Kharif Season Blog #5: Cultivating Cole Crops

Growing guide and farming techniques for vegetable cultivation in Kharif

As one of the most important vegetable groups, cole crops are widely grown throughout the world, including tropical, sub-tropical and temperate regions. The Cole group includes various crops like knol khol, brussels sprouts, radishes, cabbage and cauliflower.
In the following article you will find some vegetable farming techniques for cole crops as well as some useful precautions for disease prevention.

The Cole Crop Group:

Among the various cole crops, cabbage and cauliflower are the varieties primarily produced commercially in India. A common element these crop varieties share is that they all grow close to the ground. Apart from cabbage and cauliflower, the other crops mentioned here are mostly preferred for small scale growing in a private/kitchen garden.

Land Preparation:

First of all, bring your field to a fine tilt through deep ploughing and three to four harrows, maintaining a sufficient distance. For correct levelling, planking should be done afterwards. Depending on the climate and soil conditions, transplantation may take place on flat land, in ridges or in furrows.
Early planting using the ridge method is particularly recommended in areas with regular rainfall. The ridge method means that plants are placed on ridges that are formed during the previous cycle of crop production. This planting method reduces erosion by keeping the soil covered with residues until sowing.
In salty soils, on the other hand, it is advisable to plant cole crops in furrows. In dry areas, transplantations on flat beds are most useful. With the Plantix App you can easily create a growing guide with the Advisory function. There you'll find everything you need to know about preparations of soil in easy to understand, step-by-step instructions.

Crop Rotation

Rotating crops will benefit your vegetable crop production twice:

  • First, crop rotation will prevent the accumulation of soil-borne pests and diseases.
  • Secondly, it will support the renewal of important soil nutrients as well as their efficient use.

A broad spectrum of soil nutrients is required for optimum growth in the production of cole crops: Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the most important soil nutrients. Members of the same plant family should not be planted more than once every three or four years in the same part of the garden as they usually need the same soil nutrients.
Hence, for crop rotation, it is advisable to cultivate cole crops on soils previously used for legumes. Pulses and beans fix nitrogen in the soil, which are nutrient rich conditions from which your cole crop production can significantly benefit.


The right variety is crucial for high yielding crop production. Therefore, if you want to grow cabbage or cauliflower, you should consider the following three criteria when selecting varieties:

  • Resistance to thrips, diseases and physiological influences or disorders (e.g. typing fire, ascent, jagging) - resistance is the most important tool for thrips, diseases and internal quality control.
  • Highly marketable yield potential
  • Required maturity for compliance with your target delivery dates.

Find information at the market, or from fellow farmers in your district about which variety to choose. Of course, you can also contact the #PlantiXperts in the Plantix Community for advice.

Major Diseases and Pests for Cole Crops

Bountiful cole crop production must start with healthy transplants that are frequently screened for certain pests and diseases. You can easily check the health of your seedlings regularly with the Plantix Health Check function, to be on the safe side. For optimal and strong development of the root system, avoid excessive irrigation or heavy nitrogen fertilization of transplants.

Black Rot

Black rot is a bacterial disease and is widely found in areas with a warm and humid climate. Plants can become infected during the growth phase. The symptoms are similar to those of nutrient deficiency. Infected seedlings turn yellow, drop their lower leaves and die.

Black rot is caused by a local infection that occurs when bacteria enter the leaves through natural openings in the leaf margins. The infected tissue becomes pale green or yellow, until it turns brown and dies.

Successful management of black rot requires an integrated approach, including important farm hygiene and crop rotation measures. Further, it is highly recommended to select varieties resistant to black rot or to treat the seeds accordingly. A significant reduction of the disease rate was observed when seeds were treated with Agrimycin-100 (100ppm) or Streptocyclin (100 ppm).

Diamond Back Moth

These pests are very small, but appear in large numbers and cause enormous damage to plants. This can lead to complete removal of the leaf tissue, with the exception of the leaf veins.

Diamond Back Moths are particularly harmful to seedlings and can interfere with head formation of cole crops such as cabbage and broccoli. The presence of larvae in florets reduces market quality and can even lead to complete rejection of the products.

The control and prevention of Diamond Back Moth pests also requires an integrated approach. This includes the thorough removal and destruction of plant remains, stubble and debris after harvesting. You should also consider trap crops, intercropping and pheromone traps in your Integrated Pest Management for Diamond Back Moth.

Precise and understandable instructions for the prevention and control of both cole crop diseases can, of course, be found in the Plantix App.