Water melon – a winter crop for summer market in india


Hi Sir,

Which type of seeds are good for watermelon cultivation and where to buy?
Is it mandatory to have mulching for watermelon ?
What about the selling the watermelons ?

Please provide your inputs, it would be very helpful for me.



Hi Ravi
There are hundreds of watermelon varieties seed  sold in the market and you can buy from nearby seeds seller …They sell seeds close around the sowing season . If you cultivate watermelon yourself alone , you may happen to sell it to nearby market bcoz distant market will eat your profit through transport hire charge . If watermelon is cultivated in cluster by more number of farmers , then either buyer agent will come to take your produce in the field or experienced watermelon farmers will bargain better price with any organized buyers .When cultivated in clusters by many farmers , any particular variety of watermelon is grown by all the farmers for a single market .

For example in Kanchipuram district of Tamilnadu , watermelon farmers are cultivating watermelon ( yellow flesh ) for mumbai market …mainly for use in star hotels…Some other water melon clusters are producing for Delhi, Jaipur , culcutta market

For example , eventhough chennai is one of established markets for vegetables and fruits , watermelon is grown and transported to distant markets like delhi, jaipur, mumbai …The reason is specific watermelon variety is cultivated throughout the year for special market that buy the produce for premium price that in turn makes watermelon cultivation highly profitable …

Isolated cultivation of watermelon sometimes may bring profit when market arrival is less and market demand is more .During the glut in market , watermelon sell at throw away price


Hi Ramu,

Thanks for the valuable inputs.

I would like to ask you to know, whether Mulching is mandatory or optional for watermelon cultivation? 

I am very much confused about mulching,should use or not.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of mulching.

Thanks in advance.



Dear Ramu sir,

Today  some of the watermelon plants died with green leaves. Upon examining, we found the that roots had holes/tunnels. We did not find any pest inside the hole.
Please suggest the control.

Thanks & regards


Mulching sheet required / not required

Mr.Ravi ! use of mulching sheets depends on the variety of watermelon used , target market, selling price

Suppose you grow watermelon and harvest 8-10 MT / acre and sell it @ Rs.4 / kg , your gross income will be between Rs.32,000 - Rs.40,000

When you use mulching sheet , it will add extra 5000 rs to your cost of cultivation
If your cost of cultivation is Rs.22,000 , the  extra Rs.5000 for mulching sheet will add upto Rs.27,000 per acre and your net income will be between Rs. 5,000 to 13,000

To earn Rs.5,000 to 13,000 you need not use mulching sheet …You can harvest the same yield without using mulching sheet . In this case your net income will be more by Rs.5000 ( meant for mulching sheet) …ie,Rs.  10,000 - 18,000 per acre

To forego the cost on mulching sheet , you need to take up planting in right season , and choose appropriate method of manuring - pocket manuring is the best method

You can use mulching sheet in the following circumstances

1.You are growing premium watermelon variety for export market or domestic markets like star hotels
2.Your watermelon brings you premium price and your anticipated gross income exceeds Rs.1.0 lac per acre
3.You dont have labour force to attend to weeding
4.You are growing watermelon out of season in summer

Advantage of using mulching sheet are

1.It controls weeds …so cost on manual labor for weeding is saved
2.When water soluble fertilizers are administered through drip irrigation , the plant nutrients that are available in a readily usable ironic form get discharged along with irrigation water . When this nutrient water reaches soil , the part of plant nutrients particularly nitrogen that are in nitrate and ammonical form would get lost into atmosphere .When we use mulching sheet this type of nutrient loss is prevented and mulching sheet enhance nutrient use efficiency . when nutrient use efficiency is more , plant growth and yield is also increased  and finally fruit quality is improved …

Disadvantage of mulching sheet

  1. High cost of mulching sheet
  2. Non availability of material to the farmer’s specification
    3.Laying of mulching sheet in the field is difficult - need extra labour or tractor driven machine is needed
    4.To optimize the cost of mulching sheet , you need to use the same mulching sheet intact  for subsequent crop after the harvest of watermelon …say you can grow bhendi, or tomato, or brinjal  in the same rows where watermelon were planted previously
  3. You can not locate the repair or damage of the drip lateral pipe that is laid inside mulching sheet . If some of the emitters are not discharging water , we can not locate that problem easily
  4. Removal and disposal of mulching sheet from the field after the use …

so you can decide according to your field condition



Below are the kind of pest and disease damaging watermelon …Based on the description given by you about the symptom , it is only Red pumkin beetle , the grubs ( larvae ) of which spend most of its life inside the soil feedings on roots and stems causing rotting and death of watermelon plants …

