Watermelon is a fruit that originated in South Africa. In India, it is a popular cucurbitaceous vegetable. It is an excellent dessert fruit, with 92 per cent water, proteins, minerals, and carbohydrates in its juice. Cubic shape watermelons are popular in Japan; they grow watermelons in glass boxes and give them a cubic shape. Watermelons are primarily grown in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.
Soil for Watermelon Farming
Watermelon thrives in deep, fertile, well-drained soil. It performs best when grown in sandy or sandy loam soil. Watermelon cultivation is not suitable for soil with poor drainage capacity. Crop rotation is important because growing the same crop on the same field for an extended period causes nutrient loss, poor yield, and increased disease attacks. Moreover, you can use perfect farming machines like Eicher 485 and others to make the soil perfect for farming.
Popular Varieties for Watermelon Farming
PAU, Ludhiana, developed the improved shipper. Fruits are large, with dark green skin. With a TSS of 8-9 per cent, these are moderately sweet. The average yield per acre is 70-80 QTL.
PAU, Ludhiana, developed Special No.1. Fruits are round and small in size, with red flesh. These are varieties that mature early. TSS is less than that of Improved Shipper.
Sugar Baby has a yield of 72qtl/acre on average. It has a dark red skin colour and a sucrose content of 9-10%.
China – Watermelon Hybrid Yellow Doll Watermelon Hybrid Red Doll are two exotic varieties. Regency, Royal Flush, Royal Majesty, Royal Sweet, Paradise, Ferrari, Sunrise, etc.
IARI, New Delhi, developed Asahi Yamato. This variety produces medium-sized fruits weighing 6-8kg. In 95 days, the array is ready for harvest. The flesh is a dark pink colour. TSS content ranges between 11 and 13 per cent in the fruits.
Sugar Baby: Invented by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi. This variety’s fruits are small and round, with an average 3-5kg weight. The skin is bluish-black, and the flesh is a deep pink colour. The seeds are tiny. TSS content ranges between 11 and 13 per cent in the fruit, and It has a yield of 72qtl/acre on average.
Plough the ground and bring it to a fine tilth, and then sowing takes place in North India during the months of February and March. Sowing takes place in North East and West India from November to January. Watermelon can be seeded directly or transplanted in a nursery and then transplanted to the main field. Adequate farming machines like New Holland Excel 4710 and more can help you increase the soil’s productivity.
It is sown in the north from the middle of January to the centre of March and from November to December in the south. Depending on the method of sowing, spacing may vary. Using the pit method, use a row to row spacing of 2-3.5m and a plant spacing of 60 cm between two plants. Plant the seed 2-3cm deep.
Depending on the climate and season, We can use different planting methods such as the furrow, pit, and hill methods.
We can sow on either side of furrows using the furrow method. Sow 3-4 seeds at a time (after germination, keep only healthy seedlings) and maintain a plant-to-plant distance of 60-90cm.
Sow 4 seeds in a pit using the pit method. Make a pit 60x60x60cm in size, with a distance of 2-3.5m between two rows and 0.6-1.2m between plants. Fill the pit with cow dung and soil that has been well decomposed. We should keep only one seedling after germination.
The hill method is similar to the pit method. Pits of 30x30x30cm are made at 1-1.5m intervals in this. Per hill, two seeds are sown.
During the early stages of growth, keep the bed weed-free. Weed can cause a 30% yield loss without proper control measures. Therefore, We should conduct intercultural operations 15-20 days after sowing. Two to three weedings are required depending on the severity and intensity of the weeds.
In the summer, apply irrigation once a week. Irrigate only when necessary during the maturation period. Avoid flooding in the watermelon field. Irrigation should not be used to wet the vines or vegetative parts, especially during flowering and fruit-set. Irrigation should be avoided on a regular basis in heavy soil because it promotes excessive vegetative growth. Stop or reduce watering 3-6 days before harvesting for improved sweetness and flavour.
If the tendril near the stem dries and the whitish colour of the fruit that touches the ground turns yellowish, the fruit is ready for harvesting. When thumping melon sounds hollow (typically as a dull thump or thud), it is ready for harvest, whereas immature fruit sounds dense. Picking immature fruits is not recommended because they ripen only when they are attached to the vine. Green fruit does not have a high sugar content or a vibrant colour. To harvest ripe fruit, use a pair of sharp pruners or a knife to cut the stem 1″ from the fruit. We can store fruit in a cool, humid place.
The size of the fruit is used to grade it. We can keep it at a temperature of 15°C for 14 days. We should not store watermelon with apples or bananas because it develops an off flavour as the fruit softens.
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