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High Yield Farming Ideas For Muskmelon

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High Yield Muskmelon Farming

Muskmelon or Cantaloupe is a very popular fruit crop grown throughout India. Its botanical name is Cucumis Melo L and it belongs to the family of Cucurbitaceae.

They were first cultivated in the Near East and were found in the areas from Turkey to China also including Northwest India, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. The fruit is native to Iran, Anatolia and Armenia. In India, it is grown in Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

The fruit is used as a Desert fruit and it is also eaten fresh. It has a rich source of vitamin A and Vitamin C containing about 90% of water and 9% Carbohydrates.

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They are eaten all throughout the world as they are tender, sweet and succulent and are consumed by itself and are even complimented in spicy dishes. It is  a warm weather plant and is frequently referred to as summer melon along with watermelons.

The fruits have a rough and web patterned rind, and typically weigh about 1.8 kgs. They are usually round, with yellow and white tan, salmon or green netted rind and a sweet juicy orange flesh.

Health Benefits of Muskmelon

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Some of the health benefits of Muskmelons are as follows:

  • It helps in controlling the blood pressure
  • It helps in weight loss
  • It has low or no cholesterol
  • It is good for eye health
  • It helps in regulating blood sugar levels
  • It helps in boosting immunity
  • It prevents from kidney stones
  • It is very helpful during pregnancy
  • It helps in the prevention of Cancer
  • It helps in relieving constipation

Varieties of Muskmelon

Some of the main varieties of Muskmelon includes:

  • Early Season Variety – Alaska, Earligold, Sweet N Early, Canada Gem, Primo, Solid Gold, Early Hanover, Pulsar, Magnum and Sweet Granite
  • Mid Season Variety – Delicious, Pike, Superstar, Ambrosia, Pulsar, Hale’s Best, Edisto, Grande Gold, Imperial, SuperMarket and Roadside
  • Late Season Variety – Top Mark, Kansas, Iroquois, Saticoy, Hearts of Gold and Edisto
  • Large Variety – Old Time Tennessee
  • Space Savers Variety – Jenny Lind and Bush Star

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Climate Required for Muskmelon Farming

Muskmelon is a summer crop so it grows best in hot and dry climatic conditions. Good sunshine and high heat helps to have a good sugar content but it is highly susceptible to Frost conditions. It grows best with average monthly temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit with an annual rainfall of 50 to 75 mm.

Soil Required for Muskmelon Farming

Muskmelons can be cultivated on a wide range of soils, but it grows well on soils which are sandy loam or light textured, warm, well drained and high in organic matter. Muskmelons require loose, rich soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8 to produce high yield with good flavour.

The temperature below 15 degree Celsius slows the seed germination and growth. The soil having poor drainage capacity is not suited for its cultivation.

Alkaline soil with high salt concentration is also not suitable for its cultivation. Continuous growing of the same crop on the same field leads to the loss of nutrients, poor yield and more disease attacks, so crop rotation should be followed.

To cure acidic soil you can see the following link:

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Land Preparation in Muskmelon Farming

The land should be ploughed and brought to a fine tilth. 2 to 3 ploughings are required to bring the Soil to a fine tilth and it should be made sure that the land is free of any weeds.

The ploughing can be done by tractor or a local or country plough. In Northern India, the sowing is done in the middle of February month and in North East and West India, it is done during November to January months.

Propagation and Sowing Method in Muskmelon Farming

Propagation in Muskmelon is done by seeds and it should be made sure that the soil has a good warmth condition for better germination. Generally, the fruit seeds take 3 to 5 days to germinate.

There are four methods of sowing used in Muskmelon Cultivation:

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  • Deep Pit Method – This method is best for river bed sowing. Circular pits with 60 cm to 70 cm diameter and a depth of 1 m to 1.5 m is dug at a distance of 1.6 m to 2.5 m distance in both ways.
  • Shallow Pit Method – In this method, the pits of 60 cm × 60 cm × 50 cm is dug at a distance of 1.5 m to 3 m and each pit is filled with a mixture of Farm Yard manure (5 kg) and soil, 40 grams of Urea, 50 grams of phosphate and 100 grams of Potash. After filling the Pits, circular basins are made for sowing the seeds @ 6 seeds per basin at a depth of 3 cm. Then the seeds are covered with soil and a little amount of Farm yard manure or any other well rotten compost.
  • Mound Method – In this method, the seeds are sown on the mounds, and in this method, an average seed rate per acre is 1.5 kg. Row to Row spacing is taken as 300 to 325 cm and Plant to Plant spacing is taken as 90 to 100 cm. For better seed germination use treated seeds.
  • Ridge Method – In this method, the seeds are sown on the sides of raised beds.

Time of sowing

The Muskmelon seeds are sown from November to December in Southern India, Bihar and West Bengal. In Plains, they are sown from November to March and in Hills, they are sown from April to May. The optimum time for Muskmelon cultivation is in the middle of February month.

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Seed Rate

The Seed rate depends on the size and shape of the seed and on an average the seed rate in Muskmelon farming is about 3 kg per hectare.

Seed Treatment

Before sowing the seeds, it is treated with Carbendazim @ 2 gm/kg of seeds and after the chemical treatment, the seeds are treated with Tricoderma viride @ 4 gm/kg of seeds. Then the seeds are dried in Shade and thereafter, the sowing is done immediately.