  1. Insect and mite pests
    1.1 Red pumpkin beetle: Raphidopalpa foveicollis Lucas (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)
    1.2 Fruit fly: Bactrocera cucurbitae Coquillett (Diptera: Tephritidae)
    1.3 Thrips: Thrips tabaci Linderman (Thysanoptera: Thripidae)
    1.4 Whitefly: Bemisia tabaci Gennadius (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae)
    1.5 Aphid: Aphis gossypii Glover (Hemiptera: Aphididae)
    1.6 Leaf eating caterpillar: Diaphania indica Saunders (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)
    1.7 Serpentine leaf miner: Liriomyza trifolii Burgess (Diptera: Agromyzidae)
    1.8 Red spider mite:Tetranychus urticae Koch (Acarina: Tetranychidae)
  2. Diseases
    2.1 Downy mildew: Pseudoperonospora cubensis Berkeley & Curtis
    2.2 Powdery mildew: Erysiphe cichoracearum DC, Sphaerotheca fuliginea
    2.3 Anthracnose: Colletotrichum orbiculare
    2.4 Alternaria leaf spot: Alternaria cucumerina
    2.5 Fusarium wilt: Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. niveum
    2.6 Bud necrosis diseases: Tomato spotted wilt virus (Tospo virus)
    2.7 Cucumber mosaic disease: Cucumber mosaic virus
  3. Nematode
    3.1 Root - knot nematode: Meloidogyne sp.


20 th days the watermelon has attained enough growth to tip over in about a week time …This receives etheral spray at weekly interval to prepare the plant for internal hormonal regulation for early and profuse flowering


22nd day today the watermelon plant started tipping over …Awaiting second round of etheral spray and one round of panchagavya and one round of all 19 wsf spray done earlier …Weeding is to be done in a day or two …plants are kept pest and disease free …Moving close to targeted yield …

90 % crop stand has been recorded …


Dear Ramu sir,

My observations in my watermelon crop of 42 days:

  1. Due to overdose of ethrel by mistake, I noticed profuse branching almost one sub-vine per leaf node on main vine. What should I do i.e., should I prune the sub-vines or pinch the tip of main vine. Profuse cluster of leaves started emerging at the base of main vine.
  2. Noticed male flowers 5 % and 1 % female flowers.
  3. Plants die without any visible symptom on the leaves (Have sprayed fungicide). Picture attached.
  4. Noticed leaf curling and burning virus like symptoms (20%)

Please advise the forward.

Thanks & Regards


Dear Mr.guru … following is the field condition noticed in your pix

Root symptoms begin as dark brown to black lesions that contrast sharply to otherwise healthy white portions of roots. Black root rot lesions often begin in the middles of roots and expand in both directions. As the disease progresses,larger portions of roots are affected until the entire root system
appears black and decayed plants may collapse, while dieback is often observed on woody plants. Severely infected plants eventually die. Above-ground foliar symptoms are the result of root decay as a result, the reduced root system is unable to take up sufficient water and nutrients to support foliage and stem
Reason - excessive soil wetness , high fertilizers dose in the early growth stage or excessive nitrogenous ferilizers cause root rot disease

Remedy : Azoxystrobin+Chlorothalonil  (0.5ml/litre+2g/litre of water ) repeat at weekly  interval or flusilazole ( Nustar ) @ 2ml in 10 lit water at  10 days interval
See below 23 days old watermelon …when plants are 2 weeks old we received sudden rain . so we as precautionary measure sprayed ridomil gold first  and mancozen one week later 
Now watermelon is growing healthy …

Regarding no of vines per plant , do keep two to three vines per plant and allow 1-2 fruits per vine… When thinning extra vines, take care that those vines that are close to main stem near the base are allowed and those tender vines near growing point of main stem be removed …


Thank you for the valuable advise sir. Will try and update you the outcome.

Thanks & Regards


Due to non availability of labor , happened to use power weeder on 25 th day to deweed the watermelon field .


Dear Mr.Ramu,
very nice to see the power weeder pictures really you are updating the forum members in a very nice way. I have 4 acres of land in sangareddy district Telangana. this time i decided to go for the water melon crop for 2 & 1/2 acres , the land  is plugged & after plugging we put vermicompost super phosphate, muriate of potash ( potassium chloride ) urea & agriculture gypsum. after two days we have planed for rotter to make land leveled and to prepare the raised beds. one thing is that i am not going to use drip irrigation because I don’t have that. going for conventional method of irrigation by channels. i have to purchase the seeds. i am planning to buy sugar Queen or sugar Baby. hope fully i will upload the photos in next few days. hope your  crop will be full of awesome & your updating will be continued. 

Best Regards,



Dear Mr.Azhar
Thank you for your compliments . sure I will update on latest development happening in watermelon field . Telangana state is really bountiful in all the natural resources .so you can do well in Agriculture


After weeding the watermelon plants are picking up speed . Lateral drip pipes were shifted out of bed to attend on weeding operation with ease . On 28 th days after sowing watermelon crops looks healthy and spreading over the sides


Dear Mr. Ramu,
Thanks for above post & wishes. I wants to explore that your post on 31st Jan regarding Insect, mite & Diseases with the required treatment. Instead if all these medicines my view is we can use the spray of Neem oil with water or kerosene oil with a regular interval of 10-15 days in the early morning can work.As water create fungus in the leafs . This will avoid lot of harmful chemical spray in the field. Need your valuable comments & shear experience view.

Best Regards,

Azhar 2345


Dear Mr.Azhar

I understand your concern about pest control using synthetic chemicals that are poisonous .

