In a new trend of vertical farming in green houses, the Navsari Agriculture University (NAU) in Gujarat has successfully proven that cultivation of musk and water melon during monsoons happens to be an off season for the horticulture crop.

“As part of an experimental learning programme for students, off season (monsoon) cultivation of musk melon and water melon has been successfully proven,” N L Patel, Principal Aspee College of Horticulture and Forestry, NAU said.

“It happens to be a new trend of vertical farming in the green houses,” he said.

“Prachi (seed), cultivars of water melon and seeds variety like Golden Lady and Bobby, cultivars of musk melon, were sown during monsoon season last year in a green house,” Patel said.

“Both these crops were also cultivated using grafting technique, in which they were grafted on Pumpkin rootstock which was prepared by Jayesh Patel of Bharadia village,” he said.

The crop is grown in vertical fashion by giving support.

The fruits of water and musk melon hang in the plastic wire net bag. Crop of musk and water melon were sown in first week of August last year and were ready for first harvest after 65 days. The harvesting continued up to 90 days, Patel said.

In total 925 plants can be accommodated in 500 square metre area of a green house which can produce around six tonnes of fruits, Patel claimed.

The major advantage of this model is that these fruits are available in the off season, before the winter sets in.

“We shall research on this concept for three years and then it shall be recommended to farmers,” Patel said.

Normally both these crops are grown horizontally on the ground by the farmers in the summer season.

Muskmelon has a significantly high nutritional value, resulting in health benefits to consumers. It is a good source of vitamin C and rich in potassium.

Watermelon, the popular summer fruit is touted to be richer, with amino acid called citruline, which relaxes and dilates blood vessels. They may be grown on a wide variety of soils. Sandy loams are best for early crop of watermelon, while loams have high-yielding potential.