Profits from watermelons, agricultural information, and growth stages
Today’s theme includes watermelon growing phases, watermelon earnings, and yield. Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is a flowering plant native to South Africa that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. It is a fruit known as a pepo by botanists, which is a berry with a thick rind and flesh mesocarp and endocarp.
- Watermelon fruit has around 6% sugar and 92% water by weight. Watermelon, like many other fruits, is high in vitamin C. Watermelon rinds, which are often light green or pale green in color, are also edible and contain several nutrients, although most people avoid eating them owing to their unpleasant flavor.
- Watermelons are occasionally used as a vegetable.
- Watermelon fruit of typical size develops onto long, rambling vines. Smaller, hybrid vines can extend to a diameter of 5 or 6 feet. Watermelon vines have huge leaves and bright yellow blooms, which are followed by luscious fruit.
Some facts about Watermelon farming:
- The watermelon is a blooming plant that originated in northeast Africa, where it grew wild. Because of its original habitat, which stretches from west India to north and west Africa, Citrullus colocynthis has occasionally been regarded as the watermelon’s wild progenitor.
- Watermelon is botanically known as Citrullus lanatus and is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family.
- Watermelons require a long growth season, a hot, humid summer, and plenty of room. When planted in healthy, well-drained soil with full light, these melons are very easy to grow.
- Watermelons thrive in well-draining sandy loam soil. It grows well in both dark and sandy soil. They must, however, have a high organic content and not be water-resistant. Water must be allowed to drain quickly from the soil or the vines may develop fungal diseases.
China is the leading producer, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with 75 million produced in 2014.
For seeds to germinate and flourish, watermelons require a long growth season (at least 80 days) and warm soils. At planting time, the soil temperature must be 70 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
- Watermelon bed in a sunny spot with well-drained, loose, fertile soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. The seeds may wither as a result of acidic soil. While neutral pH soil is ideal, it may grow well in slightly alkaline soil as well.
- Plant watermelons at least six to eight feet apart since growing them too close together limits the growth of large melons and stimulates the growth of vegetation.
- The optimal conditions for producing watermelons are between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, however above this temperature range, the plants might shed their blooms and produce tasteless melons due to constant temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the growing period.
- The time it takes for a watermelon to mature could be anywhere from 65 to 90 days after planting. Once the fruit sets to tiny marble-sized melons, it takes up to 45 days for those tiny melons to develop into watermelons 10 pounds in size or more.
- Watermelon is a dry season crop and it should be planted with irrigation. The watermelon beds are irrigated 2 days prior to sowing and then again 5 days after sowing the seeds. As the plant grows, irrigation is finished on a weekly basis. Attention should be paid to water stress at the time of irrigation since it can lead to fruit cracking. While irrigating, water should be restricted to the root zone of the plant.
- The watermelon sowing time is mid-January to March month and under protection in November to December.
- In India, since the climate is mostly tropical, all seasons are appropriate for watermelon cultivation. However, watermelon is sensitive to cold and frost. Hence, in parts of the country where winter is severe, watermelons are cultivated after the frost has passed. In places like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and etc. watermelon cultivation is feasible almost any time of the year.
Watermelon plant stages of development
Seedling: The initial stage of watermelon development, also known as germination, happens when seeds are planted in soil. When the soil temperature rises over 65 degrees Fahrenheit, bury the seed at a depth four times its width. When a seed is planted and watered, it produces a stem, or hypocotyl, and a root, or radicle. The hypocotyl pushes the first two leaves, or embryonic leaves, above the soil’s surface in 3 to 12 days.
Vining: 5 to 10 days after germination, the first set of true leaves emerge from the stem. These leaves are capable of photosynthesis, which is the system plants use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water to food. A vine of about one foot long grows out and large lobed leaves begin to form. This runner will continue to develop until it reaches about 12 feet in length. About one month after a watermelon plant sends out its first vine, several more vines will start to grow. Leaves form on all the vines and start to grow larger. At this time, top dress plants with 1/2 cup bone meal and gently works it into the soil, being careful not to damage shallow roots. Present watermelon seedlings with one to two inches of water per week.
Growth: Watermelon is a space hog; vines can attain 20 feet in length. Thus plant where there is plenty of open ground. Add a balanced fertilizer that is very high in nitrogen. Sow 8 to 10 watermelon seeds in a hill, and push seeds one inch into the soil. Space hills 3 to 4 feet apart, with at least eight feet between rows. Thin plants to the three best in each hill. Maintain soil free of weeds by shallow hoeing or with a layer of mulch.
Watermelon plants have moderately deep roots and watering is seldom essential unless the weather turns dry for a prolonged period. When vines initiate to ramble, side dress plants with half a cup of balanced fertilizer (5-10-5). The third application of fertilizer must be made when melons are set. Withhold water as melons create to mature to intensify sweetness.
Flowering: About 2 weeks after a plant sends out most of its runners, watermelon produces male and female flowers. The male watermelon flowers develop first. They give pollen, but do not produce fruit. The watermelon female flowers form shortly after the male flowers. Watermelon flowers last for one day so there must be an adequate number of bees and other pollinators in the area when the flowers are viable.
Fruiting: Once pollinated, the miniature fruits swell up to form speedily growing watermelons. They are considered viable after they attain the size of a golf ball. This generally takes a day or two. Watermelons will continue to develop for 30 to 35 days as long as they remain undisturbed.
Fruits may be harvested 80 to 100 days after planting. Harvest the fruit when fully mature because once picked they stop ripening and will not develop in any way. Fruits are ripe when the tendrils at the point where the fruit stalk is attached to the major stem become dry and when the color of the rind in contact with mulch turn from green to yellow. Pick fruits with the watermelon fruit stalk attached using a sharp knife. The cut surface of the stalk can be treated with Bordeaux paste.
Depending on the watermelon variety, the fruit takes up to 1 month to fully mature. It can be difficult to know when the melons are fully ripe, particularly at the beginning of the season. Some signs are the tendrils on the vine varying from green to brown, the spot on the ground where the melon laid changes from white to yellow and the sound made when thumping the watermelon changes to a hollow sound.
Depending on the watermelon type and excellent agricultural methods, an average yield of 25-30 tonnes/hectare (4.5kg – 11kg/fruit) may be attained.
Watermelon is a very successful crop due to rising demand and profitability per acre. In India, a watermelon farmer may earn between 2 and 3 lakhs per acre in 2 to 3 months. Farmers, on the other hand, make a lot of money from Japanese watermelon.
Watermelon yields 10,000 to 75,000 pounds per acre in Western nations, with projected returns ranging from $1000 to $25,000 per acre.