WHY YOUR WATERMELON FAILS TO FRUIT ADEQUATELY IN SPITE FLOWERING HEAVILY

Watermelon farming

My watermelon farm had abundant flowers but I can only see few fruits formation in spite and my yield per acre was very discouragingly poor…” this is but a painful expression from one of the local watermelon farmers I once came across. Farming watermelon is a very promising venture but as promising as it is, if not done under the guidance of rightful technical knowledge, experience and skill; the farmer may just be naively inviting losses. 

The veggies family
Understanding vegetable families may just be the first step to success. Watermelon belongs to the family of cucurbits; the family of cucumber, watermelon, gourd, pumpkin, squash, zucchini etc. What is unique about the family with respect to this topic is that their flowers are unisexual; with male and female flowers on different plants (dioecious) or on the same plant (monoecious). This uniqueness is directly proportional to degree of fruiting and yield. 

The flower pattern with respect to cucurbit
Just a reminder; I have talked briefly about this before in one of my articles on cucumber cultivation, you may as well visit Cucumber Cultivation Dictionary part 2 for more knowledge. I would therefore talk briefly about flower patterns once again. According to biology, there are basically two types of flower (in this respect): PERFECT and IMPERFECT FLOWERS. 

A perfect flower
This type of flower has both male and female gametes (Sex organs) on THE SAME flower piece. It is usually self-fertilization i.e. it does not require cross pollination. If this occurs in animal kingdom, they are referred to as hermaphrodites. The chances of pollination are very high. Most often than not, easy pollination occur readily through flower parts movement or slight wind.  Tomato, pepper, eggplant, okra etc. fall into this class. You need no extra measure to ensure fruiting. You can use any form of registered insecticide.  

Imperfect flower
In this type, male and female gametes (sex organs) are not on THE SAME flower piece therefore fertilization only occurs through cross pollination MOSTLY by INSECT (Athropods). There are two types of imperfect flower: Monoecious and Dioecious or Gynoecious
  • Monoecious flower: In this type, male and female gametes are on DIFFERENT flower piece but SAME parent plant. In order word, male flower on its own while female flower on its own as well but on the same parent plant. For example, if there are 20 flowers on the plant, 15 flowers could be exclusively female and 5 exclusively male.  In this flower pattern, there is a need for cross pollination most especially by insects and wind. Cucumber (by nature), watermelon, squash, maize (all cereals) fall in this group.
  • Dioecious flower: In this type, male gamete and female gamete are on DIFFERENT flower and DIFFERENT parent plants. In order word, when you see one parent plant, it carries ONLY male flowers while another plant carries ONLY female flower. This requires strong wind, and a lot of insect activities to ensure fertilization. Naturally, papaya and some other cucurbits  belong to this group

The insect-pest control/your yield
Average local farmers and uninformed enlightened ones do not know anything about flowering pattern of cucurbits. As a result, they resort to using broad spectrum insecticide even during flowering and fruiting of watermelon. 
The question is; is there anything wrong in this practice? Ideally, it is not but recalls the term pollination! As there is a need for mating, then fertilization in animal kingdom for new offspring to come alive so also in plant kingdom, pollination (synonymous to mating in animal kingdom) must takes place for fruit formation to occur. In farmer’s sense, fruit formation is yield. This pollination involves the movement of pollen (male gamete) to ovary (female gamete) for fertilization to take place which precedes fruit formation.  
This pollination occurs through the following means: self, wind, insect activities, animal movement, and water. Out of all these means, pollination through insects’ activities is at the fore front. Do you mean all insects are involved in pollination? Nope! Nope! Nope! Is only beneficiary insects that are mostly and deliberately involve in this activity and out of all these beneficiaries insects; bees perform over 70% of insect pollination. The others are butterfly and wasp. 
In order word, if you want something close to 100% pollination which means you wants zero tolerance to flower abortions and distorted fruits formation, then you must not only encourage the beneficiary insects to visit your watermelon farm particularly during flowering/fruiting phase but you must not carry out any activities that would affect their movements. 
The use of broad spectrum insecticide is however the very first culprit to determent of beneficiary insects activities on your farm. If you are able to put aside the use of broad spectrum insecticide in spite of obvious harmful insect activities on your farm, then I can assure you of increased yield every other things being equal. 

How would you now manage the activities of harmful insects and still keep beneficiary insects on the farm? How would you encourage the activities of these beneficiary insects, boost flower formation and increase chances of per pollination? You may please read our article on “The bees, the pollination, the cucurbits and their strong relationship”. 
I hope you find this article helpful in a way, please do leave a comment behind.  Encourage us by sharing this article and also recommend this site to someone else that may be in need of it. Thank you for reading.  












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HYBRID VEGGIES : WHY YOUR WATERMELON FAILS TO FRUIT ADEQUATELY IN SPITE FLOWERING HEAVILY
WHY YOUR WATERMELON FAILS TO FRUIT ADEQUATELY IN SPITE FLOWERING HEAVILY
Watermelon farming
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