Watermelon irrigation in Kenya is by every commercial farmer. This is because watermelons grow in the dry low altitude plains which are not rainfall dependent. Grekkon Limited has introduced drip irrigation kits for watermelon irrigation in Kenya for small and medium-sized farmers. Drip irrigation is the most economical way to irrigate watermelons and prevents powdery mildew disease on the leaves. Sprinkler irrigation causes powdery mildew It conserves 40% more water compared to rain gun sprinklers or rain hose irrigation kits. The frequency of irrigation and water supplied depends on the prevailing weather condition. Irrigation begins before seed sowing to allow the soil sufficient moisture for seed germination. The amount of irrigation water depends on the growth stage of the plant. Before fruiting, there is heavy irrigation. After fruiting, irrigate according to the prevailing weather t avoid fruit burst.
1. Watermelon Irrigation Scheduling
Water your watermlons early in the morning. This prevents root fungal infections that develop when soils are cold as a result of night watering. Irrigation scheduling saves water and time by applying the exact amount of water.
2. Watermelon Irrigation Requirements
From germination to the onset of fruiting, watermelons need 65 liters of water per week. Irrigate for 30 minutes with a drip system so that the water goes 6 inches deep. Watermelon roots go to this depth.
3. Underwatered Watermelon
Underwatered watermelons will be retarded in growth or fall off. The fruit size is small because it has few leaves to make food and weak stems.
Watermelon Irrigation in Kenya FAQs
i. How much water does watermelon need?
65 liters per week till the onset of fruiting. After fruiting, irrigate as the weather dictates.
ii. Can you over-water watermelon plants?
Yes. This is common after fruiting when farmers give excess water and the fruits crack. Do not irrigate in the rainy season, or if the soil is wet.
iii. What is the cost of watermelon irrigation in Kenya?
The price is from Kes 85,000 per acre for drip irrigtaion. Kes 65,000 for rain gun or rain hose irrigation systems.