Irrigation and Fertilization plans
Stage 1: Sowing to emergence: Irrigate with plain water to field capacity, to a depth of at least 1m before sowing/transplanting. Keep the soil profile at field capacity until seedlings have emerged or roots are growing strongly from the seedling module.
Stage 2: Emergence to first fruit set: Plants should be watered more heavily at a lower frequency prior to fruit set. Use plant colour as a guide. Allow plants to get a little stressed in order to induce deep root growth. When areas of stressed plants develop in the field at midday, apply water.
Stage 3: First fruit set to harvest: During fruit enlargement, irrigation should be frequent and light. Irrigation should be reduced or stopped 7 to 10 days prior to harvest.
A pre-plant soil analysis should be done at least six months prior to planting, as this forms the basis for planning the fertilizer program. The soils should be analysed for EC (Electrical conductivity), pH, Na, P, K, Ca, Mg, Zn, S, B and Mo. Melons are reasonably sensitive to salt, displaying a 50% yield reduction in the range of EC 4-6 (mMhos/cm at 25 C). Consult a fertilizer or soil specialist on other remedies needed in terms of a soil sample result. Approximate nutrient requirements depending on soil type, soil analyses, and crop load;
N: 125-225 kg/ha 30% pre-plant and the balance as two side dressings
P: 15-200 kg/ha Apply pre-plant and work down to root depth
K: 50-350 kg/ha 30% pre-plant and the balance as two side dressings, simultaneously with the N-application (eg. KNO3)
In addition to soil analyses, the water quality should be analysed as it can affect the growth of the plant.