High Yield Watermelon Farming Technique
Watermelon or Citrullus lanatus belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and is a warm, long season crop grown in all the tropical and subtropical areas of the globe. The fruit is mostly cultivated for its fresh juice and sweet flesh which is generally deep red to pink in colour with many black seeds.
Its commercial cultivation takes place on a large scale during the summer season in most of the Asian countries. The fruit is native to Kalahari Desert of Southern Africa and the first recorded crop was found in Egypt.
The farmers make very good profits from its cultivation if they follow proper cultivation methods and farm management practices.
Individual watermelon plants produce both male and female flowers with the fruit size varying from 2 to 15 kg depending upon its varieties.
However, seedless varieties need pollinators. The farmers even produce different shapes of watermelons with the help of fruit shape retainers which have a great demand in the market as in Japan, square shaped and love shaped watermelon are very popular.
The top producer of watermelon in the world is China and it has a record of producing two-thirds of the world’s total watermelons in the year 2017. The other major producers are Turkey, Iran and Kazakhstan. In India, it is cultivated in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh and now it has also started in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The fruit can be successfully grown in pots, containers, indoors, green houses and polyhouses. Watermelon Farming is very common and popular throughout the world and it is highly cultivated worldwide and the fruit has a very high demand and price in the market almost everywhere in the world.
It has more than 1000 varieties and it grows well in favourable climates from tropical to temperate regions worldwide. The fruit can be eaten raw or it can even be pickled and the rind is also edible after cooking. It is mostly consumed as a juice or as an ingredient in mixed beverages. Depending on the variety of watermelon, it takes 70 to 100 days for harvesting.
To know about strawberry farming please click below link:
Watermelon Nutritional & Health Benefits
Watermelon is a very nutritious and popular fruit throughout the world and it supplies 125 kilo joules (30 kilo calories) of food energy in 100 grams with low amount of essential nutrient. The fruit has 91% water with about 6% sugar and a low amount of fat. Here we are describing its top advantages or benefits of consuming watermelons.
- It has an excellent source of water containing about 91% water which helps you to keep hydrated and it is very essential during high summers.
- It cleans your body and keeps your skin healthy.
- It is a beautiful juicy fruit and helps your kidneys to convert L-citrulline (amino acid) into L-arginine (amino acid) which protects you from Diabetes.
- Because of high water content, it helps you curb your appetite from smacking on your favourite food, thereby helping in weight loss.
- It is very beneficial for preventing cardiovascular disease.
- The fruit has a good source of vitamin C which is responsible for reducing the effects of asthma and it would also help you in fighting the effects of asthma.
- The fruit is known for reducing dental problems and it is also good for your Kidneys.
- The fruit fights inflammation and it will help you in avoiding heart disease, cancer, and fibromyalgia.
- It has a rich source of potassium which can regulate nerve functions.
- Watermelon consists of important compounds such as Cucurbitacin E and lycopene which helps in preventing cancer.
- Watermelon juice has a potential as a recovery beverage after exercise. The citrulline present in the fruit is partially responsible for its effect of easing the muscle soreness.
- Regular consumption of watermelon is very good for skin and hair as it has several nutrients which helps your skin and hair to grow healthy.
- Watermelons contain fibre and water which is very important for healthy digestion.
- It is helpful in improving your eye health.
- It helps in the immune support, wound healing and preventing cell damage.
- It is good for cardiovascular and bone health.
- The watermelon has several anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
To know about Pomegranate farming you can go through below link
Varieties of Watermelon
There are more than 1000 varieties of watermelon of which the main varieties are:
- Crimson Sweet
- Jubilee II
- Star Brite
- Sweet Favorite
- Shiny Boy
- Yellow Baby
- Triple Crown
- Moon and Stars
Ecological Requirements in Watermelon Farming
The following are the ecological requirements of Watermelons.
Watermelon is a warm season crop and they are mainly cultivated in subtropical and hot regions. They are sensitive to cold and even a mild Frost can severely damage the crop, thereby, reducing the yield. The crop requires dry weather full of sunshine for producing quality crops and if they are grown in the winter season, partial protection should be provided to protect them from Frost conditions.
The best average temperature range during the growing season is between 18 °C to 35 °C. Cool nights and warm days are ideal for accumulation of Sugars in the fruit.
The seeds germinate when temperatures are more than 21 °C. The watermelon crop is susceptible to various fungal diseases at the time of vegetative growth due to high humidity. The temperature above 36 °C or below 10 °C can lower the growth and maturation of the fruits.
Soil requirement for watermelon farming
Watermelon crops can be cultivated on well drained sandy soils or sandy loam soils or black soils with a good source of organic matter. Alluvial soil along with river beds is also suitable for growing watermelons and the ideal pH range for its Farming is 6.0 to 7.5.
