Topic 9 Watermelon Cultivation

horticulture guruji

Watermelon Cultivation

Vegetable Science

Botanical Name: Citrullus lanatus Thunb.

Family:- Cucurbitaceae

Chromosome Number: 2n=22

Origin: Tropical Africa

Important Points

  • Watermelon is climacteric vegetable.
  • Toxic substance is found in watermelon serotonin.
  • Two color pigments called Anthocyanin and Lycopene are found.
  • Bitterness in watermelon is caused by the presence of cucurbitacin (Tetracyclic triterpenes)
  • Arka Manik is a multi-disease resistant variety and is also a great variety for long distance transport.
  • Having a white heart in the middle part of watermelon reduces the quality of the fruit.
  • TSS of ripe fruit is about 8 – 13%.

Area and Production

Sr. No. States 2016-17 2017-18
Area (000′ hac) Production (000′ MT) Area (000′ hac) Prodcution (000′ MT)
1 West Bengal 16.55 230.11 16.60 234.30
2 Uttar Pradesh 13.67 616.25 13.74 619.65
3 Andhra Pradesh 6.88 206.49 11.02 360.08
4 Odisha 11.73 226.81 11.73 226.98
5 Karnataka 10.26 343.72 10.18 336.85
6. Rajasthan 2.52 23.61 2.01 19.50
7 Other states 28.97 534.65 35.08 722.74
  Total 90.93 2181.64 101.08 2520.10

Source:- NHB 2018

Economic Importance

  • Watermelon contains 95% water, 2% protein, 0.3% mineral, 3.3% carbs and 160 mg potassium per 100 gm.
  • Seed kernel is also used in various sweets and other tasty dishes.
  • Raw fruits are cooked as vegetables in some parts of India. The sweet, juicy pulp of ripe fruit is eaten throughout the tropical and subtropical regions.
  • The fruit has a cooling effect and is useful as an expectorant, diuretic and stomachic and is allaying thirst.

Varieties

  1. Introduction: –
Improved Shipper New Hemisphire Midget Furken
Asahi Yamato Sugar Baby -12-13% TSS Dixie Cream

2. Selection: –

Durgapura Kesar – Yellow pulp

Durgapura Meetha

Pusa Rasal

3. Hybrids: –

Madhur

Milan

Arka Akash

Pusa Bedana (Triploid) – Tetra-2 X Pusa Rasal (Seedless Variety) (Developed by Dr. Kihara)

Arka Jyoti – IIHR 20 X Crimson Sweet (released by IIHR, Bangalore)

Arka Manik – IIHR X Crimson Sweet (released by IIHR, Bangalore)

4. Other Varieties: –

Arka Muthu

Arka Aiswarya

Special No.1

Arka Madhura

PKM 1

Crimson Sweet

Climate

Watermelon needs a long warm season with good sunshine. Which is essential for the high quality of the fruit. Melons require a tropical climate and a high temperature of 35-400C during fruit development. The seed does not germinate below 210C.

Soil

Light soil that heats up quickly in summer is useful for the early crop but the deep sandy loam soil with pH from 5.5 to 7.0 is good for watermelon cultivation.

Sowing Time

January-February months in UP and Delhi areas are preferred for sowing but fruits should require high temperatures at the time of maturity and ripening which increases sweetness.

Sowing in central India is carried out from February to the end of March and from mid-July

Preparation of Field

The field should be ploughed 3 to 4 times for good tilth for seed bed.

Seed Rate

For watermelon 2.5 to 3.5Kg/ hac. seeds are required.

Sowing

Seeds can be sown in ordinary beds or in raised beds on both sides or in pits. Seeds are sown 2.5 to 5.0 centimeters deep in pits at a distance of 4X1m or 3X3m. 3-4 seeds are sown in each pit.

In some cases where early crop is taken seeds can be sown in polyethylene bags (10X15 cm) of 100-200 gauge and germinated under cover to protect them from low temperature and then could be transplanted at 2 true leaf stage.

Pruning

Other branches are removed except 3 to 4 branches of the creeper, which increases the quality and yield of fruits.

Thinning

The fruit thinning increases the size and quality of the fruit. Normally 3-4 fruits per each vine should be kept in order to get good quality fruits.

Manure and Fertilizers

Manure and fertilizers have a good effect on watermelon crop.

The table below contains the recommended quantity of fertilizers in some states.

States N (kg/ha) P (kg/ha) K (kg/ha)
Punjab 62 40 40
Haryana 50 25 25
Madhya Pradesh 100 50 50
Rajasthan 80 40 40

1200 to 1400kg FYM along with the above fertilizers should be put into the field at the time of final tillage. In the last tillage, the entire amount of phosphorus and potash and half the amount of nitrogen should be added in the soil. And it is beneficial to give the remaining nitrogen as a top dressing after 30 to 35 days.

Irrigation

 Water melon require more frequent irrigation in summer to spring crop, while in rainy season crop, irrigation may not be necessary at all. In summer irrigate the crops at 3-5 days’ interval.

Weed Control

At the time of top dressing with nitrogen fertilizers, weeding and earthing up is done when the vines begin to spread. For the successful development of watermelon, the farm is kept free of weeds. During the initial stage of the crop beds, irrigation channel, ridges, etc. need to be kept free from weeds. The use of weedicides in watermelon crop is also beneficial such as simazine, butachlor, dichloremate, etc.

Use of Growth Regulators

Sr. No PGR Doses Effective
1 TIBA 25-250ppm Increase fruit setting and yield
2 GA3 25-50ppm Increase yield
3 Ethrel 500ppm Increase Yield
4 MH 100ppm Increase fruit setting and yield
5 NAA 200ppm Increase fruit setting and yield

It is beneficial to spray all these growth regulators at the stage of 2 leaf of the crop and the second spraying at 4 leaf stages.

Harvesting

Fruits are harvested at a complete maturing stage. Usually the crop is ready for 40 to 45 days after anthesis or 90 to 120 days after sowing.

Maturity Indices

  • Dull sound when the fruit is thumped in contrast to metallic sound.
  • Withering of tendril at the fruit axil
  • Ground spot (Where the fruit touches the ground) turning yellow or lighter in colour in green coloured cultivars.
  • Rind of the ripe melon yields to presume.
  • The average sweetness will record around 9-10% TSS.

Yield

Watermelon yields about 200 to 250 quintals per hector and from hybrid varieties  about 300 quintals.

Plant protection measures of cucurbits

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