broccoli in increasing immunity levels and energising the body have been established through studies.
It prevents arthritis due to the significant amount of sulphur present in it. It also keeps kidneys healthy. The high vitamin B content cures many aliments affecting pancreas and stomach. It also keeps heart healthy by keeping the cholesterol at lower levels.
It is a storehouse of anti-oxidants including Vitamin C. It keeps bones and teeth healthy. It also saves body from allergy. It also helps in hair growth. Diabetes patients can regularly include broccoli in their diet as it can control diabetes and eventually even cure diabetes.
Broccoli is a fibre rich vegetable. It is also rich in protein hence, it is best to include it in breakfast and lunch. It contains vitamins like Vitamin C, K, and Beta Carotene. It is the abode of many minerals like calcium, phosphorous, potassium, and iron. One of the main advantage is the low levels of calories. It has 30 kilo calories in 100 gms.
There are basically 3 types of broccoli, and calabrese broccoli is the most popular one. The florets grow some 10 to 20 cms from stem. This a winter crop.
Sprouting broccoli is another variety. More than one flower heads with stalks are found in this variety.
The third variety is purple cauliflower. They are usually found in Europe and North America. Their flower heads resemble cauliflower. It consists of several flower heads.
Broccoli usually grows well between temperature ranges of 18 to 23 degree Celsius. In this case the healthy florets are seen in the middle with dark green colour. The florets can be consumed raw or cooked.