Watermelon Farming in Nigeria

Watermelon Farming in Nigeria is a serious business when careful analysis is done with the market demand.

In this article you will learn the best and practical methods in Watermelon Farming.

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Water Melon Farming

Watermelons need five things to grow and produce fruit: 

1. sun, 

2. water, 

3. bees, 

4. nutrients, and a lot of space! 

They thrive in sandy or sandy loam soil. Give each plant at least 5 feet of space, as their vines spread rapidly. 

Watermelon can be grown from seed or transplants from a nursery.

Honeybees must pollinate the watermelon blossom for fruit to be produced.

SPECIES OF WATER MELON

1.  Sugarbaby

Is dark round and has thick red flesh. its maturity days is 120 days

2. Watermelon (Citrullus lantatus) 

Watermelon (Citrullus lantatus) 

Belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae which includes squash, pumpkin and cucumber. It is a popular dessert vegetable, with year round availability.

Watermelons vary in shape; from globular to oblong. External rind colour varies from light to dark green and may be solid, striped or marbled. The pulp colour of most commercial varieties is red. The fruit is generally eaten raw.

 Watermelon has very high water content (93ml/100g edible portion). It contains carbohydrates (5mg), calcium (8mg), phosphorous (9 mg), ascorbic acid (8 mg) and vitamins (0.64 g) per 100 g of edible portion.

3. SukariF1

SukariF1

its light green with dark green stripes, its maturity days is 90 days, its oblong in shape

Crimson sweet

 has light green and dark green stripes, has.blocky oval shape with red flesh, its maturity is between 90 days to 120days.

 4. Sweet rose F1

Sweet rose F1

Sweet rose F1 fruits are oval to round, matures between 80 days to 90days

LAND PREPARATION

Clear the land of all vegetation covers and plant debris. Spray a systemic herbicide (Glyphosate) to control noxious weeds such as spear grass, etc.

 Prune trees; remove other shrubs that could impose shade. Plant residue need not be burned as they could be used as mulch material.

 Conservation tillage is best for watermelon especially when the soil is of sandy loamy texture class.

 But in cases where the soil texture is clayey, a little ploughing and harrowing may be necessary to facilitate deeper rooting and moisture penetration.

Process of cultivating watermelon

Step 1: Location

Melons are vining crops that require a lot of space, especially watermelons. For this reason they are not well suited to small gardens and should be grown only in lot-size gardens in urban areas or larger gardens in rural areas.

 Melons can be grown in small gardens if the vines are trellised and the fruit is supported.

Secondly the location for watermelon must have enough sunlight. Remove all shade plants; the soil must be fertile with good organic matter content.

 Melons grow best on a deep, well drained, sandy or sandy loam soil with plenty of organic matter. Heavy soils with a lot of clay often cause small, weak plants that produce fewer melons.

 Melons prefer soils with a neutral pH, and if the soil is too acidic the plants will drop their blossoms.

Step 2: Getting watermelon seed

Selecting the best watermelon variety is the most important decision made by a producer. Planting a variety that is not suited for the available market and the particular production situation leads to lower profits or possibly crop failure.

In addition to market acceptability, a variety must have acceptable yield, be adapted to the production area, and have the highest level of needed pest resistance.

Buy hybrid watermelon seed from the seed store. This guarantees good taste, good fruit sizes, and disease resistance that conform to varietal specification.

Do not use seed from previous watermelon fruit as such will produce crops with low yield, reduced sweetness, and disease susceptibility.

Watermelons grow best on non-saline sandy loam or silt loam soils.

Watermelon water requirements

Water melon requires a lot of water, atleast between 400–600mm

of well distributed water is required within the planting season

Soil structure good for watermelon farming

The best soil for growing water melon is a well-drained sandy loams

soil with high organic contents.

Water management

Water must be controlled in the farm especially during rainy season to

avoid excess water on the plants. Excess water can make the mature

seeds to crack, become tasteles sand watery. On the other hand water

deficit can during flowering and food deficit causes serious yield reduction.

Weed management on watermelon farm

Because of the shallow roots of water melon, absolute care ust be put in place during weeding to avoid bruising the roots. To avoid competition for nutrient, sunlight and moisture always keep the farm weed free. Avoid weeding when the field is wet to avoid spread of fungi and bacteria.

Seed planting

Before the seeds are planted, you must soak them over night in water to hasten germination, you space between 100–150 cm between rows while you space between 90 – 100 cm between plants.

Apart from the organic manure, you also need to apply fertilizer of

about 80kg per acre of land.

Watermelon pests

* Melonfly

* Aphids

* Spider mites

* White flies

* Epilachna beetles

* Root knot nematode

Pests on water melon can be controlled by chemicals or applying ash

on the water melon plant.

Mulching

Mulching is recommended for water melon farming, it can be done using straw or dry leaves, it helps to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, it also prevents attack of pests and diseases by preventing he seed from contact with soil.

Pruning

This involves removing dead, yellowish, infested or diseased leaves or shoots from the stem plant. Removed deformed or rotten fruits to help develop marketable fruits. Do not prone when the stem is wet.

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