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Growing these particular vegetables can be profitable if you knows the proper cultural practices, and knowing the necessary requirements, you can easily produce the desirable quantity and quality of these nutritious and easy-to-grow vegetables.
- Land Preparation. Cut all grasses in the site, including branches and twigs that may shade the plants. For backyard gardening, you should break or loosen the soil by the use of grub hoe, spading fork or shovel. Repeat this process until a good tilt is obtained.
- Laying out of plots. After the soil have been thoroughly loosened, make plots at 1 meter wide X 5 – 20 meters length, about 6 – 8 inches high. Orient the plots in an East-West direction in such a way that the plants receives maximum sunlight. Level the plots with the use of a rake or any leveling tools.
- Apply basal fertilizer mixture. Mix the fertilizer; 1 sack chicken manure, bat manure, etc., 4 kg urea, and 1 kg complete.
Note: this mixture is ideal for a 1X20 linear meters plot. If your plot is not this size you can adjust the mixture by computing the exact amount of mixture.
- Install plastic mulch to the plots.
Steps in Plastic Mulch Installation:
- Excavate both ends portion of the plot with the use of a shovel or spade.
- Lay the end portion of the plastic mulch and cover with the excavated soil.
- Compact the soil by stepping it on to hold the plastic mulch in place.
- Insert a straight pole inside the plastic mulch just enough that 2 person can hold at both ends.
- With two people holding both end of the plastic mulch gradually lay on top to cover up to the plot end.
- Reserve one meter allowance before reaching the plot end.
- Stretch the plastic mulch to reach the plot end extending up to the excavated portion.
- Cover with the excavated soil similar to the other plot end.
- Cut the plastic mulch at the end of the covered portion.
- Fasten both sides of the plastic mulch with a 6 inches tie wire or bamboo slots at two feet distance between fastener.
- Fasten in a diagonal position covering up to the plot end.
- Make holes on the plastic mulch in a triangle fashion using an empty sharp-edge big sardines can or tin can with heated charcoal. A string is also laid to make the holes straight.
The following spacing should be applied.
|Pechay/Mustard||10 – 25 cm bet. row||30 – 60 cm bet. hill|
|Chinese Cabbage||20 – 40 cm bet. row||40 – 65 cm bet. hill|
|Cauliflower||40 – 50 cm bet. row||50 – 75 cm bet. hill|
|Cabbage||30 – 50 cm bet. row||50 – 75 cm bet. hill|
Advantages of plastic mulch.
- Controls weeds growth. Weeds are properly controlled since the top portion of the plots are covered and there is no way for the weed seeds to germinate. Cost of production is reduced in weeding which eats up the over-all production cost.
- Retains soil moisture. You can minimize water requirements since evaporation is reduced with a mulched plots.
- Prevents soil erosion. During heavy rains the plots can be washed out if it has no support. With the use of a plastic mulch, since the plots are totally covered the soil are safe to be eroded.
- Prevents soil leaching. In uncovered soils, the tendency for leaching is apparent especially during heavy rains and summer. With the used of plastic mulch all of these are controlled.
- Provides soil aeration. There is a free circulation of air within the plots since the soil is not compact.
- Insect repellant. Because of the characteristics of the plastic mulch to reflect light, some insect pests are ward off away from the plants. Insect pests can’t resist the reflection of light from the sun.
- Prevents or limit the possible virus attack or infection. Viruses are carried by some insect pests that attack the plants. When the insect pests are repelled, naturally the occurrence of virus attack is greatly minimized.
- Prepare the soil medium. Mix the soil medium following the ratio; 60% rice hull charcoal, 30% coco coir dust, 10% sterilized/dried chicken manure. If you don’t have these soil medium in your country, you can still use the old style which is; 1 part sand, 1 part compost, and 1 part garden soil, all sterilized.
- Fill the germinating trays with the mixed soil medium. Fill the holes in the trays with the mixed soil medium. After all the holes are filled, press gently to fill up to the mouth of the holes.Leave a space not to fully fill the holes to give allowance not to over flow water during watering.
- Sow the seed directly to the germinating trays. Sow seeds at 1-2 seeds per hole and cover with a little soil to cover the seeds.
- Transplanting should be done 12 –17 days after sowing. By the use of an improvised wood digging hole ( size of the holes in the germinating tray) dig on the prepared cut of the plastic mulch.
- If the soil is dry, irrigate them before digging to make it easy. Get seedling from the germinating tray by pressing the lower base of the tray to push the seedlings upward and out from the hole.
- Take extra care not to damage the roots to minimize mortality. Insert the seedlings into the holes, press a little and irrigate lightly. You should transplant during cloudy and cool weather.
- During summer months transplant seedlings late in the afternoon.
These leafy vegetables does not need too much fertilizer, especially if your soil have been incorporated with organic manure or vermicompost before planting.
You have to apply drenching technique if you want your leafy vegetables to be of good appearance, healthy and vigorous.
You can apply drenching weekly from planting to harvesting following the recommended dosage:
In every 16 liters water, mix urea with the following dosage;
- First week – 75 grams urea/16 L water
- Second week – 150 grams urea/16 L water
- Third week – 225 grams urea/16 L water
- Fourth week – 300 grams urea/16 L water
Drenching is done by applying the mixture directly into the base of the plant. Care must be observe not to wet the leaves to avoid leaf burning.