Manures and Fertilizer Requirement in Muskmelon Farming

Apply Farm Yard manure or any other well decomposed cow dung @ 10 to 15 tons per acre of land. Apply Nitrogen @ 50 kg, Phosphorus @ 25 kg and Potash @ 25 kg in the form of Urea @ 110 kg, Single Super Phosphate @ 155 kg and Muriate of Potash @ 40 kg per acre.

The whole amount of Phosphorus, Potash and one third amount of Nitrogen is applied before sowing the seeds and the remaining dose of Nitrogen is applied in the vines base without touching and it should be mixed well in soil during the initial growth period.

When the crop is of 10 to 15 days old, spray 19 : 19 : 19 + Micro Nutrients @ 2 to 3 gram per litre of water for good growth of Crop along with good quality.

If you want to go fertigation with Drip system then you need to see link:

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To prevent flower drop and increasing the yield upto 10%, spray Humic acid @ 3 ml + MAP (12:61:00) @ 5 gram per litre of water during the flowering stage. Spray Salicylic acid (4 to 5 Aspirin tablet 350 mg) per 15 litre water during the initial flowering, fruiting and maturity stage at a period of 30 days.

After 55 days of sowing, Spray 13:0:45 @ 100 gm + Hexaconazole @ 25 ml / 15 litre water for fast development of fruits and protection against  Powdery Mildew. After 65 days of sowing, spray 0:0:50 @ 1.5 kg per acre using 100 gm per 15 litre of water, to increase the size of fruit, sweetness and colour.

Weed Control in Muskmelon Farming

The bed should be kept weed free during the early stage of growth. In the absence of proper control measures, weeds can cause loss of yield upto 30%.

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The intercultural operations should be carried out after 15 to 20 days of sowing and depending upon severity and intensity of weeds, 2 to 3 weeding are required to control the weeds and retain the soil moisture.

Mulching in Muskmelon Farming

Muskmelons respond very well to the application of black plastic mulch to control the weeds and early season insects. The mulch should be applied 2 to 3 weeks before planting the muskmelons by making holes for the seeds or seedlings.

The mulch helps in protecting the plants from early season cold spells and it should not be removed until the plants begin to flower or it gets extremely hot.

If you want to use mulch in your crop. For better use of organic & inorganic mulch you need to follow below link:

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Thinning in Muskmelon Farming

Muskmelon seedlings can be easily disturbed by weeding and thinning, so the seedlings are normally thinned when they reach a height of 10 cm.

Irrigation in Muskmelon Farming

Irrigation should be done immediately after sowing the seeds in the field and thereafter subsequent irrigations may be given at 10 days interval to maintain good soil moisture. The crops cultivated on river beds or in rainy conditions may not need irrigation.

Avoid waterlogging in the field by making soil with good internal drainage. During application of irrigation, it should be made sure that the vines or vegetative parts do not get wet especially during the flowering and fruit setting stage.

Frequent irrigation should be avoided in heavy soils as it can promote excessive vegetative growth and for better sweetness and flavor, irrigation should be stopped or reduced 3 to 6 days before harvesting.

Pests and Diseases in Muskmelon Farming

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Most common Pests and Diseases in Muskmelon farming are:

  • Aphids
  • Cucumber beetles
  • Cutworms
  • Root knot nematode
  • Southern blight (Stem and fruit Rot)
  • Fusarium wilt
  • Gummy stem blight
  • Anthracnose (leaf spot, fruit rot)
  • Alternaria leaf spot
  • Charcoal Rot
  • Downy mildew
  • Powdery mildew
  • Angular leaf spot
  • Bacterial wilt
  • Mosaic
  • Cabbage looper
  • Thrips
  • Squash bug

For controlling these pest and diseases, appropriate action should be taken at various levels and proper precautions should be made. It requires early identification of these pests and diseases.

To control them, immediate action is needed depending upon the area or region where the crop is cultivated. For getting information on the Pest and Disease Control, you can even contact your nearest Agriculture Department.

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Harvesting of Muskmelons

The harvesting should be done when the fruits turn to yellow and the other varieties are harvested depending upon market distance. For long distance markets, the fruits are harvested at mature green stage and for local markets, it is harvested at half slip stage.

  A slight depression of the stem end indicates half slip stage. The muskmelon fruits are ready for harvesting when the fruit external colour is changed.

The clear sign of maturity is most varieties is when the rind changes colour from grey or green to yellow. In general, the fruits mature in 85 days to 150 days depending on the variety of Crop used and the climatic conditions.

Yield of Muskmelons

The yielding of Muskmelon mainly depend on the variety of the crop used, the crop management practices and the climatic and soil conditions. On an average, 125 to 150 quintals per hectare is obtained in Muskmelon cultivation.

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Post Harvest Management in Muskmelon Farming

After harvesting the muskmelons, pre cooing is done to reduce the field heat. Grading is done on the basis of size of fruit. Muskmelons are highly perishable, so even after harvesting, it should be handled and held under optimal conditions.

The harvested Muskmelons at partial slip can be held for up to 15 days at 2 to 5 degree Celsius at 95% relative humidity, whereas Muskmelons harvested at full slip can be held for upto 5 to 14 days at 0 degree to 2.2 degree Celsius at 95% relative humidity.

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