Living in SE Queensland has many advantages however the climate is not well suited to growing the majority of brassica crops.
Cool, sunny days with night temperatures between 10° and 15°C are considered ideal.
This means production is limited to March through to October so although direct seeded crops are cheaper than seedlings they will take up to two weeks longer to mature, which means more trouble with pests.
What are the Main Pests for Cauliflower and Broccoli?
Diamondback moth and heliothis are the two most important pests of brassicas but other caterpillar pests, aphids, thrips and silverleaf whitefly can also cause problems.
During the first three to four weeks after planting, centre grub and cutworm are likely pests to cause damage in summer and autumn planted crops. Other caterpillar pests, thrips and silverleaf whitefly may also be active during crop establishment. Aphids can cause problems in seedlings, particularly during warm, mild conditions.
Once the crop is established, DBM, heliothis, cabbage cluster caterpillar, cluster caterpillar, cabbage white butterfly, thrips and silverleaf whitefly are all likely problems.
Health Benefits of Cauliflower and Broccoli
Cauliflower and broccoli are the same species and have very similar structures. They are low in fat, high in dietary fibre, folate, water and vitamin C, possessing a very high nutritional density.
As a member of the brassica family, cauliflower shares with broccoli and cabbage several phytochemicals which are beneficial to human health, including sulforaphane, an anti-cancer compound released when cauliflower is chopped or chewed.
Boiling reduces the levels of anti-cancer compounds, however, other preparation methods such as steaming, microwaving, and stir frying had no significant effect on the compounds.
Along with other brassica vegetables, cauliflower is a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.
The compound also appears to work as an anti-estrogen, appearing to slow or prevent the growth of tumours of the breast and prostate.
Cauliflower also contains other glucosinolates besides sulfurophane, substances which may improve the liver’s ability to detoxify carcinogenic substances.
A high intake of cauliflower has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Cauliflower is also a good source of carotenoids.