Effects of season and fruit size on the quality of ‘egusi’ melon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb) Matsum and Nakai] seed
A study was undertaken at the Teaching and Research Farm of the University of Agriculture, Makurdi in the wet and dry seasons of 2005 and 2007 to monitor the effects of season and fruit size on the seed quality of ‘egusi’ melon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum and Nakai]. Fruits at maturity were harvested and grouped based on their sizes into big, medium and small categories. Data were collected on fruit length, diameter and weight. In addition, number of seeds per fruit, dry seed weight per fruit and 100-seed weight were also taken. Thereafter, seeds were tested for viability before and after storage. Results revealed that seeds from bigger fruits exhibited significant superiority over those from smaller fruits in all the other parameters studied except germination percentage where no significant differences were found among the fruit sizes. Seeds extracted from medium and small fruits produced in the wet season however, produced better storability compared to what was recorded for big fruits. It was therefore concluded that seed crop of Citrullus lanatus should be preferably produced during the wet season for high seed vigour. Furthermore, medium and small sized Citrullus lanatus fruits could be preferably selected for the production of high quality seeds as the seeds from them stored better than those from big fruits.