In Summary
  • Sweet melon belongs to the cucurbits family, just like watermelon. The varieties grown in Kenya include Safari F1. It is normally green, and during ripening, it turns light grey or yellow.
  • According to Wilson, the farm manager, the farmer ventured into sweet melon production after doing a market survey and realising there was huge demand for the commodity.
  • The melon can be planted by sowing the seeds and later transplanting or direct seeding though the latter is preferred since the seeds are large.
  • Once the seeds have germinated, it’s vital to control cutworms that cut the seedlings at the base of the plant. The crop is also affected by spider mites.

Of all the melon varieties, the watermelon is the most popular among consumers and farmers in the country.

There is also the sweet melon, but the growing of this crop has not picked up partly because many farmers are not familiar with it, yet it has huge potential.

Sweet melon belongs to the cucurbits family, just like watermelon. The varieties grown in Kenya include Safari F1. It is normally green, and during ripening, it turns light grey or yellow.

The fruit has several health benefits, such as reducing the anti-inflammatory properties, oxidative stress and kidney cell damage. It also has cancer-preventive antioxidants.

The melon seeds are rich in fat and protein. The fruits have lower sugar levels, unlike others. Last week, I visited a sweet melon farmer in Kajiado, who is growing the fruits under drip irrigation besides onions, watermelons and butternuts.

According to Wilson, the farm manager, the farmer ventured into sweet melon production after doing a market survey and realising there was huge demand for the commodity. Sweet melon fetches big market prizes compared to watermelons.

However, most of the customers come from Nairobi to pick, and sometimes he supplies to them.

Just like watermelon, sweet melon requires warm conditions with loam or sandy soil that is well-drained and fertile.

The melon can be planted by sowing the seeds and later transplanting or direct seeding though the latter is preferred since the seeds are large.

Before planting, the land should be prepared to a fine tilth and well-rotten manure applied to improve the soil structure and fertility. This ensures proper growth of the crop and increases its production.

The crop can be grown under irrigation or it can be rain-fed. The former is preferred to prevent long periods of leaf wetness that encourage fungal diseases. Soil moisture test should be done before watering to avoid waterlogging.

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