watermelon growing in Kenya
Last updated on June 9th, 2023 at 08:03 pm
This article focuses on watermelon growing in Kenya.
Watermelon is mainly grown in the hot areas of the country such as Kajiado, Makueni, Machakos and parts of the coastal areas.
- Types of watermelons grown in Kenya
- Zuri F1
- Sukari F1
- Kouba F1
- sugar baby
- crimson candy
- Pink F1 is soft
Environmental conditions for growing watermelons
- Height of 1500m above sea level.
- The temperature is around 15-30 degrees Celsius.
- A well-drained loamy soil with a high nutrient content.
- Rainfall of 600 mm per season.
- Full sun. At least 6-8 hours of sun per day.
The soil should be prepared well in advance of planting so that the grass does not die completely.
Propagation is by seed which can be sown directly or first grown in a nursery or nursery and then grafted.
The seed takes 7 days to grow.
When planting seeds, it is good to mix the soil with nutrients and fertilizers like DAP to give the plant the necessary nutrients it deserves.
Planting holes should be 2-4cm deep and spaced about 1.5m by 1m.
Weeding should be done properly to increase the chances of high yield. This is because weeds compete for important crops.
Weeding can be done by hand or surface planting.
Pests and diseases
Insects that attack watermelons include cutworms, melon worms, red mites, whiteflies, leaf miners, aphids, thrips, nematodes, etc.
Common diseases include blight, powdery mildew, anthracnose, watermelon mosaic, leaf spot and Fusarium wilt.
Diseases and pests can be eliminated using foliar sprays and crop rotation, among other methods.
Harvesting can be done after 3-4 months depending on the variety planted and other factors such as weather conditions.
The best time for harvesting is early in the morning when it is still cool.
When ripe, the color of the watermelon’s skin will change from white to purple.
Another sign of maturity is bark.
On average, one acre of land can produce 20 to 35 tons of watermelon.
Watermelon market in Kenya
A large percentage of the watermelons produced in Kenya are sold in open markets located in different parts of the country.
There are also markets for fruits in high-end supermarkets, grocery stores, restaurants, and other institutions such as schools.
Our prices vary depending on the market. For example, in a city like Nairobi, the price is not the same as the market price in other cities like Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret, etc.
Average price is Kshs 100 per kg.