Altitude require for watermelon farming
Watermelons grow well at altitudes 1500 m above sea level. However, lowlands are the best growing areas.
The crop flourishes in the regions having an optimum rainfall of 600 mm per cropping season. Also, irrigation is very important to ensure consistent moisture availability.
Propagation in Watermelon Farming
Watermelon crops are usually propagated through seeds.
The selection of seeds is a very important factor for getting proper yield and quality of the fruit and it is always recommended to select the best quality seeds to raise the healthy seedlings of watermelon. The selected seed should belong to the proper improved high yielding variety and the seeds should be fully matured, well developed and plump in size.
The seeds should be free from any signs of age or bad storage and they should be clean and free from mixtures of other seeds. It should have a high germinating capacity to get higher yields. Also, before sowing the watermelon seeds in the field, it should be treated with fungicides to protect them from soil-borne fungal diseases and to give a boost to the seedlings of watermelon.
Some of the commonly used varieties include Sukari F1, Zuri F1, Kubwa F1, Sugar Baby, Crimson Sweet and Sweet Rose F1. However, Hybrid varieties are majorly preferred for production of high quality fruits which can be available in agrovets or agro dealers’ shops.
Seed Rate required for watermelon farming
Approximately, 500 gram of seeds is required for direct sowing in 1 acre land or 3 to 4 kg of seeds for every hectare of land.
The seeds should be treated before sowing them in the field so as to prevent them from pests and diseases and to give a boost to their germination. They should be treated with Trichoderma viride @ 4 grams or Pseudomonas fluorescens @ 10 grams or Carbendazim @ 2 grams for every kilogram of watermelon seeds.
To earn with Papaya farming you can click below link:
Land Preparation & Planting in Watermelon Farming
Usually the watermelon seeds are sown in the month of December so that the fruits could be ready for the summer season. The land preparation is usually done early so that the weeds get time to dry and decompose before planting.
The seeds are usually planted directly in the field, however, it is possible to first raise them in a seed bed and then plant them into the main field. The land is prepared to a fine tilth stage by giving a couple of crosswise plowing and then it is levelled.
It should be made sure to remove any weeding from the previous crops. Before showing the seeds, they are soaked for 12 to 15 hours and then the water is drained out and the seeds are kept overnight in wet gunny bags.
This treatment helps in boosting the germination process. Normally 3 to 4 kg of seeds are required for planting in one hectare land.
Various systems of sowing have been adopted depending on the season and the system of cultivation:
- Furrow method – In this method, furrows are opened at a distance of 2 to 3 m apart and the sowing is carried out on the sides of furrows and the vines are allowed to trail on the ground. 3 to 4 seeds are dibbled at a distance of 60 to 90 cm along the furrow.
- Pit method – In this method, pits of dimension 60 × 60 × 60 cm are dug at a distance of 2 to 3.5 m × 0.6 to 1.2 m and are filled with Farmyard manure and soil in equal proportions. 4 seeds per pit is sown and finally 2 to 3 healthy vines are to be retained.
- Hill method – In case of planting the seeds in river beds, pits of dimension 30 by 30 by 30 cm at a spacing of 1 by 1.5 m are dug and then they are filled with equal quantities of soil and Farmyard manure and then the soil is piled up in the form of a hill and 2 seeds are to be planted on each hill.
Irrigation in Watermelon Farming
Watermelon requires relatively a lot of water and therefore sufficient irrigation should be done in order to maintain moisture consistency and if it is not done the fruit can dry inside and over watering can make the fruits tasteless and watery. Irrigation can be done through furrow, overhead or drip irrigation methods.
To know more about Drip Irrigation and its components please click below link:
It is advisable to choose Micro Irrigation for water melon farming. If you use Drip Irrigation method for your plot you will definitely receive more that 30% yield of your expected returns. In the same time you you will save water up to 50 – 60%, fertilizer 30% insecticides 30% and many more. With the use of fertigation method
The field should be irrigated before dibbling the seeds of watermelon and subsequent relation should be given in a week. Irrigation should be given at regular intervals of time and irrigating after a long dry spell could result in cracking of watermelon fruits and in case of water problematic areas, drip irrigation can be the best choice.
Intercultural Operations in Watermelon Farming
For getting a better yield and good quality of fruits, following intercultural operations should be carried out in watermelon Farming.
