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watermelon farming in Kenya - a simple guide

watermelon farming in Kenya – a simple guide

This article is about watermelon farming in Kenya. Cultivating watermelons in Kenya can prove to be a profitable undertaking if executed with precision. Here are some guidelines for initiating a watermelon farm in Kenya:

Climatic and Soil Factors:

  • Watermelons thrive in warm climates, so opt for a site with ample sunlight.
  • Ensure the soil is well-drained and enriched with organic matter. Sandy loam soils are generally suitable.

Varietal Selection:

  • Choose watermelon varieties that are well-adapted to your specific region. Sukari F1, Pato F1, and Sugar Baby are popular choices in Kenya.

Land Preparation:

  • Clear the land of debris and eradicate weeds.
  • Employ plowing and harrowing techniques to create a refined seedbed.

Planting Strategies:

  • Watermelons can be propagated from either seeds or seedlings, with direct seeding being a common practice.
  • Initiate planting at the onset of the rainy season or resort to irrigation if water resources are limited.
  • Adhere to recommended spacing, with approximately 2 meters between rows and 1 meter within rows.

Efficient Irrigation:

  • Consistent and substantial water provision is paramount for successful watermelon farming, with drip irrigation being a preferred method.
  • Aim for an irrigation regimen supplying about 25-30 liters of water per plant weekly.

Fertilization Practices:

  • Conduct soil tests to ascertain nutrient levels, tailoring fertilizer application accordingly.
  • Prior to planting, incorporate well-decomposed manure or compost into the soil.

Management of Pests and Diseases:

  • Keep vigilant against common pests like aphids, thrips, and spider mites, intervening promptly when necessary.
  • Address potential diseases such as powdery mildew through the application of suitable fungicides.

Weed Suppression:

  • Ensure the cultivation area remains free of weeds, particularly during the initial growth stages.
  • Utilize mulching techniques to inhibit weed growth and retain soil moisture.

Harvesting Procedures:

  • Watermelons typically reach maturity for harvest within 80-100 days post-planting.
  • Observe indicators such as a lackluster appearance, the presence of a yellow spot on the ground side, and a resonant sound upon thumping.

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