Melon (Canary melon), scientifically known as Cucumis melo, (this name will be used in this study) is one of the crops that evolve and propagate over the years on coastal greenhouses, due to its good profitability during a short season and low costs. This product is sold at reasonable prices at times when it is not found on the market.
There are two periods for Cucumis melo cultivation, the first being autumn cultivation, during which transplanting takes place around mid-September and harvest usually after about 60 days. During this period, Cucumis melo starts to run out of markets. The second period for cultivation is early spring cultivation, during which transplanting occurs from January 15 to February 15. It takes about 90 days or more to ripen, depending on the earliness of the variety and average winter temperatures.
Cultivation can be done in two methods. The first method is Rampant cultivation, whereby seedlings are left on the ground without stringing them up. In this method, two rows are planted in the greenhouse, and the distance between the seedlings is 50 cm. Later on, plants are moved to the empty spaces to cover the entire area of the greenhouse. A house needs about 250 plants only, and this method is easy and suitable for beginners.
Cucumis melon rampant cultivation
The second method is suspended cultivation, whereby seedlings are raised on two strings. In this case, five rows can be cultivated in a greenhouse, and the distance between seedlings ranges between 60 and 80 cm. In this method, the number of seedlings increases and productivity improves. Breeding is done on two branches for each plant, while harvesting can be done in several phases. A variety must be chosen with a strong stem that is hardly cut off, to ensure the fruit is well carried and nourished until it reaches maturity.
Cucumis melo suspending cultivation
The following remarks should be taken into consideration for the success of this type of cultivation:
- Grafting seedlings on pest-resistant rootstocks is preferable especially for spring cultivation
- Choosing the appropriate variety, as varieties differ in their specifications in terms of earliness, resistance to diseases, tolerance to difficult environmental conditions and fruit characteristics (size, strength of stem area, degree of sweetness, thickness of the pulp, the peel …)
- Covering the planting rows with black mulch is preferable to resist weeds, raise soil temperature and maintain moisture
- Using bees as pollinators, as they are the best pollinators for Cucumis melo, and pollen is relatively heavy and does not depend much on the wind
- The biological zero of melon is 12 ° C
- Removing the masculine flowers, as well as the unwanted early-blooming flowers is preferable as they impede growth in the early stages
- Melons need good and regular watering, as thirst increases the spread of powdery mildew. Thirst is only allowed in only two stages: the first is at the beginning of growth, in order to induce the roots to spread in search of moisture, and the second is in the pre-harvest stage to increase fruits sweetness.
Jewel melon: strong stem area
Cucumis melo usually suffers from magnesium deficiency. Therefore, it is important to fertilize them with King Mig (magnesium sulfate) before the symptoms of deficiency appear. Calcium is also important, especially during the fruit setting and formation period. Calcinit (calcium nitrate) can also be used. Moreover, focus should be given to potash when sizing the fruits. Solucros (potash sulfate) is considered the best fertilizer in this stage, as sulfate-based fertilizers provide plants with greater resistance against fungal diseases, especially aerobic ones.
Powdery mildew is the most major fungal disease that affects Cucumis melo, and it can be controlled using pesticides: Flint (Trifloxystrobin 50%), or Collis (Boscalid 200 g/l + Kresoxim methyl 100 g/l). We have to focus in the early stages on controlling insects such as aphids, thrips and whiteflies and we can use pyrethroid mixtures such as Decis Expert (Deltamethrin 100 g/l) or Fastac (Alphacypermerthrin 100 g/l), as well as spraying mites early. We can also use Envidor (Spirodiclofen 240 g/l) which has good efficacy in all mite phases. In the presence of Velum Prime (Fluopyram 100 g/l) from Bayer, nematodes infection is controlled very well.
Jewel melon (ANANAS TYPE) is the preferred variety for most farmers, as it is very resistant to powdery mildew and tolerant to Fusarium. Additionally, the fruit stem area is very strong and able to carry the fruit and provide it with food until full maturity without separation. It also has excellent reticulum and a large desirable fruit size exceeding 5 kg. The pulp is creamy and firm with sweet taste, and solid peel. In addition, it can bear long-distance shipping.
Smaller early varieties such as Desert and Honeydew have lately been introduced. These varieties have excellent prices because of their earliness and very sweet, sugary taste. Ugarit (CHARENTAIS TYPE) is also a new variety that has high sweetness and purity. It should be picked early before the sugary material becomes starchy and loses the desired sugary taste.
As for the grafting rootstocks used, there are two distinct rootstocks: Jawad F1 and Totsukabuto P1, which both have good behavior in the nurseries in terms of germination speed, homogeneity, strength of growth in the nursery, and thus easy grafting. They also have excellent field characteristics in terms of resistance to various soil pests and to environmental stress that seedlings may be exposed to in the field.
By Nour H.