Agricultural Production of Melon
Melons belong to the Cucurbitaceae family. The plant grows in the form of a vine. It is basically a fruit, but some of it forms may be taken as ‘culinary vegetables’.
Many different varieties of melons are produced including Crenshaw, Juan Canary, Persian and Honeydew. Here is a look at the different factors involved in agricultural melon production.
Melons grow best in well-drained soils. Heavier soils are proffered because they can hold more water, which slows the start of the collapsing of vines, to ensure that melons grow with as little soil contact as possible, beds should left cloddy.
Too much saturation can be a stimulant for root rot diseases and ground spotting of fruit especially close to harvesting time. Furrow-irrigation method is usually used for melon production because sprinkling has a cooling effect on soil. Irrigations are scheduled as required to allow the replacement of moisture in the beds. The last irrigation is usually scheduled a week before the harvest.
Preplant P2O5 at 100 to 150 pounds/acre is used by majority of the growers. Materials that are commonly used for fertilization include liquid ammonium phosphate (10-34-0) as a band application near the lines of the seeds or ammonium phosphate (11-52-0) prior to listing the beds. A side stressing of N is used at 150 pounds/acre. It is a normal practice to use to use a liquid solution of UAN-32 (urea-ammonium nitrate.32-0-0) or AN-20 (liquid ammonium nitrate, 20-0-0) as the N source in place of dry N fertilizers.
The recommendation is at least one colony of bees/acre; one and one-half colonies/acre is best. The distribution of bees should be such that they are present on at least two sides of a 40-acre field; it is even better if the bees are present within the fields. If the bees are present in large numbers yields are increased. Fruit-producing flowers open only for a day. A well pollinated flower will be visited by 15 bees on average during this period of time. The flower aborts if it’s poorly pollinated. Near the crown of the plant is where the best quality, largest size and earliest maturing melons are produced. For this reason, an adequate number of bees should be present in the field when the first male blossoms develop.
Integrated Pest Control
This includes weed control and insect identification and control. The herbicides that are available for weed management are not very effective, Majority of the growers use mechanical cultivation and hand hoeing for weed control.
Melons produced in the fall season are attacked by crickets, cutworms, aphids, ground battles and some other insects. Spring melons are attacked by mites, melon aphids, cutworms and a few other insects.
Furrow irrigation reduces sudden wilt, which is a serious problem that affects melons after fruit set
Post harvest Handling
Mixed melons can be injured by wrong chilling temperatures. 7 degree centigrade is the temperature that is best for honeydews, Crenshaw’s and Persians and 10 degree centigrade for casabas.