Water melon – a winter crop for summer market in india


Water melon is a dry season crop with life period of 75 to 100 days depending on the varieties cultivated . Sowing of seeds commences just after north East monsoon receds and soil temperature register atleast 19 degree celsius . The day time temperature must prevail between 20-27 degree celsius . Extreme temperature as well as lowest chilling temperature are both detrimental to the crop growth and flowering and fruit set .
Soil PH should be between 6.5 to 7.5 with high organic matter content . Soil should not be too wet nor too dry . Excess rainfall during any of the growth stages destroy water melon completely out of field
In Tamilnadu in south India the water melon seeds are sown direct into the soil on broad bed of the width of 1.2 M at the spacing of 1.5 M by 0.6 M row to row and plant to plant spacing in drip irrigation methods .
At this spacing one acre field covers 4444 plants . This needs seeds quantity of 1.5 kgs to 400 grams per acre depnding on the varities / hybrids used
Basal application of 10 MT of Farmyard manure or 5 MT of compost per acre before last ploughing is advised besides 140 kgs of Super phosphate and 40 kgs of Muriate of potash . By around 20-25 days after planting 50 kgs of Urea is top dressed per acre of water melon .
The watermelon needs more nitrogen during early growth stage and more pottasium since fruit setting and fruit development . The posttasium nitrate and Calcium Ammonium Nitrate during fruit enlargement
The seeds germinate quickly in about 6 -7 days after sowing and the water melon vine start trailing from 3rd week . When the vine is about 1.0 to 1.5 meter we need to pinch the tip of the vines so as to encourage branching . The vines produce male flowers first that looks small and subsequently it produce female flowers that are bigger in size than male flowers . Thus 1-2 female flowers are allowed per vine . After leaving 1-2 well developing fruits near the base of the stem , all other poorly developed , shrivelled and malformed fruits are removed or better the terminal part of the vines are removed 10-15 cms away from the last fruit in the vine. This will divert all the nutrients and water directly to the fruits that grow faster and bigger .
If the watermelon does not produce flowers or produce few flowers , then it is due to water scarcity, or unusual climate or soil infertility or nutrients deficiency . In order to induce more female flowers hormone called Etheral @ 2.5 ml in 10 litre water is sprayed starting from 15 th days after planting @ weekly interval for 4 times .
Insect plays a major role in pollination . In the morning hours bees activity will be more by around 9 A.M .Because in the early morning due to chill temperature bees activity will be less and as temeprature raise the bees activity will raise and you can hear more buzzing of the bees around flowers in  water melon between 9- 10 AM…The female flowers open in the early morning and highly receptive for pollination during this hours when bees activity is more . In the evening the fertilized female flowers close . Atleast 8-20 bee visit per female flowers are required for effective pollination and fruit set . Cloudy weather , too wet or chill temeprature or high wind speed disturb the bees  and consequently result in poor fruit set
So by effective cultural practices  4444 water melon plants @ average of 2 numbers of fruits per plant will produce 8888 fruits . At an average individual fruit weight of 3 kgs an acre of water melon will yield about 26664 . But due to variation in the innate soil fertility across the cultivation land  and other invisible risk factor we can very well realise 75% of this yield projection ie, 20,000 kgs
@ the selling price of  Rs. 5 per kg an acre of watermelon can produce an income of Rs.1,00,000 in about 3.5 months time .
Note : Seed treatment in panchagavya before sowing promote early germination and vigor of the water melon plants
After panchagavya treatment that last for 12 hours , seeds are treated with Imidachlorpid or other suitable insecticide . Because immediately after emergence and during first and second true leaf stage , minute sucking pest attack the young plants that later cause mortality or weak plants and plant desnity or plant population decrease
Humic acid and panchagavya application through drip irrigation or foliar spray boost the yeild and taste of the melon .


Hi Ramu,
  Will it possible to do in Chemical Free( Pijamirtham seed treatment, Jeevamirtham reguler intervel, butter milk (flowring) Farming Method ? if it so, which is the best suitable seed . please let me know.
D. Karthi


Great Mr.Karthi
Yes .You can grow without applying any chemical fertilizers . Fertilizer is a human invention where as plants are nature’s invention .
Provided your soil is fertile and has unlimited carrying capacity to support cultivation of any crops without impairing plant physiological process , certainly you need not apply any kind of fertilizers whether natural or synthetic .
If your soil is not enough fertile , and you undertake cultivation using what ever the organic preparation that you mentioned here will not produce desired result
However you can undertake organic cultivation after enriching your soil with enough organic matter through application of well decomposed farmyard manure or poultry manure ( Very good soil amendments for water melon cultivation ) or compost or press mud ( sugar factory waste ) . This organic matter can be enriched with bio fertilizers , bio pesticides , concentrated oil cakes like pressed groundnut oil cake or neem oil cake and then you can use beejamirtha, panchagavya or jeevamirtham and butter milk as additional supplement …
But strictly you need to use seeds of OP varieties in lieu of hybrid
You can harvest reasonable yield …
Note: Watermelon respond well to humic acid and sea weed extract …It is recommended as foliar spray …


  Thanks for prompt updates. it will helpful for us. Also, do you have any genuine sea weed extract at Tamil Nadu.  I came to know that most of the sea weed extracts mixed with some other particles in bio fertilizers company. meanwhile, try to get raw in Chennai area but not getting so easy. if you have any contacts? please let  me know.

