Growing Better Melons

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1 Growing Better Melons George Clough Oregon State University Hermiston Agricultural Research & Extension Center

2 !"#$%&'( Growing Better Melons w/polyethylene mulch, drip irrigation!!!"#$%&'($%)&!!!!*$#+,-,&!!!!./+(!01,%21,%)&!!!!341+5$-/%!!!!6/((+%$-/%!

3 Growing Better Melons: Transplants

4 )*+,-.,/0&'( ( (1,23$-0&&( ( ( (7!8!9,,:&! (4.,-*((1&.,53$&670-.( ( ( (7!4%+;/#1!!!!7!%/!)<+%%+%5!/#!#,'($%-%5!!!!!7!,&'=!9>&,,2(,&&!1,(/%&! ((

5 8$&,*+,-.,/0&'( ( (9"&.&( (

6 9"-&$*02,:"-&'( ( (4$;0( ( ( (F$#5,#!K!L!M/&)! ()/0( ( ( (N(2,#!!K!!L!!M/&)!

7 Watermelon Transplant Size: Cell Size Leaf Area Weight 51 (1f ) (1! ) (1d ) (1c )

8 !! Watermelon Transplant Size: Watermelon Transplant Size: Yield (t/acre) Cell Size Early Total

9 Watermelon Transplant Depth: - "soil line vs cotyledon - 3 years deep-setting tended to increase early yield deep-set plants appeared more vigorous depth did not influence total yield Vavrina, U of Fla.

10 Watermelon Transplant Age: Watermelon Transplant Age: - 2 locations age of transplant did not affect early or total yield or fruit size Vavrina, U of Fla.

11 Vavrina - 3 cell sizes (50, 73, 135 cell) - 3 years, et al., U of Fla. neither age of transplant nor cell-size affected early or total yield or fruit size Vavrina, et al., U of Fla.

12 Growing Better Melons: Varieties

13 45 40!""#$%&'()*(+,-$./(+0$ Yield tons/a Clough, OSU

14 1998 Seedless Watermelon Production Cultivar Yield (ton/acre) Soluble Solids (%) Fruit Wt (lbs) Carousel Crimson Jewel Honey Heart King of Hearts Nova Palomar Summer Sweet Summer Sweet 3521Y Clough, OSU

15 1998 Seedless Watermelon Production Cultivar Yield (ton/acre) Soluble Solids (%) Fruit Wt (lbs) Summer Sweet Summer Sweet SWX SWX SWX SWX Tri-X Clough, OSU

16 Watermelon Yield 7/23/2008 *Primed 10 8 Yield tons/a Waters & Clough

17 2008 Seedless Watermelon Production Cultivar Yield (ton/acre) Soluble Solids (%) Fruit Wt (lbs) HQ HQ Crunchy Red F Melody Super Crisp Sweet Delight Tri-X Tri-X Waters & Clough

18 Yield tons/a Watermelon Yield *Primed Waters & Clough

19 Total Yield Yield tons/a Waters & Clough

20 2009 Seedless Watermelon Production Cultivar Yield (ton/acre) Soluble Solids (%) Fruit Wt (lbs) HQ HQ Crunchy Red F Melody Super Crisp Sweet Delight Tri-X Tri-X Waters & Clough

21 Growing Better Melons: Mini- or Personal Varieties

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24 Seedless Mini-Watermelon Production Cultivar Yield (ton/acre) Soluble Solids (%) Fruit Wt (lbs) Fruit/ Acre Extazy Liliput MiniTriploid MiniTriploid MiniTriploid Petit Perfection* RWT Molinar & Mueller, 2003

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26 Organic Seedless Mini-Watermelon Production Cultivar Yield (ton/acre) Soluble Solids (%) Fruit Wt (lbs) Fruit/ Acre Bibo Little Deuce Coupe Mini Yellow Petit Perfection Poquito Precious Petit RWT Valdoria Vanessa Drip irrigation, black polyethylene mulch, California Molinar, Mueller, & Yang, 2006

