Watermelon and muskmelon are both belong to the family Cucurbitaceae. Watermelon is a thirst quencher and muskmelon or locally called in Pakistan as kharbuja is very useful for constipation. Watermelon and muskmelon are both available in the summer season. Yellow melon or melon fruit is cultivated locally in Pakistan especially in Punjab (Gujranwala, Multan, Bahawalpur, and Rahimyarkhan and southern Punjab especially). Muskmelon has a specific medicinal importance. In this article, I will discuss the production technology of melon fruit or muskmelon (kharbuja). There are following outlines,
- Variety Selection
- Sowing time
- Land preparation
- Fertilizer and irrigation
- Plant protection
- Harvesting and yield
Selection of a variety of melon fruit or kharbuja
There are two types of varieties grouped by farmers and muskmelon growing community in Pakistan. One is desi varieties which were used initially when hybrid varieties developed due to their specific characteristics like double the production and more aromatic in nature. There are many farmers attracts and they recommend the hybrid varieties.
Sowing of muskmelon or melon fruit
There are two different types of sowings for growing muskmelon or melon fruit. Melon fruit or kharbuja can be grown in tunnels as well as in open farming. For tunnel farming, its nursery is prepared first and then allowed to grow inside the tunnel. For tunnel farming, muskmelon nursery prepares in the tunnel in the month of October and shifted in the next month whereas for open farming sowing time is the end of January to mid-February.
Land preparation for kharbuja
Land preparation is a very important step and land leveling is very important. If the land is not leveled then it is suggested that proper leveling should be done with the laser leveling technique. Nowadays, farmers are preferring towards the hybrid seed and less toward the desi seed. Incase of desi seed land is well plowed followed by planking and then the seed is broadcasted and after that beds and ridges are prepared just like in carrot’s sowing method. But this method is very rare, in the case of hybrid varieties, it is suggested that land should be plowed thoroughly and prepare the beds with 6ft distance where on both sides’ seeds will be sown with 1ft of plant-to-plant distance.
Note: Use the black shopper mulch on beds which is more comfortable for the farmer otherwise cost of labor for weeds removal will be higher and leads to an increase in the cost of production and reduce the profit margin.
Fertilizer and irrigation for melon fruit
As always recommend adding the well-rotten farmyard manure in the field. But it is also noted that during the land preparation addition of farmyard manure gives rise in the soil temperature may lead to fungal disease. So, it is suggested that add the farmyard manure two months earlier and allowed it to decompose with one flood irrigation. In this way, farmyard manure will not also be decomposed as well as weeds will grow which will be cut down during the land preparation for muskmelon.
It is suggested that add one bag of DAP, one bag of SOP, 5 kg of Sulphur and carbofuran during the land preparation. This food will be enough for the muskmelon crop. Irrigation importance is very critical and muskmelon is very sensitive for overwatering. Always give based on the need. At the early stages, it is suggested that give the water after one day of sowing and then apply irrigation with 3-4 days of interval and add the half bag of nitrogen-based or Sulphur based fertilizer.
Muskmelon or kharbuja crop needs more attention at each stage from the sowing to harvesting. There are many insects, pest and diseases are very common. It is suggested that add the carbofuran pesticides in the form of granules during the land preparation so that destructive pests in soil could be eliminated and germination percentage should be good. When the plant gets three foliage and there are two important insects are very common in muskmelon or kharbuja crop which is thrips and mites. It is suggested that apply the recommended insecticides each week.
In the open farming, when temperature gets rise in March then higher ground temperature with more humidity leads into fungal diseases. It is suggested that apply the recommended fungicides. It is also suggested that do not apply the single type of fungicide apply more than two to three types.
When a crop reaches fruit-bearing stages, a destructive insect and pest named fruit fly are very common which attacks fruit. So, it could be commercial damage for melon fruit. So, it is suggested that apply the diamethioate chemical or trichlorofame insecticides or other recommended pesticides spray.
Harvesting and yield of muskmelon
The determination of maturity for muskmelon or kharbuja is not so easy to understand just like watermelon. It is very important to understand that only color indication is not enough to determine the maturity of melon fruit. Check out the fruit by tapping with fingers whether the skin is soft or not. Checkout the pedicel point is to get soft and waxy and the color variation at the basal side.
There is a wider difference in fruit quantity in desi varieties and hybrid varieties. Desi varieties yield 5000 – 10,000 kg per acre whereas hybrid varieties yield 20,000 – 25,000 kg per acre.
Note: Most of the farmers are getting towards the hybrid varieties due to more production and profit margin ranges between 1-1.5 lakh in hybrid while 40-50 thousand in case of desi varieties.
- Muskmelon is a profitable crop.
- Select wisely about varieties of muskmelon.
- It is suggested that cultivate the hybrid varieties.
- Muskmelon can be cultivated in tunnels as well as open fields.
- Open field farming is very common in muskmelon.
- Seeds are sown directly in the field as well as nursery preparation is done. It is suggested that prepare the nursery for plant gap filling.
- Plant protection for weeds removal and insect, pest, and disease is very important in muskmelon crop.
- Black mulch usage is recommended by experts on beds to control weeds.
- Fruit fly is very destructive pest at the time of the fruit-bearing stage.
- Hybrid varieties yield double that desi varieties in desi varieties.
I hope this article about muskmelon or yellow melon will be clear in concept. Keep commenting regarding the topic and stay tuned!