D. Karthi


yes …90% adulterated products are calling the market now …but I don’t have any connection whatsoever with any seller .pl enquire with your known source


  Thank you very much. I will try this year in small portion with using sustainable model.

D. Karthi


[member=1162]RAMU[/member] [member=3826]sri2012[/member] [member=3749]bpypathala[/member] [member=6708]techravi[/member] [member=7660]mail2sarathi[/member]
[member=2048]g.p.rao[/member] and all other friends,

Dear forum friends,

My watermelon is now 16 days old in 2.5 acres. To my surprise I learnt that the variety I planted turned out to be yellow flesh watermelon. Now I am worried about marketing as this variety has less demand in Karnataka. Please help me with ways I can market the yellow flesh watermelon which is hopefully due for harvest around March 10th 2017 for better price.

Also please share any special technical aspects/special care to be taken for this variety as compared to normal icebox variety(say Kiran etc).

Thanks & Regards
Guru Prasad
+91 9620944466


Dear Sri Guruprasad,

Yellow fleshed variety ie; outer skin yellow colour, and inside red, got very good demand in kerala, and west coast areas. it is going for even a premium price ( rs 3/- to rs4/- per kilo, more than regular water melons). I think presently going for rs 16/- to rs 18/- per kilo. Known you seeds co Vishala is one of this variety. Known you seed co is having their office in Tumkuru, Karnataka. please inform us , Which variety you have sown.

There are another varieties, outer colour is green and inside is yellow/yellowish orange, same in Known you seed co, called Devayani , green out side and inside Orange yellow, and Anmol variety , which is outer green and inside yellow. Up to my knowledge, these varieties having only limited markets, mainly in star hotels and special tasty mixes only.

with best wishes,    g.p.rao,    farmer


Dear Rao sir,

Thanks for the inputs.

The variety that I have grown will have dark green outer skin and yellow flesh inside. It is Knownyou company’s ANMOL variety. May God bless me with marketing :-).
Please give hints as to from where I can start collecting the leads/modes/places to market.



Dear Sri Guruprasad,

I can only advise you, to contact Sri Venugopal, executive of M/S Known You Seed Co , Taiwan, office at Tumukuru, Karnataka. His contact phone number is 9663371742 and he will be available on request, in his  office situated in Tumukuru. He will guide you for market of your produce, on your request.

with best wishes,          g.p.rao,      farmer


Dear Rao sir,

Thanks a lot for sharing the contact info of M/S Knownyou, TUmkur.

I spoke to them and they said they will be able to market my produce but only in installments of around 3 tons/week as the demand is quite low for this variety. They also suggested to sow the seeds of this variety (Knownyou-Anmol)in plots of 1/4 acre with a gap of at least one week so that continuous yield with small tonnage can be obtained to help better marketing. But with this approach, I see a challenge while administering water soluble fertilizers, sprays etc.

One of my friends also suggested to explore Mumbai-Vashi market in case my yield exceeds the demand in local market in Karnataka.
Will keep updating this section with my findings. Thanks.



Project Watermelon - NS 295 planted on  13 th January 2017 in over 1.75 Acres of Land with estimated yield of 31 MT per acre ( Minimum 25 MT per acre ) and crop geometry and cultivation practices were designed accordingly
Objective – To Harvest 30 ,000 kgs of water melon in one acre land
One acre is 4000 square meter . Drip lateral is spaced at 2.1 M .So total running meter per acre is 4000/ 2.1 Meter = 1904 Meter
Dripper ( Emitter)  is spaced at 0.5 M .So the total number of emitter along 1904 running meter is 3808 emitters
But 20 % of land will be occupied by bunds , border area .So 80% of  3808 emitters are 3046 operative emitters
Each emiiters will be covered with 3 water melon seeds .So total number of watermelon seeds required per acre will be 9138 seeds . Out of this we take 70% germination rate .So total viable watermelon plants @ 80% germination is 6396 plants
Each plant bears 2.25 number of fruits on an average rate and for 6396 plants , total number of fruits expected is 14392 number of fruits
@ single average fruit weight of 3 kgs , 14392 fruits will produce total of 43173 kgs per acre . Out of this 43173 fruits 70% will be marketable quality . This will be 30221 kgs of marketable fruits per acre
30221 kgs of fruits @ Rs.5.0 selling price will fetch  Rs.1,50,000 ( Rs.1,51,105 per acre )

