Dear forum friends,
My icebox variety (Pahuja-Suman 235)watermelon crop which is one month old has started flowering since one week. I can see quite some female flowers on 40% of plants.
As I am a bookish weekend farmer, read some literatures and came to know that honeybees are very important for pollination of female flowers and that each female flower must be visited atleast 15 times for it to get fertile and produce healthy fruit which otherwise result in malshaped fruits or early fruit drop etc.
I see rarely any honeybees in my farm and am little concerned. Please advise me if there is any other alternative to pollinate female flowers other than hand pollination which I assume is quite laborious.
For next crop I will try to add bee hive in the farm. Guide me where I can get a hive in Karnataka and how to manage it.
I have stopped all pesticide sprays from last 10 days to welcome honeybees. On contrary I have witnessed symptoms similar to bacterial wilt offlate in very few plants. What action should I take in this regard?
Also please advise me on how many fruits can I have on each plant. I can see 3 to 4 vines on each plant on an average.
Please share reliable buyers list and contact numbers from across states or any other effective marketing channel which can fetch better profits.
How should the agreement with buyers be made and what are the points which I need to be careful at while making sale terms?
Can anyone please share tabulated fertilizer schedule which includes Major, secondary & micro nutrient programme weekwise/daywise + pest/disease control measures? This info would be of great help to many freshers like me.
To get comparatively promising quality yield, I came across couple of improvised techniques on internet viz., use of Row covers & Plastic sheet covering the entire row till flowering (on top of poly mulch sheet) to minimize pest/disease problems for at least 20-25 days. I would request the expert advise in this regard about the probable costs involved, practicality & scientific way of using/reusing these vis-a-vis their benefits. Kindly throw some light.
Has anyone got near to promising results with non-chemical pest/disease control? If yes, please share pest/disease wise control measures spreading through out the crop cycle.
I know I am asking for a little too much but these are the queries that are haunting me and hope many others like me.
Your advise would be very much helpful in this hour of confusion.
Thanks & Best regards