Arrow dripper is the current drip irrigation tool aiming at efficiency delivery of water on to plant roots.
The dripper has either blue or black plastic dripper with a tube that is use in channeling water from supply pipe.
The using of supply pipe of Hdpe pipe of 16 millimeters is common. This supply pipe therefore ensures that the water demand and supply is readily available.
Areas of applications of arrow drippers
- an individual plant(passion fruits , oranges, mangoes, tomato trees, and avocados, lawn irrigation, tree nurseries’ banana trees)
- planter boxes,
- large pots
Specifications of arrow dripper
- Flow rate of 0.7 liter per hour to 4.0 liters per hour
- Working pressure of 5 Bar to 4.0 Bars.
- Micron for the water filtration of 130 microns to 200 microns
- available sizes 16 mm
- In all landscapes, using drip irrigation is very flexible.
- Increasing maximum efficiency level and reducing water losses of irrigation water
- Reducing extent of soil erosion risk
- Efficiency of fertilizer and nutrients application
- Minimization of weed growth
- Positive impact on seed germination and yield development;
Watermelon production in Kenya
Watermelons are large sweet-tasting fruits that are major water and are warm-season annual plant gowned mostly in hot areas in Kenya like Isiolo County and Machakos County. They can be grown in highland regions as well, like Nakuru county
but the quality of the fruit will be inferior compared to those produced in hot areas
Farming of watermelon is a low investment and highly yielding practice. Their fruits are major water and can be eaten raw or picked and rind (bark) is edible when cooked
Heath benefits of Watermelon
- High in folate ( helping body to make healthy Red blood cells)
- Rich in Amino acids ( useful in preventing illness)
- Low calories ( reduced weight gain)
- Rich in Potassium ( important for the proper functioning of nerves and muscles)
- High in Vitamin A(for normal vision), C (for growth and repair of body tissues), and B6( promote brain heath)
- High in lycopene(a powerful antioxidant that is useful in preventing some forms of cancer and cardiovascular diseases)
Cultivation requirement for growing Watermelon
- Soil- should be well-drained sandy loamy soil; well-aerated. The ph should be alkaline for optimum growth. To make soil alkaline to the required limit, there can be use of lime. Heavy soil makes the plant grow slowly and have low-quality fruits (small fruit size)
- Attitude- lowlands are the best growing areas.
- Rainfall-watermelon does well in regions having optimum rainfall of 600mm per cropping season. Sufficient water supply allows the fruit to be succulent fresh therefore can do irrigation to ensure consistent moisture as required. Lower water supply as fruits approaches maturity is necessary to avoid fruits tasting too watery.
- Temperature-requires warm temperature of between 15-300c.the warmer the weather the better for seed germination and ripening of fruits as it approaches maturity
There are multiple watermelon varieties in Kenya examples
That is the most popular variety type as it takes only 80 days to mature. It has a hardcover making it tolerant to pests and keep it preserved for a long time.
It is the most available and recognized watermelon variety in the markets. This variety is red fresh inside and many seeds as well. Its maturity time is not less than two and a half months after which it will be ready to harvest.30 tonnes per acre is common in the Sugar Baby variety.
This is a hybrid variety and is of high demand and very resistant to Fusarium and Anthracnose diseases. AsaliF1’s fruits are oblong-shaped and green in color with stripes of green along the sides. It takes a minimum of 85 days to mature and yield large fruits with sweet red flesh inside. Asali F1variety has a yield potential of up to 40 tonnes per acre.
Fruits are cylindrical and are red fresh. This variety has the largest fruit size averaging 9kg. Charleston Grey variety matures between 85-110 days.
Andaman 631 F1
The variety is super red and very sweet. Its rinds (bark) are green in color with no pattern. This type is also characterized by having very strong vines making it easy for fruit selling. Andaman 631 F1 is suitable for greenhouse irrigation in places experiencing low water supply. They mature after 80 days with most fruits weighing 8 kg. The yield per acre is 30 tonnes when well managed
Crimson Sweet variety has flesh that is firm and crispy which is also deep red having a sweet taste. A fruit of this variety will weigh 8-10 kg having green stripes on the sides of different shades, dark and light. It has a potential of 30 tonnes per acre and takes about 85 days to mature. This variety also has the property of being resistant to Anthracnose and Fusarium.
Sweet Melon Galia F1
It is a unique variety of watermelon since it does not have the usual red flesh but instead has a light green colored flesh juicy as normal watermelon. The outer cover is either yellow or brown. This variety is much smaller compared to other species and is weighing not less than 1kg and not more than 2kg. Maturity time is between 65-80 days and has a yield potential of about 25 tonnes per acre.
Choosing seeds is very important for an excellent result. Hybrid seeds are preferred for the production of good-quality fruits. There are different varieties available in Agro dealers/Agrovet’s shops. Prefer using certified seeds and always soak the seeds overnight before planting for uniform and faster germination.
The crop is spaced 1.5meters between the rows and 1meter from the crop to the other. This type of spacing is because the vines require enough space for spreading.
Approximately 500g of seeds is required for sowing in a one-acre piece of land
Land preparation, planting, and management
Seeds are usually planted just directly to the ground but raising them in seedbeds then later transplant them into the main field is also possible but this usually causes disturbances to their root system.
Land preparation procedure
- Spray weeds with herbicide to kill both the broadleaf and grass weeds
- Plough the land and level it to a fine tilth.
- Mix the soil with manure and DAP, and with lime to improve on pH (50kg DAP and/or 1 ton of manure
- Make holes of depth 2-4 cm and at a spacing of 1.5 meters by 1 meter and place 2 seeds per hole
- Cover the seeds with loose soil. Germination occurs after 7 days.
Weeds usually lower the potential of the crop as they compete for nutrient light and water. They can as well harbor some pests and diseases, which also lower yield.
It is always important to prone off excess fruit to allow the required number to develop properly and obtain the required market quality.
The crop requires relatively a lot of water; therefore, irrigation is a requirement to maintain moisture consistency. Without enough moisture, the fruit will dry from inside, and on the other hand, with too much watering, the fruits become watery and tasteless.
Irrigation can be achieved through drip, overhead, or furrow irrigation. Fruit splitting/cracking commonly occurs because of lack of irrigation water
Both basal and foliar application is highly recommended in watermelon production to get optimum yield.
Manure should be added especially in those soils with little or no organic matter. Whenever this is done, the crop tends to produce bigger fruit.
During planting; apply 50kg of DAP in one acre by placing a teaspoonful of the fertilizer into each hole, mixed properly to avoid fertilizer burning the seed, and then place the seed. DAP contains high phosphorus that is important for root development. Farmer can also choose on sing TSP. Young plants should receive foliar application one week after germination to promote early crop establishment.
Crop rotation is very important with watermelon as it helps disease and pest management by breaking their development cycles.
The yield in watermelon varies according to the maintenance of the crop and the variety propagate.
Major diseases and pests
- Melon fly
- Red spider fly
- Epilachna beetles
- Leaf miners
- Bacterial fruit blotch
- Leaf spot
- Powdery mildew
- skin color changes from white color to cream or pale yellow
- the breakup of the green band at the base of the fruit
- stem near the fruit cracks
- skin becomes hard and resists penetration by the thumbnail and rough when touched
- tendrils near the fruit die
Handling, storage, and transportation.
Handling of the fruits should be reduced since they are very fragile and prone to breakages and bruising.
- Misshaping fruits (bottlenecked or gourd)
- Hallow heart
- Misshapen (pear-shaped fruit)
- Rind necrosis