watermelon is summer season crop and also has good market in summer. Sowing of this watermelon seeds should be done in the month of Jan- feb, perticularly in central and south India. So if you want to cultivate watermelon, you should immidiately go for sowing, so that your produce will come in market in peak season. Remember, there should be facility of sufficient irrigation to meet the requirement of summer crop.
. Climatic And Soil Requirement:
Watermelon not only tolerates hot weather but for best growth requires more heat than any other vegetables. Watermelon seeds germinate well and plants thrive at 25°C - 30°C. Fruits mature best at 30°C.
Watermelon requires dry weather and plenty of sunshine. Continuous rain or cloudy will not only stunt the plant growth but also reduce the flowering and fruit setting. If watermelons mature in rainy season, the sugar content will be greatly reduced.
Watermelons do best when grown on sandy or sandy loam soils that are well drained.
Poorly drained soils should be avoided.
Watermelon should not be grown on the same soil year after year because of disease problems. It is best to wait three years before planting watermelons on the same ground.
Kiran,Vandana,Watermelon Emarald(075),Watermelon Sultan,Red Sweet,Sweet Ruby,Black baby,Vishala,Saraswati,Mithila,Priya,Apoorva,Black Ball,Black Magic can be grown.
III. Manures and Fertilizers:
Watermelons tolerate a wide PH range from PH 5.6 to 8.0. Watermelon plants do well in soils that are rich in organic matters. Application of compost at rate of 5 ton/acre to 6 ton/acre can improve soil aeration.
IV. Planting and Transplanting:
Watermelon can be direct seeded to the field or grown as transplants in seedling pots and then transplanted to the field.
For direct seeding, treat seed with Thiram or Captain and then plant 2-3 seeds per hill about 2-3 cm deep. The hills are usually spaced 1 to 1.5 meters apart in the rows also 2 to 2.5 meters apart. A variation of spacing hills 4 meters apart in the rows 1.5 meters apart are also commonly used for the tropics.
Another method is planting seeds in pots or some similar type containers for germination to grow seedlings and then transplanting later to the field. If one follows this procedure, the seed should be planted 2-3 weeks before planting to the field. Transplant so handled should be planted to the field before the 5th true leaf stage.
Mulching the bed surface with straw is recommended for growing
watermelon in the Tropics. Mulching not only retain the soil moisture,prevent nutrient leaching and improve soil aeration, but also control the weeds and provide support for tendril. Rice straw and sugar cane leaves are good material for mulching.
Male and female flowers are separate on the same plant. Bees must carry pollen from flower to flower to insure good fruit set and development. Wild bees will help, improve pollination. However, where commercial acreages are involved, one should consider setting bee hives near the field. Under normal conditions, one hive of bees should be adequate for one hectare of plants.
Watermelons do not require pruning. However, it is better to remove the first fruit on the primary vine as early as possible, because this fruit is too near the crown that cannot develop well and will affect the later fruit setting.
VII. Irrigation and Drainage:
Soil moisture should be adequate throughout the early growing season to produce good plant growth. When the female flower appears, it is recommended to withhold water supply in order to improve the fruit setting.
When fruits are starting to develop, water should be added more to produce good size of fruits. After fruits reach full size it is usually best to withhold or reduce irrigation during ripening season. Sugar content will usually be higher and the melons have better flavor where they are not exposed to high moisture levels at ripening.
VIII. Weed Control:
Good weed control is essential for high quality melons. Sugar content of the melons can be lowered where weeds shade and compete with the plants.
Mulching helps weed control but it still requires hand removal of weeds.
Watermelon is sensitive to some herbicides and should be applied with care.
IX. Insect and Disease Control:
Beetles:Use carbary (sevin) spray.
Aphids and Leaf Minner:Use DDVP, Malathion, Dibrom, Lannate etc.
Worms:Use DDVP, Malathion, Sumicidin, Thiodan etc.
Spidermite:Use Kelthane, Ekatin etc.
Melonfly: Use Malathion, DDVP etc.
Fusarium Wilt:Use resistant variety and crop rotation.
Lot of high yielding varieties are released by NAmdhari SEEds, NUnhem seeds, IIHR