Generally watermelon grows well in warm climate meaning less atmospheric humidity . It is the reason why the watermelon  succumb to high humidity and heavy rainfall and finally die .

So spraying is recommended in the morning hours . so the rising sun will not allow micro climate build up around foliage

Excess humidity is the reason for development of fungal and bacterial disease in watermelon . If you undertake spraying in the evening hours around 4-5 PM when the sun is low in west , then the spraying will definitely build up humidity and ensuing night will aggravate the situation …

Further when the watermelon starts producing flowers , the bees would make visit to flowers that last from 9-11 AM  . At this time you can not do spray in the morning hours as it will kill bees and hinders pollination . Since watermelon is a multi seeded fruits , it needs around 15-20 visit of bees to produce well developed fruits or else it produces mishappen fruits
Considering this situation , spray is undertaken in the evening hours necessarily with fungicide mixed in the spray fluid along with insecticide . Only contact fungicide is used and systemic fungicide is avoided unless the situation warrants use of it

First  we should understand the difference between mode of action of synthetic chemicals and bio or organic principles

Invariably all the synthetic insecticides are target based mode of action . It impairs and damage specific organ and function in the insect pest and finally kill it

Where as organic pesticide particularly plant based product called need oil and neem seed cake extract are not working on  target based action

The neem oil act as antifeedent , repellent and anti hatching and anti moulting agent …when you spray neem oil over the leaves it falls on the insect egg laid over the surface of leaves . Such eggs will not hatch and develop into harmful pest  and if the eggs hatch and develop into larvae , it goes through different growth stages through moulting before becoming adult insect . This stages in larval growth is called First instar larva , 2nd instar larva and 3rd instar larva and fourth instar larva . so when the neem oil falls on any of the larva , it make it difficult for insect to moult and develop into next stage . This it breaks insect life cycle .

One adverse effect is when you spray neem oil frequently it fills and blocks leaves pore and impact photosynthesis and transpiration and spray of neem oil during flowering may cause abortion of female flowers that will not develop into fruits …So Neem oil  spray can be limited to 2-3 times only that too in the vegetative stage till  40-45 days after seed sowing .

Kerosine is another hydrocarbon that causes health hazards in human being . When you spray kerosine frequently it will accumulate inside the developing fruits and finally reach vital organ in your body like lungs, stomach , throats etc …Also kerosine spray will damage the leaves and arrest plant physiological activities …

You can use other organic and bio pesticide if you are not willing to use chemical pesticides with some compromise on yield of watermelon …
And choose some organic products that function both as pesticide/ fungicide and growth regulators …

Pseudomonas spray will not only control disease and it also enhance growth . When sprayed it goes through leaf pores and reaches internal system and functions very effectively

And you can use BT bio pesticide that kills lepidopteran pest ( moth that produce larvae that bore into fruits and feed on  leaves )

There are lot of other organic and bio pesticide and fungicide that can be used but you need to compromise in the yield . Because in organic farming , 25-30 % damage will be noticed inspite of all your best efforts .

The major reason is almost all the farmers switched over to hybrid seeds that are highly prone to pest and disease . The pest and disease start right  when first true leaf comes out of soil and see this world …Poor watermelon with lot of enemies to face


Dear Mr. Ramu,
Thanks for above post. Really there is lot of consideration we have to follow in the field of agriculture particularly vegetables & fruits. I agree not to use the kerosene oil at all. I wish to use  organic and bio pesticide instead of synthetic chemicals. now i am here attaching the photos one after cultivator spreed the fertilizer & fertilizer mix before placing.

Best Regards,

Azhar 2345


Dear Mr.Azhar
Fertilizer mixture is added to soil before last ploughing . The reason is phosphorus nutrient in phosphatic fertilizers does not move in soil . So the phosphatic fertilizer like super phosphate is broadcast over the soil and final ploughing is done next and planting is done later .
Another reason is Superphosphate contains besides phosphorus , calcium and sulphur . This helps in germination of seeds .
Next postassium is less mobile in soil . so it is also applied in soil before planting .
Since these two nutrients are added to soil and seeds sown subsequently , the developing roots can absorb phosphorus and potassium just nearby and the P and K placed beyond zone of absorption will remain precipitated and unavailable to plants .
Where as Nitrogen is highly mobile and lost either through leaching or volatilization …
So the above pixels  explain fertilizers mix to be used as basal soil application 


Dear Mr. Ramu,

You are perfect Ex-plainer, they way you are explaining i hope every farmer will understood the Technics of farming. we are doing in the same way. this mixture application is used as basal dose for soil. we purchased the seeds. we purchased the seed of Kalash Amruta F1 water melon. the producer of seed is Hyderabad based. and the demand of this water melon is good in Hyderabad city. the expected rate of water melon is 20-25 rupees per Kg. the fruit is cylindrical shape with the maximum weight 2.5-3.5 kgs. the seed rate per acre is 200-250 grams. i will upload the picture purchased packet soon for support to other farmers. the spacing is same 6 feet x 3 feet in a zig- zag direction along with irrigation trench. the seeds are already treated not required to treat again with Imidachloprid insecticide…

Best Regards,