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Watermelon growing tips - Major requirements

Posted by Sanjeeva Reddy on

              Watermelon crops

Watermelon - Citrullus lanatus is an important cucurbitaceous vegetable/Fruit in India. It is an excellent desert fruit and its juice contains 92% water along with proteins, minerals and carbohydrates.

Growing season

                     Growing season of watermelon crop

 

Varieties

Lot of watermelon varieties are chose by farmers to grow in different locations. Watermelon crop duration depends on the type of watermelon [Striped or Icebox] and the varieties produced by different seed producers. The crop duration among the available and farmers are growing ranges from 55 days to 120 days.

           watermelon varieties

Some of the varieties of watermelon to list are

Seminis Apoorva, Black magic,  Mayco Super Sakkar, Sugar pack, Red Magik, NS 292, or follow the link: https://www.bighaat.com/pages/search-results-page?q=watermelon&page=2

Climatic requirements

Watermelon cultivation is more in dry climatic conditions. The season for these melon crops starts just after the receding of north east monsoon rains. The soil temperatures usually will range from 18 0C to 20 0C but extreme chillness can cause problems.

          Climatic conditions for watermelon

The light and temperature are vital requirements for proper flowering in watermelon crop. Soil pH for watermelon crop should be in between 6.5 to 7.5 for best growth and development. Drainage of the soil is most important since the waterlogged conditions may not support the survival of the crop.

Spacing and number of plants

Spacing followed by farmers in cultivating watermelon is 4 - 5 feet in between rows and 2 feet to 2.5 feet in between plants. The number of plants per acre may range from 3400 to 4500.

                                 Spacing for watermelon crops

The seed requirement ranges from 400 gms to1.5 kg per acre totally depends on the seed varieties and crop types.

Nutrient requirements

Major nutrients Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium requirements maybe considered two options. The shorter duration varieties may be supplemented with 50:40:50 kg/acre/ crop and 65:50:65 kg/acre/ crop for long duration varieties.

    Nutrient requiremnts for watermelon crop

Land preparation and Basal application requirements

Apply to the soil the 5-6  tonnes of Farm Yard Manure or well decomposed compost mixed with Biofertilizers 5 kg, Trichoderma 2 kg; Pseudomonas 2 kg & Biofertilisers before formation of ridges and furrows. Mix with soil and form ridges and furrows with suitable spacing.

  Organic manure and Farm yad manure

Nutrients as basal dose

  1. Diammonium Phosphate 50 kg, 
  2. Muriate of Potash 50 kg,
  3. Urea -- 25 kg
  4. Micronutrient mixture 5 - 10 kg,
  5. Magnesium Sulphate 25 kg,
  6. Root growth promoters 10 kg 
  7. 5 kg Furadon
  8. Neem cake 250 kg

     NPK for watermelon crop

 Water conservation and pest management technologies

  1. Regions with water scarcity should be practiced with integrated cultivation techniques to conserve water. Generally, drip irrigation technology is adapted by the farmers.

          Drip irrigation for watermelon

 2. To conserve moisture in the soil, arrest weed growth by covering the soil surface with mulching sheets. Silver black or white black mulch paper of 25-30 micron may be used. Mulch paper is spread or laid to the ridges or bunds prepared to sow the seeds or plants.

        Mulch for watermelon

Top dressing

By around 20-25 days after planting 50 kgs of Urea is top dressed per acre of watermelon and for mulched crop the through drip the top dressing may be supplemented.

                Urea for top dressing

Methods of planting:

Mostly in Watermelon, in situ method of sowing is followed.

  1. Furrow method:

Furrows are made at 1 to 1.5 m and sowing is usually done on the top of the sides of furrows and the vines are allowed to trail on the ground especially in summer season.

         Furrow method of watermelon sowing

  1. Bed method:

 In some regions, bed system is in fashion where the seeds are sown on the periphery of beds. The width of the bed is almost double to the row to row spacing. 

         Row method of watermelon sowing

  1. Hill method or raised beds or raised point:

The hills are spaced at a distance of 0.5- 0.75m and 2-3 seeds are sown per hill, after germination only one or two plants per hill are retained. This method facilitates proper drainage especially in heavy rainfall regions.

         Hill method of watermelon sowing

  1. Pit Method:

Generally, it is followed in southern India. The pit is lower than the normal bed surface.

             Pit method of watermelon sowing

Seed treatment, Nursery management and Transplanting:

         Seed treatment for watermelon seeds

Watermelon crop is usually propagated through seeds but since seeds are big nursery raising may not be required. Seed treatment with some protective agents may still help better germination, good survivability and also better yields.

         Sowing and transplanting of watermelon seed materials

For chemical treatment seeds can be soaked in Ridomet 0.5 gm/L + Plantomycin 0.5 gm/L + Humic Acid[ V-Hume plus] 5 mL/L [mixture before sowing].

       Seed treatment  chemicals for watermelon seeds

This mixture can be used to treat roots of saplings before transplanting. Since saplings or early germinated plants are more vulnerable to pests and diseases, the nursery growing of saplings have become must. The saplings can be procured from nurseries where quality saplings or seedlings are raised.

                     Root dipping of watermelon seedlings

Seedlings are grown before, 15 -20 days old saplings are transplanted in the main field after sowing. However healthy quality seedlings can be procured from scientifically maintained nurseries.

Irrigation: Ridges or hills or beds are to be irrigated a day or two prior to sowing of seeds or plants and then light irrigation is to be given 4 or 5 days after that. Flooding of hills is to be avoided and crust formation of the top soil should be prevented.

              Irrigation for watermelon

...Continued next blog

WATERMELON GROWING TIPS - CROP PROTECTION - Insects and Management

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