Organic farming is an ancient farming method practiced by our ancestors to cultivate the crops and gain quantitative and qualitative yield from them. They used eco-friendly manures, fertilizers and pesticides to enhance the soil. They maintained a balance between the man and the ecosystem. Humans and nature were equally happy with this technique, it was beneficial for both.
Nowadays people are trying to bring back this technique in the farming process. As the conventional farming techniques started to create problems to the health of humans and destroyed micro-organisms, insects etc., humans turned around to the traditional way to produce food.
Here we are going to talk about farming criteria’s of watermelon.
Watermelon is a refreshing fruit that we have during the summer days. It is proved to contain low calorie and high amount of vitamin C, vitamin A and other beneficial ingredients. Watermelon is formed with 92% of water. Scientist has proved that watermelon consists of elements that can reduce the risk of cancer by reducing IGF (Insulin like Growth Factor). They are also found to reduce heart diseases.
Biologically, watermelon falls under the category of Cucurbitaceae family. They share a relation with cucumber, squash and pumpkin. Watermelon comes in different shapes, they can be globular or oblong. And in colours, they have light green, dark green, stripped and solid.
Watermelon is a warm season crop and they are best grown in the tropics. Compared to all other vegetables and fruits, for the efficient growth, watermelon crops needs more heat approximately between 25-30 degree Celsius. Fruits attain good quality at 30 degree. Cloudy and rainy season damages the crop and reduces the fruit production and also the fruit will lack sugar content. The best soil will lack sugar content. The best soil to grow Watermelon crops are well-drained loamy soil. Repeated growth in the same soil increases the probability of diseases.
Check the soil for organic content for the healthy growth of the plant. They need an optimum pH level in soil for providing expected yields. Acidic soil may result in blossom drops.
Before planting the crops, they are treated with manure, compost and other natural leaves. Water stagnant can cause fungal infections, so proper drainage system is formed in the farmland.
Next, the watermelon seeds are planted with a standard spacing of 1m between two plantings.
When it comes to irrigation, the beds are irrigated two days before planting and after 5 days when the seeds are sown. After that, when the plants become mature, they are irrigated every week. Required amount of water must be maintained in the roots so that they form a tap root system. When the crop flowers and has fruits, irrigation level is reduced and fully stopped during the harvesting stage. Reducing the irrigation can help to increase the sugar content in the fruit.
Both male and female flowers are present in the same plant. Natural carriers such as bees help in pollination.
Pruning operation is not performed in watermelon but the first fruit in the vine are often removed as this fruit will not have the capability to develop well and can affect the coming fruits.
Compared to other fruiting plants, watermelon crops are heavy consumers of manures. Liquids fertilizers and seaweed extracts are sprayed to the plant at regular intervals. In addition to this phosphorus and potassium are applied.
Mulching process is practiced in Water melon plants. The beds are covered with dry straw to maintain the moisture content, prevent nutrients leaching and improve aeration.
Major diseases which affects watermelon:
- Undeveloped fruit set
- Fruit drop
- Fruit cracking
- Small fruit
Major pests which infect Water melon crops are:
- Stripped and spotted cucumber beetles.
- Leaf miners
- Spider mites
Water melon is commonly harvested after 80-90 days for bush varieties and 90-100 days for large varieties.