Watermelon is thought to have originated in southern Africa where it is found growing wild. It reaches maximum genetic diversity there, with sweet, band and bitter forms.
In 19th century, Alphonse de candolle claimed the watermelon was indigenous to tropical Africa.
By 10th century, watermelons were being cultivated in China, which is today the world’s single largest watermelon producer.
By 13th century, Moorish invaders had introduced the fruit to Europe, according to John Mariana’s
Watermelon made its first appearance in an English dictionary in 1615.
Watermelon is a vine like flowering plant originally from southern Africa its fruit, which is also called watermelon is a special kind referred to by botanist as a pepo, a berry which has a thick rind (exocarp) and fleshy center (mesocarp and endocarp) pepos are served from an inferior ovary and are characteristic of the cucurbitaceous.
The melon – although not in the genus cucumis has a smooth exterior rind (green, yellow and sometimes white) and a juicy, sweet interior flesh (usually seep red to pink, but sometimes orange, yellow and even green if not ripe)
Species C. lanatus
Botanical name: Citrullus lanatus
Watermelon contains about 6% sugar and 91% water by weight. As with many other fruits, it is a source of vitamin C. the amino-acid citrulline was first extracted from watermelon and analyzed.
Watermelon is sometimes used as vegetables; in china they are stir-fried, stewed or more often pickled.
Watermelon is mildly diuretic and contains large amount of carotenoids watermelon with red flesh is a significant source of lycopene.
Preliminary research indicates the consumption of watermelon may have antihypertensive effect.
There are so many varieties of melon ranges in weight from less than one to more than 200 pounds: the flesh can be red, orange, and yellow or white, there are also cubic watermelon from Japan.
But we make use of only two varieties which are oblong and rounded shape watermelon.
USES/IMPORTANT OF WATERMELON
1. It is a good source of vitamins A and C and provides potassium and fibre.
2. It contains high level of lycopene – an antioxidant that may help the body fight cancer and prevent disease.
3. It can be used to treat anemia/calculi formation
4. It contains lot of potassium, which is helpful in cleaning the toxic depositions in the kidney
5. The potassium and magnesium in the watermelon helps in reducing the high blood pressure to normal ones
Haven participated in this practical work, I observed that there are some factors affecting the yield, quality and the overall productivity of watermelon.
These factors includes:-
1. SOIL TYPE: watermelon requires good fertile soil and also a well drained sandy-loam soil.
However, the experimental site upon which the practical was done is a clay soil which grossly affected the yield and generally the performance of the crop.
This is because clay soil is not favourable for the growth and yield of watermelon, it does not support proper infiltration of water, this result to nutrient deficiency in plant and consequently stunted growth
2. LACK OF IRRIGATION WATER: watermelon being a water loving plant does not do well where there is no adequate water supply during its life span; the long period of drought does not favour the growth and yield of watermelon. Hence adequate water supply is essential to the optimal yield of watermelon.
3. FERTILIZER APPLICATION: fertilizer contributes immensely to the growth productivity of watermelon. The application of nitrogen fertilizer (urea) is to increase the vegetative and overall growth of the crop. This single element fertilizer contains 46% of nitrogen which is essential for the growth of the crop.
However, the growth rate depends on the quantity of fertilizer applied as well as the method of application
PEST: this is an important factor which affects the yield and growth of the crop plant leaves and young stain were mostly attacked and some of the pest include leaf aphids, leaf miner etc.
However, the effect of pests was reduced by the application of some chemical control such as wood ash, furadan etc.
Similarly, the effect of nitrogen fertilizer cannot be undermined why because the plot with high percentage of nitrogen performed better than those with lesser percentage. It has been observed that the plot with S4 N5 (oblong species) lack better pods size, weight and marketable size.
Based on the foregoing. It could be said that watermelon is a very nice crop due to the presence of vitamins and many other nutritional value good for human consumption.
Hence, government should embark on the production of watermelon in order to reduce the high cost of watermelon brought from North and boost food supply.
They should also encourage graduate by the provision of environment or lands in order to reduce unemployment among young graduates.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Allocation: The land was allocated on 12th of January, 2013 and cleared collectively by hired labourers with matchet followed by tilling of the soil by 13 groups of hired labourers by the following equipment, India hoe and cutlass. The demacation of the bed was done with ropes and pegs.
Size of bed is 70 x 20m and 3 x3m
PLATING: There were two different types of seed which is oblong and round species of seed. The bed was thoroughly water (wet) before the seed was planted due to the dryness of the soil. We use sprinkling method in watering the bed.
Method of planting
Size of bed 70 x 20m
Bed 3 x 3m
Distance within row 0.5m
Distance between rows 1m
Planting space S1 = 60 x 60cm, S2 = 90 x 90cm
S3 = 1m x 1m S4 = 1.5m x 1.5m
Nitrogen rate: N1 = 0kg N2 = 40kg N3 = 80kg N4 = 120kg
N5 = 120kg
S1N1 S1N2 S1N3 S1N4 S1N5
S2N1 S2N2 S2N3 S2N4 S2N5
S3N1 S3N2 S3N3 S3N4 S3N5
S4N1 S4N2 S4N3 S4N4 S4N5
Factorial = 5 x 4 = 20
Treatment combination interpretation of the parameters
S1N1 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 0 kg/h
S1N2 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 40 kg/h
S1N3 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 80 kg/h
S1N4 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 120 kg/h
S1N5 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 160 kg/h
S2N1 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 0 kg/h
S2N2 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 40 kg/h
S2N3 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 80 kg/h
S2N4 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 120 kg/h
S2N5 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 160 kg/h
S3N1 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 0kg/h
S3N2 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 40 kg/h
S3N3 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 80 kg/h
S3N4 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 120 kg/h
S3N5 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 160 kg/h
S4N1 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 0kg/h
S4N2 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 40 kg/h
S4N3 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 80 kg/h
S4N4 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 120 kg/h
S4N5 = Planting space of 60 x 60cm and urea rate of 160 kg/h
COST AND RETURN
Seed = N20
Tilling and clearing = N500
Cost of irrigation = N80
Total = N600
Bucket = N200
Watering can = N150
Total = N350
Pod 1 = 0.8kg = N650
Pod 2 = 0.6kg = N450
Pod 3 = 0.5kg = N400
Total = = N1,500
GM = TR - TVC
= 1500 - 600
II = GM - FC
= 900 – 350
Return = N650.
In summary, watermelon is being influenced by the two factors which formed the basis of this practical these factors include, spacing and the effect of nitrogen fertilizer. Plant spacing affects both the vegetative and the yield of the crops. The plots in which the crops were closely spaced, crowded and there was much competition unlike those plots spacely located.
GROWTH AND YIELD OF WATERMELON (CITRULLUS LANATUS) AFFECTED BY PLANT SPACING AND NITROGEN FERTILIZER RATE
DEPT: AGRIC ECONOMICS MANAGEMENT AND EXTENSION
COURSE CODE: CLM 411
COURSE TITLE: CROP PRODUCTION TECHNIQUE