The Department of Horticulture recently conducted a ‘Field Day' at Puttegowdanahundi village of T. Narasipur taluk where some farmers had grown watermelon in the monsoon using mulching technique.
Normally, the round, light green watermelons with dark green stripes that hit the market in summer are larger in size compared to the icecap variety which is completely green and oblong in shape. Under this technique, polythene sheets are spread under the plants in the entire coverage area to prevent leaf-shedding and rotting during rain. Shed leaves could be easily picked up from the polythene sheets without allowing them to rot.
It would also prevent pest formation and their subsequent attacks on plants, H.M. Nagaraj, Deputy Director of Horticulture, Mysore, told The Hindu .
Fertigation (supply of fertilizer through drip irrigation system) could be done effectively later.
Rajabudhi, a farmer from Puttegowdanahundi, had successfully grown watermelons using this technique, he said.
Mr. Nagaraj said that people preferred the icecap variety to the traditional summer varieties.
Madan, a fruit vendor at Kuvempunagar, said that the icecap variety was more delicious . He sells the fruit for Rs. 20 per kg. The traditional variety would cost Rs. 5 less, he added.
The icecap variety had a longer shelf-life. Private companies too had started manufacturing variety seeds and releasing them in the market in the last couple of years for the benefit of farmers, Mr. Nagaraj said.
He said that farmers who intend to cultivate watermelon under the drip irrigation system could avail themselves of the benefits of subsidy under the National Horticulture Mission. Subsidy would be given only for drip irrigation, not watermelon cultivation.
They could get up to 75 per cent of the drip irrigation project cost for cultivation up to 2 hectares and 50 per cent for over 2 hectares, Mr. Nagaraj said.
The icecap variety is completely green and oblong in shape It has been proved to have a longer shelf-life