|Cut pieces of Watermelon fruit|
Watermelon is not only a thirst-quencher during hot summer days but also a rich source of vitamin C and A. Although watermelon can now be found in market throughout the year, the season for it is in the summer when they are sweet and of best quality.
The season for growing in Kerala (INDIA) is December –April. Sugar baby, Arka Jyothi, Arka manic, Asahiyomatto , Pusa badana, Madhu and Milan are some of the promising varieties.
Seeds are used for propagation. Sandy soil is more suitable for this crop. Seeds have to be sown in pits of 60cm diameter and 30cm depth. One or two pits are sufficient for a family. For large scale cultivation a spacing of 2x3mtrs should be given between pits. Organic manure may be applied in pits before sowing seeds. One layer of cow dung powder or Neem cake is sufficient for this purpose.
In initial stage irrigate once in 3-4 days. But in flowering and fruiting stage give irrigation in alternate days and reduce frequency when frits mature.
When plants start vining, spread dry twigs or Coconut/Arecanut leaves on ground for trailing.
Conduct weeding and manuring whenever necessary.
Red Pumpkin beetle and Epilachna beetle are the major pests of this crop. Avoid chemical pesticides and use organic one, as far as possible, to control these pests.
Harvest only ripe fruits. From large scale cultivation we may get 25-35tons of fruit from one hector.