Cauliflower is a healthy vegetable. It is eaten fresh, cooked in a stew, or roasted. Baking, frying, boiling, or steaming, can also be used for preparation.
Although not particularly popular in Kenya, it is mostly eaten by Kenya’s high-end domestic market.
It comes in a variety of colours, including green, white, purple, and orange, with white being the most popular in Kenya. Cauliflower consumption has a number of health benefits. They include cancer prevention, weight loss and digestive improvement, cognitive enhancement, bone strengthening, heart disease prevention, and overall mortality reduction.
In some regions, cauliflower makes cauliflower crust pizza and cheese soup.
There are numerous varieties to choose from. Cauliflower Plenty F1 is a fast-maturing F1 hybrid that develops in 60 to 65 days after transplanting. It also has edible head weights ranging from 750 grams to 1.5 kilograms on average.
The edible head is usually a mass of blooms with only female organs and hence is unable to produce fruits or seeds.
Cauliflower varieties are grown in Kenya include:
Cheddar AGM- has orange-yellow flower heads
Skywalker AGM has large white curds.
Clapton- has large whiteheads
Graffiti AGM- has deep purple heads
All-year-round Italian giant, Early snowball, Kibo giant, Rami F1, Patna early, Purple Cape, White Rock, and Limelight are among the other kinds.
Cauliflower is a cool-season crop that thrives on well-drained organic soils with PH levels of 6.0 to 6.5.
It necessitates soil rich in organic matter, which aids in the retention of moisture.
Annual rainfall of at least 500mm per year and temperatures ranging from 12 to 18 degrees Celsius are ideal for cauliflower growth.
Seeds grow to become cauliflower vegetables.
Prior to planting, land preparation should be ready as soon as possible.
To improve soil fertility, a farmer should apply compost manure to the soil before planting.
Seedlings are first planted in a nursery and then toughened for seven days before being transplanted three to four weeks later.
Cauliflower should, however, be grown from transplants rather than seeds, to begin with.
Six to eight weeks before the start of heavy rainfall, a farmer can plant cauliflower.
Early maturing cultivars should be a spacing of 45 to 60cm between rows and 45cm between plants, while late mature kinds should be spaced 60cm by 60cm.
Irrigating the crops during the dry season is one of the farm management strategies. For optimum growth and excellent yields, the crop requires a steady supply of water.
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A farmer should remove weeds to avoid competition for nutrients, water, sunlight, and space, as well as to keep disease-causing bugs at bay.
Mulching is also recommended. This conserves and assures moisture availability, reduces weeds, adds soil fertility through decomposition, and avoids soil erosion.
When the white curds form, they should be kept out of direct sunlight to avoid becoming milky yellow and lowering the market quality.
Pests and diseases
Beet armyworm, blackleg, black rot, cabbage aphid, cabbage looper, cauliflower mosaic, clubroot, cucumber beetles, cutworms, diamondback moth, downy mildew, flea beetles, damping-off, powdery mildew, and ringspot are just a few of the pests and illnesses that damage cauliflower.
Insecticides, proper field hygiene, crop rotation with legumes and cereals, planting resistant cultivars, sowing certified seeds, and using appropriate fungicides are all used to combat pests and diseases.
Cauliflowers with a firm, completely formed head that is compact and clear white with no black sunburn marks are the best to harvest.
When the curds have reached the desired market size the farmer can harvest the cauliflowers by hand.
Cauliflower yields her hectare and acre.
20-40 tons per hectare (17.851,2- 35.702,3 pounds per acre) or 25.000 curds would be a decent yield. Remember that 1 hectare is 2,47 acres or 10.000 square meters. Each head’s weight is due to the variety and growing conditions. After years of expertise, experienced cauliflower farmers can obtain these yields. Cauliflower farming has the potential to make a lot of money. Cauliflower has become increasingly popular in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean region in recent years.
1. Rich in vitamins and minerals
Vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fibre, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese are all essential for the overall body growth and function. Manganese is a cofactor for antioxidant enzymes in the body, whereas potassium is a key intercellular electrolyte that helps offset the effects of sodium on hypertension.
Cauliflower aids in body detoxification by activating detoxification enzymes in a variety of ways. It also includes antioxidants, which aid in the detoxifying process.
3. Brain health
It contains choline, an essential nutrient for brain growth. Furthermore, it reduces age-related memory loss and the brain’s vulnerability to toxins in both childhood and adulthood.
4. Digestive health
It’s high in dietary fibre, which is beneficial for digestion. This roughage aids digestion, bowel movement, and nutrient absorption in the body.
5. Fighting cancer
Sulforaphane is a compound that has been shown to destroy cancer stern cells, inhibiting tumour growth.
6. Anti-inflammatory benefits
This is a fantastic source of vitamin K, which is one of the most important anti-inflammatory elements. Vitamin K regulates our inflammatory response.
7. DIM (di-indoline-methane) is an immunological modulator, antibacterial, and antiviral substance found in cauliflower. DIM is now being utilized to treat recurrent respiratory papillomatosis caused by the Human Papilloma Virus.
When selecting cauliflowers, choose those with a firm, firmly closed head. The white variety should be quite pale, with no dark sunburned patches. A medium-sized head of cauliflower costs around Ksh 80 in the retail market.
Various ways Kenyan cauliflower makes a variety of a dish
Steaming cauliflower for use in quick-cooking meals like omelettes, use as salad dressings, use in soups and stews. It is used to add a delicious flavour and also roasting for a more authentic flavour.