Watermelon/Muskmelon - Organic Pest and Disease Management

Hi,

I have planted an acre of muskmelon/cantaloupe under plastic mulch and drip irrigation and will be planting some more. I am also going to plant some watermelon shortly. At the moment I have resorted to integrated nutrient management than pure organic/natural management - primarily due to the current nature of fairly denuded soil and that I do not have a proper source of in-house organic materials yet (more about that on a separate topic).

I have applied a considerable amount of poultry manure, got some panchagavya prepared and mixed in irrigation water while also planning to spray it over the plants, and drenched some Trichoderma viride, an antagonistic microbial culture. I have also collected some marigold seeds to spread over the bunds and borders to attract bees and be a trap crop for pests. I am also applying some chemical fertilizers to start with.

I just want to be prepared to apply all organic/natural solutions for the possible pests and diseases and would appreciate ideas from everyone who has the information/experience around this. While  seed companies seem to be recommending daily routine sprays of insecticides and pesticides, I am quite keen to explore and exhaust all protective and curative natural methods for pest and disease management.

A list of some of the common pests and diseases I collected:

Diseases: Leaf spots, Powdery Mildew, Downy Mildew, Fusarium Wilt, Anthracnose, Stem Blight, Watermelon Mosaic Virus
Insects/Nematodes: Aphids, Thrips, White flies, Beetles, Worms, Leafminer, Nematodes

Solutions welcome, thanks.

Chandra,

An alternative for plastic mulch: In my place there is a coir board they sell un processed peat for .65paisa/kg. Why dont you explore this in your place? Spread and sprinkle Jeevamrit or dung slurry.
This work as biomass as well as mulch.

(Same peat treated with urea and posphate will be sold at 6Rs/Kg)

Just a thought on being eco friendly. By the way how do you dispose plastic mulch?

Pest control organically:
recently I purchased 5 CDs(100/-cd) from Shramajeevi Agri Films,Bangalore. There are two organic farming CDs. I am quite convinced with the bio control of pests which is demonstrated on CDs.
The CDs are available in English and Kannada.The qulaity of picturisation is E TV stanadards.
here is sample
youtube.com/watch?v=ON4TWQOOIgw

Thanks Sri.

Coir peat is ruled out in this part of the world, with hardly any coconut trees around. I will write about the hassles of procuring any kind of organic materials from outside separately.

I have been thinking about the disposal of the plastic mulch myself - but I have a few months to determine a good way - will keep the group posted.

Thanks for the video details, I will check them out too. Broadly, what kind of pest/disease management measures are being suggested - organic sprays?

Hi ,

You can also try adding these to your list of preventive measures.

  1. Light traps
  2. Yellow sticky traps
  3. Neem based products for spraying.

Please keep us updated on your progress

-Hari
 

Chandra,
From whatever I have seen and read, Pachagavya also can be used as pesticide. I haven’t used it myself, so cannot vouch for it. :slight_smile:

Marigold seems to be good option. I have seen people using curry leaves plants on the borders as well. These seems to attract pests and in turn act as barriers to the main crops.

-Biju

Hi Hari,
Logistical issues with 1 and 2; I agree on the neem. Thanks.

Hi Biju, yes, going to spray it and see.

Hi Chandra,
Din’t get you.These should be very simple and easy to use.

-Hari

Hi Hari,

Power is so erratic and limited in AP to allow trap lights at night - for example, the 4-5 hours of power supply per day are altered every few days. Secondly, I don’t have a single phase line. Fire based light is a bit risky.

Yellow sticky traps were more for monitoring of insect populations than control? I am not sure they are available here but will check.

Regards,
Chandra

Light trap:

Hang a bulb in the farm. 1feet below bulb set up a bucket filled with  either with kerosine OR dung slurry with any cooking oil.

The bulb musted switched on 7PM to 9PM( if you keep bulbe swithced on full night, there is  a chances of killing friendly insects).

Yellow Board:

Hang a thin sheet metal painted with radium yellow paint. Aplly oils like castor oil. Flying insects get attracted by yellow color and when they sit on it the oil gets sticked to wings and they die on the board. This board has to be cleaned and oild musted by apllied periodically.

Neem Repllent:

Take earthen pots. fill neem cakes and gomutra. ferment it for three days in closed with cloth. it will start stinking like anything. Keep as many such pots in the farm. For neem smell not only insects many other animals dont approach.

Neem and  hing  mix:

If you are doing flood irrigation, fill neem cakes and hing(asofotida) in a small gunny bag and keep it below the entry ppoint of the water.

