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
Constricted growth at the stem end of the fruit.
โ€ขPoor pollination
โ€ขMoisture stress
โ€ขLow Temperature

โ€ขAvoid chemical spraying in morning hours
โ€ขProper Irrigation
โ€ขPlace1 -2 bee hives to increase bee activity

2. Blossomโ€“end rot
โ€ขSmall light brown spots at blossom end of immature fruits
โ€ขLater stage spot can enlarge rapidly to form dark water soaked lesion.
โ€ขCalcium deficiency and moisture stress
โ€ขExcessive Nitrogenous fertilizer

READ ALSO:   Why watermelon shed flowers and solution

Control measures
โ€ขApply lime if soil pH is low
โ€ขReduce excess Nitrogenous during fruiting stage
โ€ขCalcium foliar spray at vegetative, flowering and fruit setting
โ€ขUniform and sufficient supply of moisture

3. Fruit cracking
โ€ขCool temperatures during fruit filling stage
โ€ขExcess Nitrogenous low Boron
โ€ขHeavy infrequent watering at fruit maturity stage

Control measures
โ€ขReduce excess N
โ€ขMaintain adequate soil moisture
โ€ขApply boron before fruit setting or foliar spray

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

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