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View the documentWatermelons in rice paddies

Watermelons in rice paddies

RATIONALE:

Scarce land resources can be optimized and farm income can be increased by planting high value crops in rice paddies during the months following the rice harvest. Farmers in Cavite, Philippines, have demonstrated that planting watermelons can be a profitable venture if the activity is properly timed. Demand for watermelon is high, especially during the hot, summer months when it is a popular fruit used as dessert. The practice can also help farmers to recover any losses they might have suffered in their rice crop resulting from unforeseen circumstances like typhoons, pests and diseases, fluctuations in price and other causes. Labor inputs for crop establishment are low because minimum tillage is used, thus requiring little land preparation.

CONSIDERATIONS:

· Recommended Varieties

Cultivar

Maturity

Seed Rate/ha.

Sugar Baby

65 days

3-4 kgs.

La Mallorca

80 days

-do-

· Cropping Pattern

In order to receive the best price, watermelons should be planted from September to late October. Therefore, they should be planted 14-25 days before the rice crop is harvested. Planting during this period enables the farmer to harvest the crop earlier than most farmers, thus he can command a higher price for his produce. Also, raising watermelons during the cooler climate helps avoid possible thrips infestation which usually occurs during the hot, drier months of the year. Once the watermelons are harvested, batao (Dolichos lablab) can be sown as a cover crop and green manure for the remainder of the dry season.


Cropping Pattern

· Land Preparation -- Direct seeding is a common practice in planting watermelons.

a. Identify the rows where the watermelons will be planted.
b. Using a stick or planting board, push the rice plants to one side -- creating a space in which the planting can be done.
c. Dig the hole 20-25 cm deep and 20-25 cm wide. Place the topsoil one side of the hole and the subsoil on the other side. The holes are spaced 1.25 m between rows and 1 m between hills.


Push the rice plants to one side


The holes are spaced

· Planting

Mix equal amounts of compost or decomposed manure with the topsoil set aside earlier. Return the mixture to the hole. Sow 4-5 seeds. After the rice is harvested, thin out the unhealthy plants, leaving only three to mature. Place mulch around the base of the plant.


Place mulch around the base of the plant