Watermelon is a stimulating fruit ideal for the hot season. It is nutritious and rich in vitamin A, B6 and C.
According to David Mwesigye, a gardening expert, watermelon germinates from seeds which are sown direct in the garden. The plant needs adequate water and full sunlight.
- Plant two to three seeds seeds in a hole of 2.5cm deep. But if all the seeds germinate remember to leave only two most healthy ones, Mwesigye explains.
- Tilt the soil at least 20cm deep to increase soil aeration.
- Planting distance ranges from 1.5 by 1.5 to 2.5 by 2.5 metres apart. (1.5×1.5 to 2.5×2.5meters)
- Fertilisers which can be used include NPK, compost or other organic manure like cow dung, chicken manure etc.
Watermelon grows to 3.5meters long in well-drained sandy loamy soils.
Pests and diseases
Mwesigye says watermelon is easily attacked by pests and diseases, hence the need to be sprayed with different fungicides and insecticides starting from one week after germinating and applying different liquid fertilisers. The plant can be attacked by aphids, mites and diseases like downy mildew.
Any insecticide or fungicide will work best to mitigate.
“When watermelon vines start to run during flowering time, cut off the tips of the vines, new flowers and young fruits to help the existing fruits grow big,” he says.
One can tell that melon is ready to harvest by seeing its tendrils turning yellow then after turn brownish. The fruit takes 35 to 40 days to mature from pollination and 65 to 90 days to mature after planting.