Botanical Name: Citrillus vulgaris (L)
Suitable Variety: Sugar Baby, Florida Giant, Black Diamond, Charleston Gray
Source of Planting Material: Buy certified seeds from reputable seed companies.
Climatic Requirements: Watermelon is a tropical plant and requires a lot of sunshine and high temperature of over 25°C for optimum growth. It thrives best in dry weather.
Site Selection: Watermelon does well on a well-drained fertile soil of fairly acidic nature. It can be grown along the coastal areas of Ghana, the forest zone and along river beds in the northern savannah areas.
Land Preparation: Clear the land and sow 3 seeds per hill at 1.5m apart, alternatively prepare mounds (30cm to 45cm at the top and 1.5m apart), put half a bucket (10L capacity)/shovelful of compost or well decomposed farm yard manure per hill/mound.
Propagation and Planting: Sow 3 to 5 seeds per mound and thin out to two seedlings after germination when they have reached the three true-leaf stage. Seeds can also be propagated in containers and planted out on the mounds. Care must be taken not to expose the roots during transplanting.
Seed rate: 4kg-5kg per ha.
100kg/ha of N, 22kg/ha of P₂O₅ and 140 kg/ha of K₂O
Fertilizer Application: Use soil analysis as a guide for fertilizer application. Apply 20 tons of well decomposed farmyard manure. Apply a maximum of NPK 15-15-15 at the rate of 150kg/ha (35g per mound/hill) in split application three weeks after planting. Fertilize the second time with 300kg KNO₃ (70g per mound/hill) in split application two weeks after.
Pruning: Vine and fruit pruning is practiced to obtain greater uniformity of size and shape. This is done by selecting 2 or 3 best fruits per plant after fruit set and cutting the rest off from the vine.
Weed control: Control weeds by hoeing before the plant trails over a wide area. Train the runners in one direction to facilitate weed control. Apply recommended weedicides.
Irrigation and Mulching: In drier areas irrigation should be throughout the growing periods. Cover the soil with mulch material such as dry grass to conserve moisture. Place dry grass under the fruits to prevent fruit damage by contact with bare soil.
Pests and Disease Control:
Fruit fly (Dacus armatus) is a troublesome pest of watermelon and can be controlled by wrapping dry grasses or newspapers around the fruit when they are about 4 to 6 cm in diameter.
Beetles (Asbecesta cyanipennis), Apomecyna sp can be controlled by regular spraying with recommended insecticides.
Common diseases include Fusarium wilt, Anthracnose and Powdery mildew and these can be controlled by applying recommended copper based fungicides. Reduce disease incidence by practicing crop rotation.
Harvesting: fruits may be harvested 80-100 days after planting. Harvest the fruit when fully mature because once picked they stop ripening and will not improve in any way. Fruits are ripe when the tendrils at the point where the fruit stalk is attached to the main stem becomes dry and when the colour of the rind in contact with mulch turn from green to yellow. Pick fruits with the fruit stalk attached using a sharp knife. The cut surface of the stalk may be treated with Bordeux paste.
Yield: Average yield of 25-30 ton/ha (4.5 kg – 11kg/fruit) can be obtained depending on variety and adherence to good agricultural practices.
Packaging and Storage: Watermelons must be handled carefully without dropping them. Transport in crates with straw for packing and keep fruits in fairly cool moist environment.
|Total estimated cost||5045.00|
Average Yield/ha = 26,664 fruits
No. of fruit/ha=
Percentage loss of 5%
90/100 x 26, 664= 23,998 fruits
Farm gate price per fruit= GHc 1
= GHc23.998 Net
Income= GHc 23,998- GHc 5045
= GHc18, 953
Note: this does not include fixed costs and overheads
For further information contact:
The nearest agriculture office
The Horticulture Development Unit,
Directorate of Crop Service,
Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Accra