Yellow sticky trap are available with PCI , I am sure u can contact their Hyderabad branch.
Yellow sticky traps are easy to make it ourself.

pestcontrolindia.com/pheromo … traps.aspx

And for light traps ,try using simple solar lamp which should be very expensive.
Try talking to Ramanjanellu.Below is his facebook link.
facebook.com/ramoo.agripage

[quote="sri2012"]
Chandra,

An alternative for plastic mulch: In my place there is a coir board they sell un processed peat for .65paisa/kg. Why dont you explore this in your place? Spread and sprinkle Jeevamrit or dung slurry.
This work as biomass as well as mulch.

(Same peat treated with urea and posphate will be sold at 6Rs/Kg)

Just a thought on being eco friendly. By the way how do you dispose plastic mulch?

Pest control organically:
recently I purchased 5 CDs(100/-cd) from Shramajeevi Agri Films,Bangalore. There are two organic farming CDs. I am quite convinced with the bio control of pests which is demonstrated on CDs.
The CDs are available in English and Kannada.The qulaity of picturisation is E TV stanadards.
here is sample
youtube.com/watch?v=ON4TWQOOIgw
[/quote]SIR CAN U GIVE THEIR contact no…because the online site  is down

Dear Udai.
You are right. They are chaning their website.

Shramajeevi agri films
Mobile : +91 99805 34320
E_mail : shramajeeviagrifilms@gmail.com

Hi Hari,

I reached out to PCI and they have the lure traps for fruit fly and possibly for cutworms.
Will try to get them. Thanks.

Great!! Please keep us updated on their performance.

See this link,this might be helpful for you.

indiamart.com/karthikelectri … ppers.html

-Hari

Does anyone have ideas for organic control of Cucurbit Stem Borer/Squash Vine Borer?

Dear chandra sir, for stem borer ( for any borer ) mostly they will be either in the under the soil bed and or bore in the stem. Immediately apply Neem cake on the beds,mix in the soil @ 200 kgs per acre in the beds. Also drench the beds with ordinary neem oil ( Azhadirectin content is not required and it will be cheap in market ) , mix 5 to 6 ml in Ltr water and drench on the beds.Borers in any stage will die. If entered in the stems it is little difficult.One way is if bored places or limited inject above said neem oil in to the bored hole and secondly you can spray NEEM OIL 10,000 ppm of EID parry’s, @ 1.5 ml /ltr water on the crop if very much affected, little labour oriented (around Rs 900/- per ltr ) .Stemborers will be eradicted in Organic way.  No cure for mosaic virus.leave it. You may be awre that 10 ml milk per ltr water,weekly once spray can control powdery mildew in organiclly. I want to suggest you chandra sir,pl add 1 ml of NEEM OIL of 10,000 ppm azhadirectin EID parry neem oil while spraying any pesticide as it works very well on all cists(eggs of pest), make it a regular practice through out the crop as it will cost you Rs 180/- per spray and if good friends all put together and order same oil will be supplied for Rs 800/- only.

Thank you G P Rao sir. We have sprayed a combination of neem oil and panchagavya today, and I will continue with a weekly spray. Since I have plastic mulch, soil application is not an option, but I am ensuring the base of the plants are wetted well by the spray.

I also have a considerable infestation of fruit flies - I am going to set up some traps soon.

Dear sri chandra sir,  You know very well that organic treats will take considerable time for action but erodicates the problem from its roots. As asked by you for control of Thrips, Termites, White grubs, Fruit and stem borers, Leaf minors, and coconut beetles, in their Larval and Pupal stages, METARHIZHIUM, a biopesticide, which is available in all universities and horticultural depts,  works very well, by adding in soil,by foliar spray and by drenching. for adding in soil :-mix 2 kgs metarhizhium powder in 50 kgs farm yard mannure,and add 250 gms of jaggery diluted in water . mix it in the soil on the beds or on the tree bottom and keep the area moist in 1 acre  or–drenching:-  Add 2 kgs metarhizhium powder in 400 ltrs of water,along with 250 gms jaggery solution and thoroughly drench the beds or tree bottoms in ,per acre  or— Foliar spray :-  add 1000 gms ( 1 kg ) of metarhizhium powder in 200 ltrs of  water,along with125 gms of jaggery solution,and spray it on the plants in 1 acre. With the above treatment pl see that the larval and pupal stages of the said insects will be drastically destroyed and generally there will not be any necessity to give any pesticide spray for those insectcides.pl use sir and inform me.g.p.rao,farmer.

Dear chandra sir, Metarhizhium,a biopesticide , when applied in soil,drench or foliar spray,gathered information from qualified agri experts/consultants,  it induces a discease like green muscardine,a fungal discease in the insects body and immediately the insects become in active, reproduction less and slowly die.This is observed in our farm practically and found that the said insects harm is very less and almost not using chemical pesticides.The percent of insects will come down by 95% and only little may exists which will not harm the crop considerably.The cost of insecticide sprays will come down considerebly.Pl use sir and inform me.g.p.rao,farmer

Sure sir, I will try to find it.