Cultivation methods
1.Basal application – Mix 5 MT of farmyard manure with 100 kgs of super phosphate, 25 kgs of Muriate of potash , 25 kgs of Urea , 100 kgs of Gypsum …Mix well and apply this mixture in band application along the drip lateral pipe on planting bed .
2.Mix 100 kgs of powdered farmyard manure with 2 kgs each of Azospirillum and Phosphobacteria and 1 kgs of pseudomonas florescens , 50 kgs of Neem cake , 5 kgs of VAM fungi and keep it ready for application at the site where seeds are proposed to be sown
3. Seed treatment – Take 2 lit of water in a container and mix 200 ml of panchagavya in 2 lit water . Place the watermelon seeds in this panchagavya solution for half an hour or one hour in the evening hours and collect the well soaked seeds in a cotton bag , tie it loosely and hang it overhead for draining excess moisture . In the morning , untie the cotton bag and treat the seeds with Imidachloprid insecticide and keep it ready for sowing …
4. Run the drippers for 8-12 hours overnight to wet the soil . The following morning , spray pendimethalin weedicide over the planting bed that is already wet … After spraying pendimethalin weedicide , sow three seeds around each emitter in such a way that two seeds are sown on one side of the dripper ( A side ) and third seed on other side of dripper ( B side ) and now in the next emitter , sow one seed on A side of emitter and two seeds on B side of dripper and sowing is continued by alternating A side sowing with B side sowing method along the entire drip lateral pipe .
5.Shallow hand weeding is done on 20 th day after sowing and mound the earth around each plant ( soil is raised around the root of each watermelon plant )
6. Hormone spray to induce more female flowers – Etheral  @ 2.5 ml in 10 lit water is dissolved and sprayed on 15, 22,29, and 36 days after planting to induce more female flowers . The spray can be started when the plant are two leaves stage .
7. Humic acid @ 3 % ( 3 ml in 1 lit water ) and sea weed extract @ 3% is sprayed on 40 th and 50 th day after planting . Humic acid and Panchagavya can be also applied through drip irrigation atleast twice when watermelon is at cricket ball size .

Fertigation schedule
19-19-19 NPK – 20 kgs
13-0-45 NPK – 80 kgs
12-61-0 NOK – 10 kgs
Urea – 140 kgs
Establishment state
14 days from sowing – Fertigation starts at 2 leaf stage
19-19-19 +MN- 10 kgs
13-0-45 – 4 kgs
Urea – 12 kgs
Frequency of application - 2 or 3 days interval
Vegetative stage 30 days duration
12-61-0 – 5 kgs
13-0-45 – 25 kgs
Urea – 44 kgs
Application frequency -2 days interval
Flower initiation to first picking 30 days duration
12-61-0 – 5 kgs
13-0-45 – 17 kgs
Urea – 45 kgs
Application frequency -3 days interval
Harvesting stage 45 days duration
19-19-19+MN – 10 kgs
13-0-45 – 34 kgs
Urea – 39 kgs
Application frequency -3 days interval


Fertigation and pesticide spray schedule as attached and on 17 th  Tuesday we observed emergence of water melon sprout


on 10 th day 85 % germination was recorded and protective spray for pest and disease was given on 10 th day following recent sudden rainfall and this water melon field is awaiting hormonal ( flowering hormone )  spray to be started in next 5 days


Watermelon NS295 - inspected and all the plants were  found healthy and Etherel @ 250 PPM sprayed @ 2 leaf stage .


After spraying Etheral yesterday we did first  fertigation today after 24 hours interval between etherel spray and fertigation


After spray rain poured at farm and the melon caterpillar ( cut worms ) surfaced out feeding  on leaves
So happened to spray Dimethoate @ 2ml per lit water …


Dear Ramu Sir,

Kindly provide details of cost of cultivation per acre.

We are planning to go with organic farming method for Water melon cultivation in our farm. Do you have any recommendation/schedule for applying organic materials for Water melon cultivation ?

Your help is much appreciated.

Thanks & Regards


Dear gowtham
do you want to know the cost of cultivation for organic farming or conventional farming ?
General farming COC per acre
land preparation - Rs.2000
seeds - 2000
seed treatment chemicals - 100
planting cost -  750
weedicide and weeding - 1200
manure and fertilizers - 10000
Hormone - 500
plant protection chemicals - 750
spraying cost -  500
Harvest and transport - 4500
Total cost of cultivation per acre is Rs.22, 300


In case of organic farming
Land preparation cost - 2000
Manure - 10000
seed cost - 2000
bio fertilizers - 1000
Bio pesticide - 1000
Liquid organic nutrients - 600
concentrated oil cake - 700
organic growth hormone - 800
organic foliar spray - 700
planting cost - 750
manual weeding - 1500
application cost -1000
Organic pest control - 500
Harvest and transport - 4500
Total cost -Rs.27050 per acre