If done in a methodical and scalable manner, cultivating watermelons may be a lucrative business. In a nutshell, professional watermelon farmers often begin the growing process by planting seeds in a controlled indoor setting. The field is readied while workers wait for the seedlings to mature and be ready for transplantation. The field is tilled, beds or furrows are created, and a black plastic film is laid over the rows. The black plastic covering has the dual benefit of preventing weed growth and warming the soil.
Benefits of Watermelon
The many health advantages associated with eating watermelon have contributed to its meteoric rise in popularity over the past few years. Because it contains close to 90 percent water, eating watermelon can help you keep hydrated throughout the hot summer months. Because it contains natural sugars, it can help sate a want for something sweet. There, watermelon juice is one of the many refreshing summer beverages that people like drinking. Additionally, antioxidants can be found in watermelon. Free radicals, also known as reactive species, may be eliminated from the body with the assistance of these substances, which can be found at trusted sources. During normal physiological activities, such as metabolism, the human body generates free radicals. It is also possible for them to form as a result of factors such as stress, air pollution, smoking, and other environmental stresses.
Watermelon Farming Techniques
1. Watermelon Plantation from Seed:
For this reason, watermelons require a lengthy growing season. From planting to picking, outdoor cultivation takes an average of 110 to 130 days. However, there are a few things you should know before you plant your first watermelon seed. To begin, the soil temperature has to be at least 18 °C for watermelon seeds to germinate. Secondly, the seed must have enough moisture levels in order to germinate. The effects of over-irrigation should not be underestimated. Some farmers prepare the soil by fully watering it the day before they plant seeds, and then they wait to water it again until the seeds sprout. However, sandier soils that have trouble holding on to water may not benefit from this method.
Based on the temperature and moisture levels of the soil, watermelon seeds can germinate in as little as 6-10 days.
For this reason, farmers in frost-prone regions often start their crops in protected seed beds before moving the seedlings outdoors. Aeration is maximised when they utilise lawn as substrate.
2. Methods for Cultivating Watermelons with Ungrafted Seedlings:
Growing watermelons from seed is another widespread practise. If we go with this strategy, we must pick the watermelon variety very carefully. When growing conditions in our area's fields are less than ideal, such as when diseases, pests, pH, or salt levels are an issue, not all types will prosper. There are kinds that can handle these conditions while others can't.
3. Methods for Cultivating Watermelons with Grafted Seedlings:
Grafted watermelon seedlings are the preferred choice of modern farmers. Grafting is a typical method wherein we combine two plants by joining their parts together in the hopes that they would flourish as one. The scion is the top component of the initial plant and it grows from the rootstock. One day, we may have a plant that takes full advantage of all its parts. In certain cases, the rootstock and scion plants are grown together from seed. After that, some people choose to graft their own plants, while others opt to purchase already-grafted seedlings from reputable nurseries. These days, scions of watermelons grafted onto squash rootstocks are the standard.
Also, Read - An Overview of Mushroom Farming Business in India
Requirements for Watermelon Farming
There are many different aspects that have a significant impact on the cultivation of watermelons. Before you set up business watermelons, you need to give some thought to the following considerations if you want to make a profit from them.
1. Soil Requirements:
The ideal growing conditions for watermelons include rich soil that is somewhat sandy and has a pH ranging from 5.8 to 6.6. They do not thrive in soils that are always wet. It is best to stay away from heavy clay soils since they have poor drainage and aeration. In order for watermelon farming to be lucrative and result in large yields, the soil must be extensively prepared before planting.
The first step in preparing the soil for transplanting watermelon seedlings occurs around five months in advance. Farmers do a good job ploughing during that time. Aeration and drainage are both improved when the soil is tilled. In addition, boulders and other unwanted items in the soil are removed from the field by the ploughing process. The next step in the process is called tilling. Tractors that till the soil remove weeds, which can be detrimental to the crop if they are not removed.
2. Low coverage:
Producing watermelons at low coverage is common since even in the spring, non-tropical nations face the risk of frost or heavy rain, necessitating the use of tunnels to shield immature plants. After planting, they quickly construct 50-centimeter-tall (1.6-foot-tall) tunnels out of plastic or iron support struts and white plastic coverings. To keep the ideal microclimate and shield the tender seedlings from danger, they construct miniature greenhouses.
After around 45 days (the exact time varies based on the weather), they begin to carefully remove the plastic, layer by layer, to reveal the plants. After a few days, they take it out of the field entirely. The tube must be torn apart gradually and in increments. The plants will suffer from stress if the plastic is suddenly removed.
3. Watermelon Water Requirements
The FAO estimates that the total amount of water needed to grow a watermelon is between 400 and 600 millimeters. Of fact, depending on the weather and the soil, the water requirements might vary greatly. For instance, compared to sandy soils, thick clay soils often require fewer watering sessions. Moreover, days with a lot of humidity in the air or rain may not even need watering. In contrast, a dry day with a high temperature would need for just one watering session per day.
The majority of farmers in Mediterranean nations, such as Greece, find it most effective to water their watermelons for a total of twenty minutes every day when they are in the early stages of development. The number of irrigation sessions is increased while the plant is in the process of setting fruit once the temperature has risen over 35 degrees Celsius. This is done to meet the plant's increased demand for water during this stage of development. At the end of the process, they drastically cut back on irrigation and come very close to stopping it altogether during the last stages of maturity. Cracks in the fruit will form if there is an excess of water during these phases. The water that is used by commercial watermelon growers in some areas of the United States amounts to an average of 25 millimetres per week. Many farmers find it most effective to irrigate their watermelons first thing in the morning at the beginning phases of growth, and then again in the late evening as the temperature continues to rise.
Watermelons typically need a lot of water, however watering the leaves has been related to illness. Pathogens like Powdery Mildew may flourish in conditions of high humidity.
4. Watermelon Spacing
Farmers often adhere to a row spacing of around 4 or 5 feet while growing watermelons. Watermelon plants need to be spaced at least 2–2.5 feet apart. There might be between 3,400 and 4,500 plants in an acre.
5. Watermelon Fertilizer Requirements
Before using any fertilizer or tillage techniques, you must first take into account the soil quality of your field via semiannual or yearly soil testing. No two fields are alike, and nobody can provide you fertilisation advice without considering the soil test results, tissue evaluation, and crop histories of your particular field.
6. Farming Watermelon for Profit
Because of the profit per acre and rising demand, watermelon growing is an extremely lucrative industry. Farmers may make between two and three lakhs in profit in three months by planting watermelons. Additionally, both commercial and marginal farmers may benefit from the watermelon farming business concept and can increase their profits while incurring the least amount of expenses.
Additionally, by selling the produce to other states and nations, commercial watermelon cultivation generates enormous profits. Actually, the shelf life of a watermelon is longer when it is green. And if it doesn't have any spots or patches, its most consumed component stays edible for at least 3 to 4 weeks after harvesting. That is why producers may make enormous profits by exporting watermelons.
Q. What family is watermelon in?
Q. What type of fruit is watermelon?
Ans: Watermelons are berries.
Q. Is watermelon good for diabetes?
Ans: Consuming watermelon in moderation is safe for diabetics. But it's ideal to eat watermelon and other high GI fruits with foods that are rich in fibre, protein, and healthy fats.