How to prune watermelon:
Many people are ussualy suprised when I say:
“watermelon require pruning for them to give handsome profits.”
This however doesn’t shock me as I was once as naïve as them.
Like yesterday, I clearly remember the first time I grew watermelon.
When those thoughts’come into my mind…
I find myself almost shedding tears because I had to learn the hard way.
Before growing watermelon, I was growing maize, beans, sorghum, millet.
and my experience growing those crops, never once did I need to do any pruning on them.
So when I ventured into growing watermelon, I took the experience of growing beans, maize, sorghum and millet to watermelon.
“I never thought that pruning watermelon was super important.”
And boy…I failed terribly.
None of the watermelon grew to be over 4 kilos.
Most of them were 3 kilos or less.
So I wondered…
How is it that other farmers are getting fruits weighing 9-15 kilos, while I can barely get fruits that weigh 4 kilos.
This outcome disturbed me for a long time.
I saw myself as a failure—and I almost vowed to never-ever grow watermelon again.
Things Change for the better when I discovered The Secret of Pruning Watermelon
To explain why pruning is key to watermelon farming, let us consider this REAL LIFE analogy.
Imagine a woman is pregnant with twins.
The space inside the woman’s womb cannot expand beyond a certain capacity.
For the twins to fit inside the womb, nature has to make a compromise.
Instead of the children weighing 3 kilos each (the normal weight of a single child in the womb) the children would perhaps weigh 1.5 kilos each, or one of them will weigh 1.6 kilos, the other 1.4 kilos.
Now imagine a scenario where the woman is pregnant with 3 0r 4 children.
As the number of children increases, their weight reduces.
The same thing happens to watermelon.
When a watermelon plant is left to grow on its own, it can produce over 10 watermelons.
Unfortunately, none of the watermelons will be big enough.
The highest weight of the fruit from this plant will probably be 3 kilos.
What causes such low weight you may ask?
The reasons for this is, “all the watermelons will be FIERCELY competing for resources from the same mother plant.”
The plant will thus be unable to sustain the needs of all the fruit.
What if you Reduce the Fruits by 60% Through Pruning of the Vines and Fruits?
Instead of having over 10 fruits per plant, you only have 3 healthy fruits per plant.
By doing this, you increase the weight of the remaining fruits by over 100%.
Instead of getting ten 3 kilo fruit weighing 30 kilos, you produce 3 fruits each weighing 14 kilos thus giving a total of 42 kilos.
Do you know see how the process of pruning watermelon increases yields?
How To Prune Watermelon Steps
- Make sure a single plant only has 3 vines. Remove any extra vines.
- Once the watermelon starts to produce flowers, only allow each vine to bear one fruit. Remove extra flowers.
****Precaution: Watermelon produces both male and female flowers. (only female flowers produce fruit)
Someone who is experienced can tell the major differences between the male flowers and female flowers.
As you remove the extra flowers, how do you make sure that you don’t remove the female and you leave the male flowers behind.
To differentiate the two, female flowers usually have a small fruit developing below it.
Male flowers don’t have any fruit.
So once you confirm that a flower will give fruit, remove all the other flowers and let only one of them develop into fruit. (you leave one fruit for each vine. So 1 plant will give 3 fruits)
- Cut back the tips of the vine. This will reduce apical dominance thus encourage lateral growth. Doing this will increase the number of leaves available that will feed the remaining fruit.
Follow the 3 steps above and don’t be surprised to get a fruit weighing 18 kilos!