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Growing watermelon for profit seems like the right thing to do. However, you need to equip yourself with the right information and skills in order to be successful in watermelon farming in Kenya.

Due to the growth in population, the acreage of the fertile farmlands in the Kenyan highlands is dwindling due to land subdivisions.

Over 70% of the land in Kenya is arid and semi-arid. This poses a challenge when it comes to growing crops. But this also presents a golden opportunity for growing watermelons.

Watermelon plants thrive in the heat of the drylands. Add some water and you will get huge watermelons within 65 to 90 days after sowing. This also means you can do 2 or 3 seasons on watermelons each year.

In Kenya, watermelon grows well in Machakos, Kajiado, Makueni, Kilifi, Kwale, Mombasa, and Taita Taveta counties of Kenya.

These regions have the hot climates and low altitudes required for growing the best quality watermelons. In these areas, you will find successful watermelon farmers, growing watermelon on land ranging from one acre to hundreds of acres.

Below we highlight common watermelon disorders, symptoms, causes and suggested control strategies.

1. Bottleneck /Misshapen Fruit
Symptom
Constricted growth at the stem end of the fruit.
Causes:
•Poor pollination
•Moisture stress
•Low Temperature

Control
•Avoid chemical spraying in morning hours
•Proper Irrigation
•Place1 -2 bee hives to increase bee activity

2. Blossom–end rot
Symptoms
•Small light brown spots at blossom end of immature fruits
•Later stage spot can enlarge rapidly to form dark water soaked lesion.
Causes:
•Calcium deficiency and moisture stress
•Excessive Nitrogenous fertilizer

READ ALSO:   Watermelon Farming in Kenya and all you need to know

Control measures
•Apply lime if soil pH is low
•Reduce excess Nitrogenous during fruiting stage
•Calcium foliar spray at vegetative, flowering and fruit setting
•Uniform and sufficient supply of moisture

3. Fruit cracking
Causes
•Cool temperatures during fruit filling stage
•Excess Nitrogenous low Boron
•Heavy infrequent watering at fruit maturity stage

Control measures
•Reduce excess N
•Maintain adequate soil moisture
•Apply boron before fruit setting or foliar spray

READ ALSO:   Pixie Orange Farming, Juicy Opportunity For Fruit Farmers In Kenya

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