This article focuses on sweet melon farming in Kenya. Sweet melon is a fruit that belongs to the cucurbits family. Sweet melon farming is not a common venture in the country. Many farmers are not familiar with the fruit even though its demand is high.
Benefits of Sweet Melon
- Sweet melon is rich in potassium, an important mineral that controls blood pressure.
- It is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Contains properties that reduce kidney cell damage and oxidative stress.
- The fruit has elements that prevent cancer.
Varieties Of Sweet melon Grown in Kenya
- Safari F1.
- Galia F1.
- 6023 Rani.
Ecological Conditions for Growing Sweet Melon
- Well drained sandy/ loam soils.
- Plenty of sunlight.
- Warm climate with high humidity.
Land should be well ploughed early enough before planting. It should be prepared to a fine tilth. After preparing the land, organic manure should be applied. Well rotten organic manure helps to improve soil fertility.
Planting of Sweet Melon
Sweet melon can be propagated by direct seeding or transplanting. Direct seeding is the best method of propagation.
The recommended planting space is 1m by 1m between rows. DAP should be applied in the planting holes to supply the plants with necessary nutrients.
Once you have applied DAP, singly place the seeds in the holes then cover with soil.
Germination will occur after about 7 days. This also depends on the variety planted. Some varieties germinate faster compared to others.
Proper weeding should be done to avoid competition for nutrients. It should be done early enough, during the development stage.
Sweet melons are ready for harvesting after about 2-3 months, depending on the variety planted.
When the fruit is fully mature, it changes colour from green to yellow and starts cracking near the stem.
Market for Sweet Melon in Kenya
There is no proper market for sweet melon in Kenya even though its demand is high. The average price of one kilo of the fruit is Kshs 100.
Nairobi offers the best market price for the fruit due to high demand. Most of the clients are from leafy suburbs within the city and members of the Asian community who widely consume the fruit.