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Watermelon Growing

Introduction
Watermelon is one of the most widely cultivated crops in the world. It accounts for 6.8% of the world area devoted to vegetable production. Watermelon originally came from Southern Africa and is now grown in most parts of the world.

Varieties of water melon
Watermelon belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae. There are more than 100 different varieties of Watermelons available in many sizes, shapes, and colours. The interior flesh may be red, pink, orange or yellow. There are seedless varieties and super-sweet round ones. The common commercial Watermelon varieties include:

  • Sugarbaby
  • Crimson sweet
  • Charleston Gray
  • Yellow Crimson

Climate and weather

Watermelon prefers a hot and dry climate with daytime temperature between 22 to 30°C. It can survive desert conditions when groundwater is available. It grows better in full open sun, with no shade. Watermelon fruits that are grown under hot and dry conditions have higher sugar content than fruits that those grown under cool and humid conditions.

Soils
Watermelon requires well-drained, neutral or slightly alkaline soil with pH of 7.0, preferably light sandy soils. It grows best in sandy or sandy loam soils, although yields on clay soils can be increased significantly by mulching raised planting rows. Watermelons grown in heavy soils are subject to fruit cracking.

Fertiliser use
Watermelon can be grown with little or no fertiliser after heavy fertiliser crops have been harvested.

Care
Watermelons should be kept free from weeds by shallow hoeing and cultivation. The plants have moderately deep roots and watering is seldom necessary unless the weather turns dry for a prolonged period. Extended periods of extremely dry weather when the melons were maturing can cause Watermelons to rot on the ends. This may be aggravated by continued deep hoeing or close cultivation. Mulching the plants helps to reduce this problem.

Market Analysis

There is a growing market for fruits such as watermelons country wide in Uganda especially in urban areas. Water melons can be supplied to

  • Fruits’ Vendors
  • Market Vendors
  • Hotels
  • Supermarkets
  • Canteens.

Areas in Uganda that grow watermelon
The fruit is grown in most parts of the Country however it’s mostly grown in the following areas.

  • Mayuge District
  • Bugerere District
  • Masaka District
  • Mubende District
  • Masindi District
  • Bushenyi District
  • Busoga District

 

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