Bangladesh is a populous country. Even then, new faces are being added every year. Despite the increase in demand, the cultivable arable land is decreasing every year. A person needs a moderate amount of vegetables and fruits for proper growth and development. But the receipts are much less than these demands. Despite the efforts of all concerned over the past decade, it is not possible to fill this gap. In this context, researchers have started research in this country on a new method of vegetable production, which is known as hydroponics.
This method does not require soil for crop production. Hydroponics method is grown by supplying essential nutrients to the plant in waterless soil or soilless substrate. In this method the plant grows only in nutrient-rich solutions with its roots or in various organic, inorganic substances such as: cocoa-dust, cocoa-peat, pitmus, perlite, rockul, etc. This is probably the most intensive method of growing crops on earth, where the best use of water, plant nutrients and space can be ensured. Fast-growing and high-value horticultural crops such as lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes, capsicum, melon, cucumbers, various leafy vegetables and herbs, and beauty-enhancing plants are successfully cultivated commercially. This method is widely used in various winter major countries of the world such as Europe, America, Canada, Japan, China, Russia and Korea.
It originates in the warm foothills of Africa or Southwest Asia, mainly from Iran and India. Netted melon is a type of fruit, the outer part of the fruit is green in color and as soon as it matures, it has a thin hard rint or net on the skin and the inner part of the fruit is green, orange or dark orange in color This succulent fruit is rich in flavor and aroma and is rich in minerals and vitamins and is being cultivated in soils and hydroponics in many parts of the world. Recently, cultivation technology of netted melon has been developed using hydroponics method in Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute.
Cultivation method: Different species of melon such as musk melon, netted melon, chinal, cantaloupe, lamia etc. are being cultivated in Bangladesh. Recently netted melon seeds are being collected from abroad and net melon is being cultivated in the Department of Vegetables, Horticultural Research Center, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Gazipur. In addition, net melon is being cultivated in small scale hydroponics method in different parts of the country at individual level. Although the production cost is a bit high at the initial stage, it is a reliable production method to get safe, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Varieties: Two varieties of Japanese, Chadhahadh, Garudhanar and some varieties brought from America and Australia are being cultivated using hydroponics method. Besides, varieties collected from different sources can be cultivated using hydroponics method.
To increase the acceptability of the supplied nutrients, the hydroponics solution is kept at a low (D) of 7.5. Melon saplings take about 3 months from planting to harvesting. In this case the hydroponics solution is changed once a month with a new solution or the EC level is checked every week to keep the nutrient level right.
Seed sowing and nursery: In order to produce netted melon by hydroponics method, seeds are first sown in cocoa-dust celts. Nurseries should be done within a week after transplanting the seedlings by transferring them to perlite substrate in water or celts. This leads to rapid growth and development of the tree. Nursery stage takes about two weeks for seedling production. It produces a large number of roots which are suitable for planting in hydroponics groves or trays.
Planting of trees in Hydroponics Grobed / Tray: Strong and healthy seedlings from nursery are planted in Hydroponic Grobed or Coco-Dust substrate. At the base of the tree, it is tied with jute twine and hung on top to cultivate. 30 cm in grobed. One tree is planted at a distance and 50 cm between the two rows. The distance is to be maintained. As the tree grows, it should be twisted with twine and tied straight at the top. The nutrient content of the plant is checked with EC meter every week and the amount of nutrients is maintained. Complete nutrient solution has to be changed every month for higher yield. After 30-35 days of planting in the grobed, the female flowers start coming. Note that the male flowers come about two weeks before the female flowers. The female flowers of Git 10-15 of the tree yield high quality fruits. Pollen is done by scattering pollen from the womb of a female tree by dropping petals with male flowers on the same tree or another tree. About a week after pollination, when the fruit is in the shape of a ping pong ball, three fruits are left on each tree and the remaining fruit is cut off. Netted melon fruit grows and develops in the next one week. Then the best fruit is left and the other two fruits are cut. An additional jute twine is tied to the fruit stem at the top. So as not to tear the growing fruit later. Fruit collection is useful eight weeks after flowering. Notable among the intermediate care are twisting the tree with twine and holding it tightly with tape, cutting off unnecessary branches etc. As the fruit grows, the 5 old leaves at the bottom of the tree are cut off. This reduces the wastage of food produced by the tree. In addition, the apex of the tree is cut off above the git No. 25 of the tree and the growth of the limbs is abolished.