The use of irrigation for watermelon farming can improve yield and guarantee all year round cultivation of the crop.
Watermelon does really well when grown under irrigation. The depletion of the ozone layer has led to climate change. This has had a negative impact on the occurrences of rainfall. With no rainfall and irrigation, you cannot grow your watermelon crop.
In spite of the merits of using irrigation for watermelon farming, it should be noted that some types of irrigation are not suitable for the cultivation of watermelon.
The cultivation of watermelon
The growing of watermelon involves activities starting from land preparation to the harvesting of watermelon balls.
Watermelon takes 70-90 days to reach maturity. Some varieties reach maturity faster than the others. Hybrid watermelon varieties often reach harvesting stage earlier than open pollinated varieties. They also yield more and better at resisting diseases and pests.
A single watermelon plant can produce 7 fruits. However, it is advisable to thin the fruits to a maximum of 2-3. Thinning enables the watermelon plants to produce bigger fruits.
A single watermelon ball can weigh up to 12 kg.
To grow watermelon successfully, the farmer needs good soil, water, pesticides, fertilizers, compost and well trained farm workers.
Types of Irrigation Suitable for Watermelon Farming
The following are some of the types of irrigation suitable for watermelon farming in Nigeria:
This is the best and most efficient type of irrigation for watermelon farming. Drip irrigation is a type of irrigation that passes water to the root zones of plants in a trickle manner.
With drip irrigation, there can be significant savings in water, labour and energy.
Drip irrigation also enables fertigation, a process of passing soluble fertilizers to the roots of plants through the drip irrigation lines or pipes.
With drip irrigation, the watermelon plant only gets the quantity of water it needs through its roots. Wastage is massively reduced. Fertilizers can also be injected to the roots of the plants at the right dosage.
Drip irrigation can reduce the need for labour for the application of fertilizers and pesticides.
Drip irrigation can generally increase the yield of watermelon plant by as much as 100%.
Rain Gun Sprinkler
Rain gun is a type of sprinkler that sprinkles water to the surface of the plants. Like drip irrigation, rain guns can guarantee all year round supply of water to your watermelon plants.
Rain guns rotate 360 degrees and sprays water to the plants and the field. We advise the use of drip irrigation for watermelon farming. However, in the absence of drip irrigation, rain gun sprinklers can be used.
Spray Tube Irrigation
Spray tube irrigation is a set of sprinkling hoses that work like sprinklers. The hoses are laid on the beds and they spray water to the plants on the field.
Spray tubes have holes perforated on them, the holes enables the spray tubes to spray water to the plants and the field.
This is the least preferred of all types of irrigation for the cultivation of watermelon.
In furrow irrigation, water is pumped into the furrow. The water can be left in the furrow for a long time.
Furrow irrigation when done improperly can lead to root rot disease. This can wreck the watermelon farm.
Furrow irrigation is not also water and labour efficient.
Irrigation can do wonders in watermelon farming.