Water Melon Farming In Nigeria: Guide on How To Start
Watermelon is one of the nutritious crops out there. This crop which has come to be accepted as a fruit is packed with enormous health benefits. It is loaded with nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, iron, folic acid, vitamin A and C and lycopene among others.
Water melon is linked with so many health benefits such as muscle health, eye, skin and hair care as well as help reduce cancer. These as well as it antioxidants and satisfactory feel and taste makes watermelon a very popular not only in Nigeria or Africa but in the world at large.
In fact, watermelon is the 3 most cultivated crops in the world directly behind potatoes and tomatoes.
The popularity had increased the demand of this crop and give farmers an avenue to make money. If you want to make from water melon, follow the steps below:
The first step to start a successful watermelon farm in Nigeria is choosing a suitable location that supports the growth of this fruit.
One of the requirements of water melon is that it requires a hot and dry climate, making the northern part of the country naturally suited for farming watermelon.
However, this does not mean it cannot be planted in the south. Watermelon also requires a sandy or loamy soil that is well drained and the farm must be exposed to sunlight.
Pre-planting & planting phase
Before watermelon can be planted, you need to prepare the land. To prepare the land in anticipation of planting, plough the land and plant that same day.
However, you can wait till the next day if you wish. There are different seed varieties of water-melon such as the black diamond, Congo, crimson sweet and moon & stars.
Learn about each of these variety and their unique features and requirement before making a decision on which to plant. Watermelon is planted usually at the beginning of the raining season or at the end of the raining season.
You can plant water melon on either a flat surface or on ridges. However, it is recommended you plant on ridges.
Also note that watermelon require a lot of space. The plant is a rampling vine and can smother anything it comes in contact with. Although they do not climb, you can train them on strong trellis to increase their exposure to sunlight and also save space.
The planting hole should be about 30cm in depth. The planting rows should be about 2 meters apart and the spacing between plants should be 1 foot apart.
Post planting and harvesting phase
After planting, you need to nurture your crop so you can get the maximum economic value from them. The first thing to take note is mulching, you need to do that because they help keep weed away and keep the soil moist.
Also important is watering. This should be done once a week until the crop matures. You should also apply manure or inorganic fertilizer when necessary.
While you do the above, guard against pest and diseases as they can dip the whole of your investment in vain.
It takes about 3 months for watermelon to be ready for harvest. When the tendrils are dry and you can hear a dull sound when flapping the fruit.
When it is confirmed they are ready for harvest, cut the stems close to the fruit with a sharp knife.
Watermelon are perishable goods so note that once harvested, they can only last for a few days. With this in mind, you should have a buyer close to your farm or where you can access before the goods perish.
Hope this guide helps