Eggplant is a great selection for our gardens. It’s pretty easy to grow in most areas and if we can grow eggplant than we could probably grow other types of squash without issues.
Here is a variety of basic information on growing eggplant, such as how to grow it and pests you may have to worry about.
Varieties of Eggplant
Oval to oblong types – these are the eggplants that create long, purple/ black plants. These are the ones that you see in the grocery store, most likely.
Japanese varieties – these mature faster than the previous type and the actual eggplants are long and slenderer.
Small – these, obviously, are the best ones to grow if you have limited space. The fruits range in colors; green, white, and purple.
There are more varieties, some being very rare.
Best Time to Grow
When you first start the eggplant it should be inside, about six weeks previous to the last frost of the spring. When it comes to seed germination, the best results will be seen in a temperature about seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit.
When the weather is warm and the sun is out, then you can leave the plants outside, but if it gets below fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit then bring the eggplant in once again.
A healthy eggplant will grow about five pounds of fruit in two months, so take that into consideration when planning out how much you are going to grow.
The place where you grow your eggplant should be sunny, and have well drained soil, with a pH balance of about 5.5 to 6.5. Before you plant, about two weeks in advance, you should loosen the soil in the plant bed and add about a two-inch layer of compost.
To ensure extra nutrients, you can also add organic balanced fertilizer or composted poultry manure. Water this well.
If you live in a place that tends to be cooler, you should cover the plant bed with black, plastic film to warm up the soil. Make sure to have about two feet between each plant and think ahead about supports.
One thing to look out for is flea beetles. You can avoid these pests by adding a cover to the plants. When they get to be about fourteen inches you should be fine removing the covers.
Harvest and Storage
There is a certain rule of thumb when harvesting an eggplant, quite literally. When you press your thumb into the eggplant, it should bounce back quickly. When it does this and when it is at full size, it is ready to harvest.
If the thumbprint leaves a bruise, you have waited too long to harvest and if it leaves no thumbprint at all then it is too soon.
The outsides should be sensitive and glossy. When you harvest them you should make sure that their cap is not harmed. For storage, keep in a cool place until cooking or preserving. They should only be kept in the cool place for about three days.
Eggplants thrive in warm weather, so you should wait until the weather warms up and the soil reaches about sixty degrees in order to get the best result. It can be done in cooler weathers though, if necessary. When the fruit is thriving on the plant, make sure to water very deeply. About one to two inches of water a week.
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