Apply drenching solution late in the afternoon at least 150 ml. solution per hill weekly until harvesting time.
Major Insect Pests and their Control
- Diamond back moth. Plutella maculipennis ( Curtis). The destructive stage for this insect pest is during its larval stage. The pale green larvae chew small cavities and holes in the leaves, feeding mainly on the undersides. In about 2 weeks they become fully developed, spin a loose mesh cocoon and change to pupae, the moth emerging a week later.
The natural enemies of this insect pest are the following:
- Ichneumon wasp, Horogenes insularis (Cresson). They parasites as many as 95 per cent of diamond back moth population.
- H. plutellae (Vierck). Also parasitic to this pest.
To control Diamond back moth, apply Agremek, Vegetok, Selecron,and Actara. Follow the manufacturers recommendation strictly to get a positive result.
- Cabbage worm. Pieris rapae (L.). The adult stage of the cabbage worm is the Imported cabbage butterfly. Cabbage worm attacks, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, mustard, lettuce, nasturtiums ad other related plants.
Damage is caused by the larvae devouring the leaves and sometimes boring into the heads of cabbage.
The known predators of cabbage worm are the stink bug, Politest wasps, and the most common and effective parasite is the braconid.
Dusting or spraying with insecticides such as; Actara, Selecron, Malathion, cymbush controls the larvae. Start spraying when you sees some larvae attacking the plants. Repeat at 7 – 10 days intervals until the infestation is checked.
- Cabbage looper. Trichoplusia ni (Hb.). The green caterpillar with a few white or pale yellow stripes and only 3 pairs of prolegs, is often found feeding on cabbage and other related plants.
Cabbage looper can be controlled easily because it has so many predators that attacks the larvae and the moth freely. Sometimes mortality is high due to some virus attack to the moth.
It can also be controlled with the use of chemicals in serious cases such as; Actara, Selecron, Malathion, and Cymbush. You should always follow the recommendation stated on the labels for accurate handling of the chemicals.
- Army Cutworm. Chlorizagrotis auxiliaries (Grote). The larvae of several species of cutworms tend to be similar in general appearance and habits. They mostly feed on low-growing plants, and them off at, or slightly below, the surface of the soil.
Some species which feed above ground on any part of the plant are called climbing cutworms.
When a high population is develop and the food supply becomes exhausted, they migrate to other plants the same as the army worms, hence they are called army cutworms.
The natural control for cutworms are the application of some insect parasites such as; Ichneumon wasp, bracoid wasp,, species of Apanteles, the egg parasite of Trichogramma minutum (Riley), chalcid wasp, and the tachina fly.
Some predators includes; ground beetles, birds, and vertebrates enemies of all types of caterpillars.
For chemical control you can use Actara, Selecro, Malathion, and cymbush. You should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for the safe use of these insecticides.
- Cabbage Maggot. Hylemya brassicae (Bouche). The most destructive early-season pest of cabbage and cauliflower. It is also a serious pest of radishes and often attacks broccoli, Brussels sprouts, turnips, celery, and beets.
Infested lower leaves become tinged with yellow, young plants fail to grow and may even wither and die.
Injury results from the maggots feeding on the surface of the roots or tunneling through them.
Recommended control measures are surface applications of heptachlor, aldrin or dieldrin at 0.25 per acre, or chlordane at 1 pound per acre.
You can either used dusts or sprays, and two applications may be necessary, one just as the plants are coming through the ground or immediately after transplanting, and another about 10 days later.
- Flea beetles. Phyllotreta striolata (F.). Feeds on the underground parts of their host plants, others feed on foliage, stem, and flowers. Flea beetles is very common and widely distributed and attacks cabbage, turnips, radishes, and related pants.
Flea beetles can be controlled by the following insecticides; Azodrin 168 EC, Decis, Seven, and Malathion. Always follow the recommendation set by the manufacturer.
- Cabbage Aphids. Brevicorynne brassicae (L.). Aphids are destructive to almost all plants especially at the early stage of plant growth. The nymphs and adults remove plant sap, causing distortion, stunting, curling, wilting, and eventually death of the host plants.
Heavily infested plants appears to be whitish in appearance.
The natural enemies of aphids are, braconids, lady beetles, aphid lions and syrphid fly larvae.
For chemical control, you can used Tamaron, confidor, malathion, and parathion.
- Serpentine Leaf miners. Liriomyza pusilla (Meigen). The serpentie leaf miner causes damages in the larval stage by mining between the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves of vegetables and various plants.
Besides rendering edible portions of vegetable crops unsalable, the leaf miner interferes with the normal photosynthesis of the plants.
Chemical control for leaf miner are; Trigard and Lannate. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation in using these insecticides for safety disposition.
Depending on your mode of use either for home consumption or for market you can decide when to harvest giving consideration on your capacity to earn more if you intend to sell them.
To give you the exact time to harvest for market purposes, here is the guide to harvest them for your convenience:
- Cabbage – 90 days after sowing or the head is compact.
- Chinese cabbage – 60 days after sowing or the head is compact.
- Mustard – 35 days after harvest or big enough but before flowering.
- Cauliflower – 90 days after harvest or the curd is compact.
O. K. time is up for this topic. Have a happy day for a nice growing vegetables.