27 Seedless Personal Watermelon Production Cultivar Yield (ton/acre) Soluble Solids (%) Fruit Wt (lbs) Fruit/ Acre Bibo Petit Perfection Precious Petit RWT Drip irrigation, black polyethylene mulch, conventional, Indiana Gunter, et al., 2005

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29 Seedless Mini-Watermelon Production Cultivar Yield (ton/acre) Soluble Solids (%) Fruit Shape Xite Mohican Petite Perfection Average 4 locations, 5 in-row spacings Hassel et al, 2009

30 Seedless Mini-Watermelon Production In-row Spacing Plants 1000/acre Ton/acre Fruit Yield 1000/acre Average of 4 locations, 3 cultivars Hassel et al, 2009

31 Seedless Mini-Watermelon Production Cultivar Yield (ton/acre) Soluble Solids (%) Hollow Heart Colored Seed Betsy Petit Treat Valdoria Vanessa Average 6 in-row spacings Walters, 2009

32 Seedless Mini-Watermelon Production In-row Spacing Plants 1000/acre Ton/acre Fruit Yield 1000/acre Average of 4 cultivars Walters, 2009

33 Seedless Mini-Watermelon Production In-row Spacing Costs ($/acre) Net Revenue Local Wholesale 6 10,892 $28,310 $4, ,008 $20,260 $2, ,240 $18,490 $2, ,568 $15,060 $1, ,182 $14,490 $1, ,778 $ 7,121 -$1,219 Average of 4 cultivars Walters, 2009

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36 Growing Better Melons: Crop Nutrition

37 Nutrient Availability & Effectiveness: Fixation - phosphorus Leaching - NO 3 -N, K, B Volatilization - urea"nh 3 # Competition - soluble salts ph - optimum 6-6.5: Ca, P, Mg deficient < 6 Fe, P deficient > 7

38 Requirements: Preplant soil test - quick, inexpensive - very general, field variability - "calibrated" to soil type

39 Application Rate: Readily available - production guides - usually for maximum yields - adjust for expected yield reduced growth! reduce rates

40 Fruit removal: w / 40 ton / acre yield (80000 lb) (7.5% DM) (3% N) = 180 lb N / acre (80000 lb) (7.5% DM) (0.5% P) = 30 lb P / acre = 68 lb P 2 O 5 / acre (80000 lb) (7.5% DM) (2.5% K) =150 lb K / acre

41 Requirements: Tissue analysis - more expensive - slow turn-around time - indicates plant nutrient status - sampling more difficult Plant sap quick-tests - very quick - accurate

42 4.,.E&( Plant tissue analysis at early bloom stage for watermelon.( F( G( H( 9,( I/( 4( Fe Mn Zn B Cu Mo G02(%0-.(JKL( G,2.&(#02(7$33$"-(J##7L( Deficient < Adequate High > Maynard, U Fla

43

44 Sufficiency ranges for petiole sap testing for watermelon. Crop development stage Fresh petiole sap concentration (ppm) NO 3 -N Vines 6 long Fruits 2 long Fruits one-half mature At first harvest K Maynard, U Fla

45 Nutrition X Irrigation Movement, redistribution and accumulation of soluble nutrients are influenced by irrigation application. Nutrients move w/ wetting front as water moves through soil.

46 Application w/drip: Broadcast (in bed) and Incorporate: % of N & K and 100% of P and micronutrients. Fertigate: - remainder of N & K as crop develops.

47 Application w/drip: Fertigation: - apply nutrients in 1 st part of irrigation cycle - chemigate near end of cycle to prevent algae growth, precipitation etc.

48 Application w/drip: Foliar - application of nutrients directly to the leaves. - large amounts of nutrients cannot be applied w/o injury to plant. - may be very effective with micronutrients, especially if soil ph is alkaline.