- Weed Control – Weeds significantly lower the productivity potential of the crop as they compete with the crop for nutrients, water and light and they also harbour diseases and pests which lowers the yield, therefore proper weed control is very important for good yielding and it also makes the harvesting easier. This can be done by Shallow cultivation, however hand weeding is recommended when the crop has grown enough to cover the soil. The first weeding should be carried out 3 to 4 weeks after sowing the seeds and thereafter, subsequent weeding should be carried out at an interval of 1 month depending upon the season. About 2 to 3 weeding operations are required and it is not needed when the vines have already started spreading or have covered the ground.
- Gap Filling and Thinning – In general, the seeds start to germinate after 7 to 10 days after sowing. 1 or 2 healthy seedlings should be retained for each pit and rest should be removed.
- Pinching – The apical shoots should be pinched in watermelon planting when the vines reach about 1 m height and the side shoots should be allowed to grow. This practice can result in higher yielding of the crop and during the initial stages of fruit setting, the diseased or damaged fruits should be removed. Always try to retain 2 to 3 fruits per plant for better size of the fruit and yielding.
- Intercropping – Watermelon can be planted in the interspaces of newly planted orchards during the initial years with sufficient irrigation facilities. This type of intercropping can provide some extra revenues as well.
Manures & Fertilisers in Watermelon Farming
The watermelon crop responds very well to the Manure and Chemicals, so it is very essential to apply proper manures and fertilizers in watermelon Farming. During the land preparation stage, the soil should be supplemented with well rotted Farmyard manure of 25 tonnes per hectare. The N:P:K dose of 100 kg : 50 kg : 50 kg per hectare should be applied of which half of Nitrogen and full dose of Potassium and Phosphorus should be applied before planting and the remaining half dose of Nitrogen should be applied after one month of planting.
To know more fertigation with Drip Irrigation you can click to the given link:
The fertilizers should be applied at a distance of 7 to 8 cm from the base of the stem. It is better to complete all the fertilization process before the fruit setting stage and in order to increase the percentage of female flowers, NAA (100 ppm) should be sprayed once at 2 leaf stage and it should be repeated after a week.
Pests & Diseases in Watermelon Farming
The major pests in watermelon Farming are:
- Melon fly
- Red spider mites
- Leaf miners
- Epilachna beetles
The major diseases are:
- Damping off
- Powdery mildew
- Downy mildew
- Watermelon mosaic
- Leaf spots
- Fusarium wilt
These pests & Diseases can be controlled by following certain precautions and using proper treatments. Do not overcrowd the plants and remove the old plant residues of previous crops or bury them completely in the soil and follow a good crop rotation plan with maize plants or other non-cucurbits and you can even use soil solarisation technique to curb diseases from spreading.
Make sure that the plants are exposed to adequate sunlight and good air circulation and always avoid using overhead irrigation methods. You can even contact your local Horticulture department or experts for identifying the pests & diseases and get proper solutions.
Harvesting & Yield in Watermelon Farming
The watermelon crop becomes ready for harvesting in about 80 to 100 days after sowing depending upon the variety of the crop and season. In general, watermelon‘s maturity can be judged from withering of tendril, ground spot to yellow and thumping test or change in the colour of belly. The watermelon fruits are separated from the vines with the help of a sharp knife.
The yielding of a crop depends on many factors like variety of the crop, soil type, climate and farm management practices. On an average, watermelon fruit varies from 20 to 30 tonnes per hectare.
Post Harvest Management
The post harvesting is divided into three steps:
- Grading – The watermelons are graded according to their shape, size and quality for supplying them to the local market.
- Packaging – The fruits are transported by road in bulk by stacking them on dried grass in carry trucks.
- Storage – The watermelons can be stored for 2 weeks at 15 °C and for short term storage or transit to distant markets greater than 7 days, they can be stored at 7 °C with 85 to 90% relative humidity.
Some Best Tips for High Yield in Watermelon Farming
- Watermelon is a crawling plant like every other vine crop so it would develop on the soil, but you need to prevent the fruits from making direct contact with the soil. For this, you need to put a good barrier like straw in between the watermelons and the ground for reducing the risk of rot and diseases.
- The watermelon should be grown in the right location providing them with the right soil conditions and sufficient water for increasing the yield per hectare.
- Always use the right watermelon variety for maximizing the yield and your profits.
- Use the correct Plant population per acre as it is very vital for high yields.
- Follow proper intercultural operations like mulching and weeding.
- The watermelon farms should be irrigated properly as it requires a lot of water for better growth.
- The fertilisers should be applied at a correct time.
- Use proper techniques and pesticides for controlling different pests & diseases in watermelon Farming and make sure that they don’t get spread.
- Harvest the watermelon fruits at the right time and store them properly.
- Follow proper farm management techniques and provide the crop with the correct soil and climatic conditions and make sure the crop gets all the required things for better growth.
Here we are mentioning some videos of Watermelon Farming with the use of Mulch.