Altitude -Watermelons can grow at altitudes of up to 1500 m, best growing areas are the lowlands with high temperatures and relatively low rainfall where irrigation may or may not be necessary.
Sites and soils -Watermelons do well on sandy loam soils which are well drained and slightly acid. When planted on very heavy soils, the plants develop slowly, and fruit size and quality are usually inferior.
Temperatures - They do well at temperatures between 22 and 28 degree centigrade. Stagnation of growth occurs at temperatures less than 15degree centigrade.
Rainfall - Optimum rainfall requirement per cropping season is 600 mm and 400 mm is considered minimum. Excessive humidity may favor leaf diseases and also affect flowering.
Propagation -Watermelon is propagated by:
Planting-Watermelons are grown throughout the year in lowland areas but peaks of rainy season should be avoided. The holes are dug at a distance of about one meter within the row and about 2 meters between the rows. Plant 2 seeds per hill, placing them 3 to 4 cm (1.5 inches) deep into the soil.
Pollination -Watermelons produce separate male and female flowers. Male flowers are produced initially, followed by production of both sexes usually at a ratio of 1 female to 7 males. Watermelon flowers are viable for only one day hence important to have pollinating insects.
Weeding-To be done regularly to keep the field clean. Avoid injuring the plants when weeding.
Fruit pruning-Remove blossom-end rot fruits to promote additional fruit set and better size of the remaining melons. If a market demands larger melons, remove all but three or four well shaped melons from each plant. To avoid disease spread, do not prune melons when vines are wet.
Harvesting-Harvesting usually begins 3-4 months after planting. Maturity is sometimes difficult to determine. Useful maturity indicators are listed below. Maturity indicators include:
Storage-Ensure minimum handling of melons, as extra handling is expensive and may harm the fruits.
Rotation-Watermelons can be rotated with cereals, legumes or cabbages
Red spider mites
Root-knot nematodesPowdery mildew
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