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Grafted Melons Seedlings

How Growing from Grafted Melons Seedlings Helps the Farmer   Farmers in South Africa can now propagate melons from grafted seedlings and benefit from improved stand, yield, and quality of the melons. How The Seedlings Are Grown

Grafting is the technique of joining parts of one or more plants together with the aim of creating a new plant. The scion of one plant is joined to the rootstock of another to give the plant characteristics of both, such as higher frost tolerance, better resistance to diseases or pests, improved drought tolerance, and higher-quality fruit. By growing from grafted seedlings, farmers benefit from earliness to the market and consistent quality. They can also attain the same yield with fewer plants on the field. The grafted seedlings are delivered to the farmer, who subsequently transplants them to the already-prepared soil.

The seedlings are grown in climate-controlled greenhouse facilities at the nursery. As such, they are protected against pests by special netting. In addition, the plants are chemically pre-treated at the nursery before delivery to the farmer. In this way, they are protected against diseases and pests for the first days that they are on the field. The farmer can then follow the normal chemical-treatment plan. As such, the farmer has one fewer chemical treatment to apply, thereby saving money. With their special traits, such as higher pest resistance and improved frost tolerance, farmers in more regions of the country can propagate melons. It also means lower usage of chemicals to fight diseases and pests, as the plants have improved resistance or tolerance for these.

More About Melons (Cucumis melo)

The plant is part of the Cucurbitaceae family. Melons are normally extremely frost sensitive and the best temperature range for growing the crop is between 24 and 29 °C. Farmers can grow melons in many soil types, though it is best to propagate the plants in lighter soils. For an optimal yield, it is recommended to transplant the grafted seedlings to deep, well-drained, clay-loam soil. Too high a clay content causes water-drainage problems and reduces the oxygen levels in the soil. If they are planted in such soils, it is recommended that to add organic matter. The optimal soil pH for growing melons is 7. The plant also requires sufficient amounts of micronutrients.

Growing from grafted seedlings enables early production. By obtaining the seedlings from a reputable nursery, farmers are able to grow in areas where temperatures would normally be too low for outdoor propagation from the vulnerable seed stage. In addition, the farmers benefit from plants on the field that already have specific characteristics. The improved taste of the fruit, high yield potential, and uniformity in stand all help the farmer produce more, improve sales, and attain higher prices for the crops thanks to the consistently good quality. A better shelf life can also be expected.

Many varieties of melons are grown in South Africa. It is recommended to speak to the Hishtil SA team regarding the unique characteristics of their grafted melon seedlings to determine if the plants are suitable for the region where the farmer wants to propagate the crop.

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