49 Nutrient Sources: Nitrogen - at least 50% as N0 3 -N in cool or fumigated soils. NH 4 N0 3 Ca(NO 3 ) 2 KNO 3 NaNO 3 (Na may contribute to salts)

50 Nutrient Sources: Phosphorus - ordinary super phosphate (OSP) and triple super phosphate (TSP) are good P sources (more S and Ca w/ OSP). - diammonium phosphate (DAP) may precipitate micronutrients.

51 Nutrient Sources: Potassium - KNO 3 - K 2 SO 4 - KCl (high salt index) - K 2 SO 4!2MgSO 4

52 Growing Better Melons: Soil Amendments: Compost

53 Advantages: Increase OM, WHC, CEC Provide nutrients Disadvantages: Specialized equipment Cost Salts

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55

56 2002 Columbia Basin trials End-of-season Soil Compost OM (%) K(ppm) 0 t/a 1.0 c 165 b 5 t/a 1.3 b 187a 10 t/a 1.4a 191a

57

58

59 2002 Columbia Basin trials Wireworm control Compost Plant Loss (%) 0 t/a 14.6a 5 t/a 16.3a 10 t/a 2.4 b

60 Growing Better Melons: Fumigation

61 Advantages: Eliminate or reduce soil pests (disease, insects, weeds) Disadvantages: Specialized equipment Cost Safety Timeliness

62 Fumigants: Metam sodium Vapam, Sectagon, Soil Prep Telone Telone II, Telone EC Chloropicrin Chlor-o-pic, Larvacide Combinations Telone C17, Telone C35, Inline Dimethyl disulfide (DDS) Paladin, Paladin EC

63 2002 Columbia Basin Fumigation trials Verticillium wilt (Verticillium dahliae) Fumigant Plant Loss (%) Telone C b Inline 0.7 b None 3.2a

64 2002 Columbia Basin Fumigation trials Wireworm (Limonius canus, L. californicus) Fumigant Plant Loss (%) Telone C b Inline 4.8 b None 26.6a

65 Implementation of Risk Mitigation Measures for Soil Fumigant Pesticides Buffer zones (2011): - application rate - field size - application equipment and methods - emission-control measures (tarps) Telone: no buffer required others: minimum 30 up to 300

66 Miscellaneous Windbreaks Wheat, rye Pollination 1 hive / acre 50-60,000 bees / hive between hives Seedless 1:3 or 1:4 diploid:triploid

67 Rogers SP-4 Super Pollenizer Harris Moran Side Kick Other cultivars available: Companion Seminis Jenny Nunhems Minipool Hazera Pinnacle Southwestern SP-1, 2, 4 Syngenta

68 Seedless Watermelon Pollenizers Cultivar Yield (ton/acre) Hollow Heart Companion 22.3c 9.0 Jenny 27.6ab 10.8 Mickylee 26.6abc 8.4 Patron 28.4ab 11.6 Pinnacle 23.8bc 5.8 Sidekick 29.1a 10.5 SP ab 8.3 Average of 4 locations Freeman et al., 2007

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70 M M( M(

71

72

73 Row Covers: - increase soil and air temperatures - frost protection - insect exclusion - wind protection - moisture conservation

74 Results: - increased earliness - higher early yield - higher total yield - improved quality

75 Row Cover Materials: - extruded polypropylene (Agronet) - spunbonded polypropylene (Agryl, Gromax, Kimberly Farms, Lutrasil) - spunbonded polyester (Reemay) - perforated polyethylene (Linktuf, Vispore)

76

77

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79 )/2"-0.(

80

81

82

83

84 N007,O(

85 P$&#"20(

86

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88 Costs: 6' W Floating $815/acre 35' W Floating $1475/acre 6' W Perforated Clear $240/acre

89 Labor: construction - 12 hrs venting - 30 hrs removal - 27 hrs based on single-sheet, continuous tunnels 6' bed centers, Fresno, Cal.

90 Management: - pest control weeds insects - venting - wind >85 F!flower drop edges anchored hoops properly spaced

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