How to Grow Watermelon from Farmers in Poso
Watermelon cultivation can be a lucrative source of income. According to the publication in the Journal of Agribest Vol. 2 No. 1, March 2018, watermelon has a production contribution of 576,178 tons and ranks 10th out of 26 types of fruit commodities in Indonesia.
Watermelon is a tropical plant. Referring to the book "Seedless Watermelon" published by Dharma Utama Publishing, the watermelon plant originated in Central Africa, then spread to India and China, to Indonesia.
In its growth, watermelon requires a lot of sunlight and high temperature air around 25-30 degrees Celsius. Watermelon plants are suitable for areas with rainfall of 40 to 50 mm per month.
Referring to the article by Enny Maryani S., S.P. According to the website of the Ministry of Agriculture, watermelon is suitable for planting in areas or places with temperatures around 25 degrees Celsius during the day.
So, for those of you who want to grow watermelons, soil conditions need to be considered. Soil for growing watermelons is suitable in a pH range of 6 to 6.7. If the soil conditions do not meet the criteria, then a liming process is needed to the appropriate soil pH.
Planting watermelons need to pay attention to many things. Reported from the publication of the Ministry of Agriculture (cybex.pertanian.go.id), here's how to grow watermelon.
Planting watermelons begins with clearing and plowing the soil. Then proceed with the provision of agricultural lime as much as 1.5 tons / ha for soil pH below 6.
Mix the soil with fermented manure as much as 1.5 tons/ha and NPK fertilizer at a ratio of 15:15:15 as much as 100 kg/ha.
Then stirred so that the fertilizer that has been given is mixed with the soil.
Making beds is done by hoeing the soil and then raising the soil so that the surface of the beds becomes higher. The beds for planting watermelons are made as wide as five meters, the distance between the beds is 60 cm and the height of the beds is 40-60 cm.
The next step, the soil in the middle of the bed is divided into two parts and then lifted to the edge of the bed so that the two edges of the bed will form a soil with a width of one meter.
So that in one bed with a width of five meters there are two planting beds on the right and left one meter wide. The two planting beds are tilted towards the middle. At the midpoint, where the two beds meet, a 20 cm wide water channel with a depth of 10 cm is made.
Prepare plastic mulch by making holes with a diameter of 10 cm at the same distance as the planting distance. Plastic mulch is covered on top of the bed. The edges of the mulch are pegged with bamboo slats or wire.
Nursery preparation for planting watermelons requires a seedbed to protect the young seedlings. Provide seedling media with a composition of 10 liters of manure, 20 liters of soil, and 150 grams of fine NPK fertilizer. Mix the media and then put it in the seedling.
After providing the seedling media, follow the steps to prepare watermelon seeds as follows.
The seedling medium is watered sufficiently. Selected seeds that have appeared will be immediately sown in polybags measuring 1-1.5 cm. Nursery bags are placed in rows so that they are exposed to full sun. Give transparent plastic with one end / edge open.
Planting holes were made one week before planting with a depth of 8-10 cm and a distance of 20-30 cm from the edge of the bed. The distance between the watermelon planting holes is about 90-100 cm.
Seedlings that have grown to four true leaves are ready to be transferred to the field. One planting hole for one seed. Planting watermelons should be done in the morning before 10:00 WIB or in the afternoon after 15:00 WIB to avoid plants experiencing high stress due to the scorching sun.
Fertilizer for watermelon plants is a type of NPK with a ratio of 15:15:15 and a dose of two to three grams per plant stem. Fertilizer is watered once a week.
When the plant has entered the generative phase, KCl fertilizer can be given at a dose of two to three grams per watermelon plant stem.
In the maintenance of watermelon plants, it is necessary to pay attention to important things. Based on the book "Technical Instructions for Watermelon Cultivation" published by the Tropical Fruit Crops Research Institute, the following is how to maintain watermelon plants.
Watermelon plant embroidery is carried out no more than 10 days from the first stage of planting. This is to ensure uniform plant growth.
Seedlings that are attacked by stem fall (rot) disease need to be destroyed then the surface of the soil is removed and replaced with new soil and then planted with embroidered seeds.
Watermelon plant embroidery is done no later than 3 days after planting (DAT) until the plant is 10 days old. Watermelon plants that are too old if they continue to be embroidered will result in non-uniform growth.
This will affect the maintenance of watermelon plants and control of pests and diseases when they are mature.
If the watermelon plant has too many branches and leaves, it will inhibit generative growth. In addition, if the environmental conditions are humid, the plants will be susceptible to disease or low production (small fruit).
Branches that are maintained only three to four main branches per plant so that the watermelon fruit size becomes large. Pruning the growing point is done seven to ten days after planting using a sterile knife or scissors.
The former watermelon stalk pruning is sprayed with a fungicide. If the branch reaches a height of 20 cm, then three healthy and sturdy branches are left to be maintained as the main branch if you want to maintain more than one fruit per plant.
Artificial pollination is usually carried out from the fourth week of the second month or 21 days after planting until the third week of the month or 28 days after planting. The advantage of artificial pollination is that the fruit produced is perfect and the watermelon plant population can be regulated
The female flowers are selected starting from the 13th or 14th leaf internodes to get satisfactory results. One pollinator male flower is only pollinated on one female flower.
Three to five days after pollination, the success of the pollination can be known. The hallmark of successful pollination is that the pollinated flowers turn upside down and face down so that the ovules develop. The number of fruits that are maintained depends on the needs and conditions of the plant.
Provision of litter/straw for fruit mats serves to suppress weed growth. Fruit that is not given a base results in an abnormal shape and is susceptible to disease.
In the rainy season, fruit mats are replaced with bamboo slats. Because wet hay can lead to the proliferation of plant diseases.
Watermelon plants need a lot of water, especially in the vegetative phase. Irrigation in the generative phase (appearing flowers) needs to be reduced. When the plant begins to bear fruit, watering is added and reduced during the fruit ripening phase.
Weeding is done carefully so as not to touch the roots of the watermelon plants.
Additional fertilizers given to watermelon plants at the age of 25 days after planting were foliar fertilizers and flush fertilizers with high nitrogen content. The foliar fertilizer used is a multimicro type with a dose of 2 cc/liter and a mixture of ZA + NPK (15:15:15).
The fertilizer is diluted in a 1:1 ratio, which is 5 grams per liter of water. The generative phase and fertilization by giving 10 grams of NPK per liter were thawed and watered as much as 250 ml per plant hole.
In the enlargement phase and the increase in fruit sugar content (45-55 days after planting) additional KNO3 fertilizer in the amount of 10-15 grams per liter was thawed. Flush 250 ml of fertilizer per plant hole.
Watermelon fruit turning is done twice a week. The color of the fruit skin that is never turned will turn yellowish white because it is not exposed to sunlight.
There are several factors that affect the harvest age of watermelons. Referring to the book "Technical Instructions for Watermelon Cultivation", the harvest age of watermelons varies from 65 to 85 days after planting, depending on genetic factors, climate, and cultivation practices.
Watermelon planting at an altitude of 700-900 meters above sea level has a longer harvest life, which is about 90 to 100 days after planting. The characteristics of watermelons that are ready to harvest are:
The right time to harvest is in the morning, because the process of accumulating nutrients occurs at night. The fruit is harvested by cutting the stalk using a knife at a distance of seven centimeters from the fruit.
Watermelon harvest is carried out in stages by prioritizing plants that are ready to harvest first. Harvested fruit is collected in baskets with care to prevent physical fruit defects.
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