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Cultivation of Musk Melon

Climate: Musk Melon love light warm moist (21 C to 35 C) conditions. Don't love cool or very low temperatures.Requires warm climate and humidity to grow rigorously.High temperature and sunshine produce melon high in sugar contents. Though sweetness and fine flavor are hereditary characteristics, yet they are greatly influenced by environmental condition. If Temperature is above 32 C at flowering stage, flowers will not turn to fruit.

Soil: Loves well drained soils like sandy loam soils with high percentage of organic matter. Give high yields in soils which have pH 6 to 6.8( slight acidic to near neutral).Can adopt in wide range of soils when provided with good drainage facility.

Seed: Approx 1 kg per acre seed required. Approx 10000 plants required per acre,.Select virus free and disease free  seeds from farmer. Approx seed germination time is 3-5 days.

Duration: 90-120 days. From 30 days flowers will start approx from 45 days harvest will start. 

Spacing: 30 cm distance plant to plant and 4.5 feet distance need to maintain Row to Row.  Mix soil with compost/fym. If clay soil is more. start preparing raised beds by ploughing soil.

‌Field Preparation: Musk melon need more organic content in soil. Grow green manure before the crop. Traditional practice is mixing 8 tons of FYM or 5 tons of compost with 500 kg of Neem cake along with top soil.

Sowing Method:  
1)Sow seeds along the edges of 4.5feet bed.if transplantation, 10000 polythene bags of 200 gauge, 10 diameter and 15 cm height size or 100 portrays required to maintain nursery and transplant with in 12days.Propagate saplings in feilds. If it is drip irrigation fallow lateral pipe for sowing.
2)30cm pits can be dug for every 60cm (plant to plant) and 4.5feet space as row to row. Pits need to fill with fym+soil and 2 plants per pit can be transplanted.

Irrigation: initial irrigation before sowing. Irrigation was required every week . Especially before flowering.  Maintain specific time everyday at-least irrigating  deep 20 cm soil gives best results. Give mulch for soil if climate is too hot outside.These plants don't like over irrigation.Over watering, stagnation leads several viral/fungal diseases.

Inter-crops:  Beans for fixing nitrogen,  Sorghum and Corn to prevent root rot by controlling soil nematodes, Radish deters leaf eating insects, fruit borers,  Marigold, sunflower attract pollinators and deters bugs and beetles. Mint can also do good as companion.

Harvest: fully ripe fruits are harvested for eating purpose. External colour will change from green to yellow.First Matured fruit are good for seeds.Average yield of 7-10 tons of harvest per acre.

Pest control:
* Bacterial/viral infections occur due to water stagnation, over moist conditions and no proper circulation of air.
*Four kg of Neem seeds are powdered and dissolved in 100 litres of water and filtered. Add 10 litres of cow urine and mix it with 50 gm of soapnut powder. Spraying this extract every 15days will control many pests and diseases.
*Install light traps one for every half acre from 6-10pm to overcome moths laying eggs and remove traps before cucumber flowers start to appear.
*Spray diluted Neem oil for Aphids & Mealybugs.
*Use fruit fly traps.

Important points:
*Plant more flowers trees on boundaries to attract pollinators. Pollination is key for good harvest.
*If lack of bees seen do hand Pollination.

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