Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cultivation of Broccoli

Broccoli (from the Italian plural of broccolo, referring to "the flowering top of a cabbage") is a plant of the mustard/cabbage family Brassicaceae (formerly Cruciferae). It is classified in the Italica cultivar group of the species Brassica oleracea. Broccoli has large flower heads, usually green in color, arranged in a tree-like fashion on branches sprouting  from a thick, edible stalk. The mass of flower heads is surrounded by leaves. Many varieties of broccoli are perennial. Broccoli most closely resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species.
Broccoli is usually boiled or steamed, but may be eaten raw and has become popular as a raw vegetable in trays. Although boiling has been shown to reduce the levels of suspected anti-cancer compounds in broccoli, other preparation methods such as steaming, microwaving, lactic fermentation, and stir-frying have not been shown to reduce the presence of these compounds.
Broccoli is a hardy vegetable of the cabbage family that is high in vitamins A and D. It develops best during cool seasons of the year.

1. Climate:
Broccoli is cool season crop. It grows best around 20°C. Continuous rain and high temperature will increase disease problem and obstruct head development. There are some heat tolerant
varieties that can grow well in fairly warm season.

2. Soil:
Broccoli requires deep sandy loam or clay loam soil with is rich in organic matters and good drainage. It is best to rotate broccoli with other crops that are not crucifers.

3. Seedling care:
The usual planting rate is 300gms of seed per hectare.
Sow the seed in the nursery or on the seedling bed. Thin the seedlings to 3 cm apart 2 – 3 days after germination.

4. Transplanting and Spacing:
Transplant the seedlings at 4 – 5 true leaves stage about 25 to 30 days after seeding. Space them 40 – 45 cm apart in the double rows of 60 – 70 cm apart on each high bed of 90 – 100 cm wide.
The seedling must be sufficiently watered several hours before transplanting to make easier to remove the plant from the seedling bed. Thus, the roots of seedling may hold as much soil as possible, so as to prevent wilting during transplanting.
Irrigation must apply immediately after the transplanting.

Broccoli thrives best on soil of good fertility. Therefore Manure and chemical fertilizer.
1st application: Should be applied in a circle around the plant after it recovered from transplanting.
2nd application: Should be applied in bands on shoulders of the bed 2 week after 1st side dressing.
3rd application: Should be applied on both sides of the furrows when the flower buds start to form.

6. Management:
Broccoli is shallow rooted crop. Therefore, irrigation should be applied frequently to prevent the plant from injures in dry soil. Drainage must be carried out in the rainy season. It is necessary to remove side shoots as soon as possible to improve the yield and quality of main head.

7. Harvesting:
The quality of broccoli heads are usually harvested when they reach full size and firm; never wait until the clustered buds begin to open. When cutting, include 25 cm of the edible portion of the stem. It is best to harvest the heads in the early morning. Packing should be started as soon as possible after cutting.

8.Nutritional and medicinal

Broccoli, raw (edible parts), 100 g Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy                                                       141 kJ (34 kcal)
Carbohydrates                                             6.64 g
Sugars                                                           1.7 g
Dietary fiber                                                 2.6 g
Fat0                                                                .37 g
Protein                                                          2.82 g
Water                                                          89.30 g
Vitamin A equiv                                             .31 μg (3%)
- beta-carotene                                              361 μg (3%)
- lutein and zeaxanthin                             1121 μg
Thiamine (Vit. B1)                                      0.071 mg (5%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2)                                     0.117 mg (8%)
Niacin (Vit. B3)                                            0.639 mg (4%)
Pantothenic acid (B5)                                 0.573 mg (11%)
Vitamin B                                                   60.175 mg (13%)
Folate (Vit. B9)                                           63 μg (16%)
Vitamin C                                                    89.2 mg (149%)
Calcium                                                        47 mg (5%)
Iron                                                             0.73 mg (6%)
Magnesium                                                 21 mg (6%)
Phosphorus                                                 66 mg (9%)
Potassium                                                   316 mg (7%)
Zinc                                                               0.41 mg (4%)

Broccoli is high in vitamins C, K, and A, as well as dietary fiber; it also contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as diindolylmethane and small amounts of selenium. A single serving provides more than 30 mg of Vitamin C  and a half-cup provides 52 mg of Vitamin C.The 3,3'-Diindolylmethane found in broccoli is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial  and anti-cancer activity. 

Broccoli also contains the compound glucoraphanin, which can be processed into an anti-cancer compound sulforaphane, though the benefits of broccoli are greatly reduced if the vegetable is boiled more than ten minutes.A high intake of broccoli has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Broccoli consumption has also been shown to be beneficial in the prevention of heart  disease.

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compiled by Harsh Saxena
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