Melon Nutritional Summary

For a healthy, productive plant, proper nutrition must be maintained from seeding to plant maturity. Deficiency of any nutrient during the active growing season will harm yield and quality.

Macronutrients

Nitrogen and potassium are the most utilized nutrients by melon crops. It is particularly important to ensure the correct balance between potassium, calcium and magnesium use, so that an excess of one nutrient does not restrict uptake of the other.

Nitrogen

Nitrogen is needed to fuel high yields. By boosting leaf growth, nitrogen also helps sugar accumulation in the fruit. Excessive use of late nitrogen can encourage fruit blemishes and rots. Some nitrogen is normally broadcast pre-planting or at transplanting, unless rainfall patterns are likely to lead to leaching. This is followed by further applications prior to flowering.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is mainly required from flowering through to final fruit-fill to ensure good fruit set and fruit Growth. There is no peak need in the crop. Fertilizer-P is often applied early on in the season and this is usually sufficient to meet needs with good redistribution from the plant to the fruit. Early phosphorus also increases early root growth and plant development. Applications after flowering rarely influence growth.

Potassium

Potassium is needed in greater quantities than nitrogen. Plant uptake is up to 7.8 kg/t with the highest demand peaking at fruit set and continuing right through fruit-fill. Base fertilizer applications of potassium are usually followed by regular applications throughout the season. Around 70% of all potassium taken up is recycled from the leaf into the fruit. Potassium is particularly important for fruit quality, increasing melon sugar content and reducing the risks of cracking.

Calcium

Calcium is also needed in relatively large quantities of up to 3 kg/t. In many situations, it is equally as important as nitrogen. A lot of calcium is taken up during early plant growth. This encourages vigorous leaf production. While only a small proportion of this – 15% - is found in the fruit, these low levels of the element are critical in maintaining good fruit firmness with minimal cracking.

Micronutrients

While much lower levels of micronutrients are needed to satisfy yield and quality melon production, the correct balance of these trace elements is essential.

Boron

One of the key micronutrients. Important for strong leaf growth. It also plays an important role during flower set and fruit bud. Boron works in tandem with calcium to maintain fruit strength.

Iron

One of the key micronutrients. Important for strong leaf growth.

Manganese

One of the key micronutrients. Important for strong leaf growth.

Zinc

One of the key micronutrients. Important for strong leaf growth. It also plays an important role during flower set and fruit bud.