The requirements for starting a lucrative watermelon farming business include;
For starters, a large piece of land, say a plot, will probably be sufficient. Since the fruit thrives in hot and humid environments, an area of land with a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius or 77 degrees Fahrenheit is suitable.
Planting is equally suitable in areas with sandy or loamy soil. After acquiring the farm land, it should be cleared.
After clearing the farmland, the next step to take is to get good watermelon seedlings for planting. You are encouraged to only plant hybrid watermelon seeds as the type of seeds planted will determine the quality of fruits that will be harvested after maturity.
Sow watermelons in rows. Plant between 3 to 4 seeds per row, and ensure that the rows are about 10 feet apart or more from each other. with a seed space of about 6 inches apart.
Watermelons are heavy feeders, so when planting, you can use a moderate amount of manure, compost, and leaves.
Additionally, aside from feeding the seedlings with manure and other components, ensure that the soil drains properly.
You should also provide adequate protection for your tender seedlings as well. Watermelon is best planted at the start of the rainy season or near the end of the rainy season and during cold weather, watermelons grow slowly. As a result, use hot caps or cold frames on cold days or nights.
There is no set schedule for watermelon fertilization. The current soil condition, followed by the stage of growth of the watermelon plant, determines the timing of fertilizer application. Both emergent seedlings and blooming plants have different nutritional requirements.
When fertilizing watermelon plants, start with nitrogen-based fertilizer. Once the plant begins to flower, a phosphorus and potassium-based fertilizer should be applied to the watermelon. Watermelons require a lot of potassium and phosphorus to grow well.
Top dress with either 5-5-5- or 10-10-10 general all-purpose fertilizer once the seedlings have emerged or you are ready to transplant. Fertilize the watermelon plants with 1 1/2 pounds of fertilizer per 100 square feet of garden space.
Watermelons should be fertilized with granular food without allowing the fertilizer to come in contact with the leaves. The leaves are delicate and can be damaged if not properly handled. Fertilization should be done in such a way that the nutrients are easily absorbed by the plant roots.
Watermelons must be watered regularly, especially during hot weather as this will help keep the soil moist. Although the watermelon crop requires watering throughout the growing season, it is particularly important to water the plants when they are setting and growing fruit.
The reason for this is that the watermelon fruit is made up of 92 percent of water, meaning that the watermelon plant must take up an enough amount of water while the fruit is developing to ensure that the fruit obtains the required amount of water for proper development and maturity.
This practice is very important as some of its consequences include that if water is not available to the watermelon plant at this time, the watermelon fruit will likely have stunted growth or possibly fall off the vine before maturity. It is therefore very important to water the watermelon crops while they are establishing in the garden or during times of drought.
It is imperative to clear the farm land used for watermelon cultivation and rid it free of weeds as this practice would help the planted crops grow well and perform better.
Also, inspect the watermelon beds weekly and pull-out any weed that grows through the mulch layer by hand picking through grasping the weeds near the base and pull straight up, twisting slightly to dislodge deep roots without breaking them.
7. Applying Pesticides
Major pests of the watermelon include aphids, fruit flies, and root-knot nematodes. In very hot weather, the plants are prone to diseases such as powdery mildew and mosaic virus.
Upon observation of any pest, pesticides should be applied quickly and carefully so as not to disrupt growth of the watermelon crop.
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Most watermelon farmers claim they tap on the fruit and wait for a dull thump sound to ascertain when a watermelon is ripe enough for harvesting.
A common way however is to watch the tendril closest to the melon stem. The tendril is a modified leaf or stem in the shape of a slender, spiral coil.
When it turns brown and dries up, the melon is ripe. The only trouble with this method is that some watermelon varieties have their tendrils drying and dropping-off more than a week before the melons become fully ripe.
A successful watermelon farming exercise ends with transporting the harvested produce which are the matured watermelon fruits to the market for sale.
Customers range from fruit juice companies to fruit shops, local markets, grocery stores and pharmaceutical companies that use watermelons in their medicines when creating nutritional supplements.
Sales of watermelon fruits could also be achieved with restaurants and resorts scattered across the country.
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