eggplant

Grow EXQUISITE EGGPLANTS

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Peeping through a lush coat of leaves, I catch a glimpse of a shiny ‘Faberge Egg’, the latest design by Mother Nature. Once known as a ‘mad apple’  this delight is also known by its Indian name ‘brinjal’ or by its French one ‘aubergine’.  Come see how I’ve grown mine.

Sammy tip ‘MAKE IT SNAPPY’ by Dogtor Sammy

 

PARTS YOU CAN EAT: Fruit
SOWING SEASON: Spring, Summer, Autumn – see sowing chart
LIGHT: Full sun
WATER: Keep moist
SOIL pH: pH 5.5 – 6.5
HOW MANY: 5 plants per 4 people
PLANT AGAIN: Every 3 – 4 weeks in growing season
SEED SPACING: Plant 45cm apart – height = 90cm – 1.3m
GERMINATION: 7 – 14 Days
HARVEST: 16 – 24 weeks after sowing
STORE: In bowl at room temperature or pickle
COMPANION PLANTS: Peas, peppers, cucumbers, spinach, potatoes, mint, garlic, chives
HEIRLOOM SEED: Fairy Tale, Long Purple, Rosa Bianca

‘SOW SIMPLE‘ by VanessaVanessa's version

GROW AN EGGPLANT IN 4 EASY STEPS…

I have found that an eggplant is easy to grow. It is native to the tropics of South East Asia (where it was first domesticated over 4000 years ago) so it likes sun and a long warm growing season.  I have grown mine successfully in containers and small gardens and this is how I did it…

compost scoop1 – SOIL RECIPE: 

Eggplants are heavy feeders so enrich soil well with aged manure (preferably horse manure) and compost as well as a pre-planting slow release organic fertilizer, like Vita-Fruit & Flower,  which is high in potassium.

 

pepper seedlings2 – SOWING:

Eggplants are tender when young so I have found it best to grow seedlings first.  I used my seedling pot maker to make my pots from recycled newspaper, which gets planted straight into the soil, protecting the seedlings from root disturbance.  The newspaper is also fully biodegradable & it feeds the earthworms.

*TIP: Transplant seedlings when they are 12cm high (about 4 weeks after sowing).

Eggplant flower3 – FLOWERS:

The flowers become the fruit & so the more flowers the better your harvest.  Each eggplant can bear anything from 6 – 12 fruit each.  Keep the roots well mulched (8-10cm thick) to keep them moist as this will produce more flowers. When flowers begin forming, feed 1/week with potassium rich fertilizer like Biotrissol

Eggplant harvest4 – HARVESTING:

Stalk plants when fruit gets bigger. Eggplant fruit is ready to be harvested when the skin becomes shiny. Smaller eggplants have a better flavour & the more you harvest the more grow. Cut off each egg plant with sharp secateurs  (twisting or pulling can break the plant)

*BEWARE of sharp thorns on the stem around the top of fruit.

Eggplant seed6 – SEED & COMPANION PLANTING:

I love to make a delicious Moussaka  with my harvest. On my travels I discovered some delightfully different eggplant seed to try; like the miniature purple and white striped ‘Fairy Tale‘, the long elongated Long Purple‘ or the white with lilac blush ‘Bianca Rosa.

GOOD COMPANIONS: Peas, peppers, cucumbers, spinach, potatoes, mint, garlic, chives, bush & runner beans, marigolds

BAD COMPANIONS: Fennel

cutwormEXTRA TIPS:

Cutworms love young eggplant seedlings and adult plants can be attacked by spider mite and leaf beetles.  I treated mine with a dose of the organic pesticide bioneem & plant garlic chives around my plants as both beetles and mites are repelled by them.

 

Delightful goodies to grow your eggplants with

4 Responses to “Grow EXQUISITE EGGPLANTS”

  1. Robert Goodes September 28, 2015 at 1:58 pm Permalink

    Please advise
    I have vegetables growing in a tunnel , my question and i hope you can help , not sure if the following is an egg plant.
    I found it on the ground attached to a massive growth like plant , it is the shape of a goose egg , greenish yellowish in colour, white speckles on and has no smell to it.
    Sorry about the description
    Thanks
    Robert

    • Vanessa @ Sow Delicious September 29, 2015 at 6:37 am Permalink

      Hi Robert – your photo did not seem to come through – but it does not sound like an eggplant to me, not even the heirloom type. We have lots of wild gourds growing in South Africa that look like the fruit you have described so not sure I would eat it :)

  2. Lisa Rowell February 7, 2016 at 1:15 pm Permalink

    Hi there. I’m a novice veggie grower. Recently planted tomatoes, basil, egg plants and nasturtiums in a large container in my back courtyard. I used fresh potting soil, incorporated some homegrown compost. The Nasturtium seeds sprouted to my great excitement- then stopped growing, turned yellow and died. The basil went fine but the leaves were small and tough until I put shade cover over the pot as we’ve had hellishly hot weather. Some improvement in the basil. Tomatoes are fine but the fruit is quite small. My egg plants have been another disaster- grew quite well, have produced one or two beautiful lilac flowers – but they have all just fallen off. They all look very sad. What did I do wrong? Any advice much appreciated ?

    • Vanessa @ Sow Delicious February 18, 2016 at 8:10 am Permalink

      Hi Lisa – it sounds to me that you have a ‘soil nutrition’ problem. The plants you have are quite hungry for nutrients and I would suggest the following: good dose of well matured horse manure dug in and a thick layer of grass cuttings or leaves (about 5cm thick) put as a blanket layer on top of the spoil to encourage soil micro colonies to grow in the soil from the manure. Then add some Epsom Salts for magnesium and water leaves of plants with a ‘liquid seaweed’ fertilizer every 2 weeks to give it the potassium it is missing (that gets good flower production. More flowers = more fruit) and some Volcanic Rock Dust for the calcium and other nutrients you need. Keep well – keep growing Vanessa

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