Aquaponic gardening is an excellent and recommended system to grow plants and fish in the same environment. The plants grow by using the waste from the fish as nutrients and clean the fish habitat. Both the plants and fish benefit. Watermelon has been deemed an essential fruit for a long time primarily because of its nutritional and water content. Some people use the rind of the fruit to fight heat stroke. Most people are resulting into growing aquaponic watermelon for various reasons. For some, it is cost-effectiveness, convenience, and continuous supply. For environmentalists, the primary motivation would be the controlled environment, an aquaponic system offers- developing plants and raising fish at the same spot and at the same time. Some people grow them as a hobby. Aquaponics watermelon is capable of producing in large proportions. Because of their weight, watermelons require a robust system, months of sunshine, and a greenhouse.
Watermelon Varieties for Your Aquaponic Garden
Watermelons come in different varieties and differ in shades, shapes, and sizes. There are nearly fifty varieties of watermelon grown worldwide. Some common watermelon varieties include;
This type of watermelon draws its name from the fact that, with its size, it can feed immense multitudes of people, for example, in picnics or family gatherings. It is the most common watermelon type mostly seen at the market. It is oval mainly or round in shape, has a vibrant green rind with its flesh being rich and red. This watermelon will typically weigh fifteen to about fifty pounds. Its varieties include Jubilee, Allsweet, Black Diamond, and Charleston Gray.
Yellow – Orange Watermelon
Unlike the Picnic watermelon, the yellow-orange watermelon has a round or oblong shape. The flesh of the fruit has a shade of yellow or orange. It will typically weigh between ten to thirty pounds. It may be with seeds or seedless. Varieties of the Yellow-orange watermelon include Desert King, Yellow Doll, and Yellow Baby. Seedless varieties include Chiffon and Honeyheart.
This type of watermelon serves small groups of people, or it can be enjoyed individually. Typically, it will weigh around five to fifteen pounds. Varieties of the Icebox watermelon include sugar Baby and Tiger Baby.
Unlike the name suggests, these watermelons are not seedless. They have tiny, tender, and edible seeds. Typically, they will averagely weigh ten to twenty pounds. Varieties of the seedless watermelon include Crimson, Trio, Jack of Hearts, and Millionaire.
Factors To Be Considered For Aquaponics Watermelon Farming
Media Base System
When growing aquaponic watermelon, the preferable and recommended method is the use of a Media Bed. It is also referred to as the Flood and Drain system. The watermelon growth bed is packed with gravel, lava rock, or expanded pebbles of clay as the growth media in this system. Water coming from the fish tanks gravitationally flows into the growth beds for the plants to access, or it can be pumped.
The Growing Medium
The perfect growing mediums for growing aquaponics watermelon are those that can effectively retain water. Some good options are Peat Moss and Coconut coir.
The pH Requirements
Watermelon growth will require a 6.0 to about 6.8 range.
The Sunlight Requirements
Just like other plants, watermelons will require some amount of sunlight to thrive successfully. They will require at least eight to ten hours of sunlight daily. If this is impossible in specific environments, grow lights will provide the lighting needed.
Temperature and Water Requirements
Watermelons thrive well in warm climates. Water and air temperature of approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal.
For your watermelons, provide spacing between six to twelve feet apart. This ensures that the watermelons do not compete for vital nutrients and water.
Planting and Harvesting
Watermelons can be grown from seeds. The seed sizes are pretty small, but peat starters can be used at the beginning till the growth is noticeable. Cover the plants if night temperatures in your environment go below 60 degrees Fahrenheit for heat retainment. When the roots develop, the plants can be transferred to the media bed, and the growth medium of your choice can now be used. Depending on your watermelon variety, flowers will start to show four to eight weeks into germination. With the spread of the vines starting, train them on a trellis or a support structure in your set system. Male flowers develop and appear first before the female ones. The females generate fruits and are the ones that remain on the vine. After thirty-five days, depending on variety, their full bloom will enable you to harvest.
Preferable Fish Type
For watermelon aquaponic gardening, the ideal fish is carp. Its association with a muddy taste makes some people avoid it, but the yields will taste good. Carp fish is watermelon compatible as they prefer warm temperatures of between 73°F to about 86°F.
Diseases and Pests
Your watermelons should be protected from pests such as cucumber beetles and aphids. Monitor for diseases such as powdery mildew and gummy stem blight.
How to Curb Common Aquaponic Watermelon Problems
Rotting – Store them in a cool environment with temperatures of under 50°F. When stored in a cool environment, they can be stored for about two weeks.
Spacing – Due to their size, ensure you have a considerable amount of space for growth.
Vine growth – Have a stout support framework, for example, a trellis or fence, as watermelons grow like vines.
Aquaponic gardeners will attest that the system has earned them a phenomenal experience. Aquaponics watermelon gardening is a viable system that comes with a lot of benefits. Besides being environmentally friendly, the system will yield and allow you to have a continuous supply of fresh watermelons and fish at your convenience. With the many varieties of watermelons available, choose the one you wish to grow, depending on your needs and requirements. If you are into aquaponic gardening, you will enjoy and find the experience exceptionally profitable with a bit of effort and the guidelines provided here.
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