By Joseph Mugenyi
Kampala: Watermelon is a vine-like flowering plant (ekihuuru) that belongs to a specie of citrullus lanatus and a family of cucurbitaceae. It’s a relative to pumpkins.
Most water melon varieties grown in Uganda include;
- Gali F1
- Zuri F1
- Sukari F1
- Charleston Gray
- Early scarletF1.
Most watermelon varieties take 3months to mature.
Before planting melon, put it in mind that they should be harvested in hot weather when there is high demand.
This implies you should plant either in the first weeks of April or October so that you harvest in July and January respectively or late June and late December where it’s always hot and highly demanded.
Melon can be grown from seeds or transplants from nursery bed.
Sometimes transplanted melon easily wilt especially when conditions are not favorable so planting them direct in field is better.
Since melon are vining crops so they need at least 5-6feet spacing from each other.
This means for commercial farming you need a big space of land.
They need sunlight so it must be an open garden.
2-3 weeks after germination you should do weeding. Weeds compete for water and sunlight with the plant.
Mulches should be applied when the garden is warm. They control weeds and conserve moisture.
Each Plant can yield 3-6 fruits in case there is successfull pollination. Honey bees must pollinate them for fruits to be produced.
Fruits should be produced in a dry Season since excessive rain reduces production by affecting the flowering process (flowers drop off the plant.
Rain also encourage the development of leaf diseases. You can also apply organic manure to boost their growth.
There is growing market for water melon especially in urban areas.
You can sell your water melons to fruits’ vendors, market vendors, hotels, canteens, supermarkets etc.
After harvesting each costs 2000-5000 depending on the size, weather, place of sell etc.
If you have a very big project you can sell them to fruit exporting companies e.g. Interfresh Ltd, GK fruit Company, Tropical int, Ltd etc.
Melon juice has now got a growing market especially in the urban areas.
As you eat a melon, know the following;
- You are boosting your immunity
- It’s source of vitamin C
- It improves heart health
- It reduces stroke and heart diseases.
Get all the agricultural information here bi-weekly.Mugenyi Joseph (MJ Farmer) is a practicing Agribusiness entrepreneur based in Kibiito and a software Engineering student at Makerere University. He can be reached on 0701-443309, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org