The nutrient content of Eggplant is minimal in macronutrients and micronutrients, but the fruit’s ability to absorb oils and flavors, through cooking, increases its use in the culinary arts. The spongy, absorbing fruit is widely used in many kitchens.
Eggplant is a perennial planted annually—plant eggplant during the warmest, free-frost time of the year. To produce a harvest, Eggplants need 100 to 140 warm days with temperatures continuously between 70 ° and 90 ° F. Eggplant is best started indoors and transferred later into the garden. Sow eggplant indoors for 6 to 8 weeks before seedlings are planted in the garden. It is recommended to transplant seedlings into the garden about 2 to 3 weeks after the last spring frost.
Eggplants that have been planted too early do not produce.
Start the seeds of the eggplant inside approximately 8 weeks before the seedlings are planted in the garden. Plant seeds in single containers or seedling flats. Place eggplant seeds with nothing more than a depth of 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch spaced around 4 and 5 inches. In approximately 5 to 6 days, eggplant seeds germinate.
Start the seeds on a thermal mat and then raise the seedlings at about 70 ° F. Offer seedlings 12 hours of sunlight every day to start indoors utilizing led, or fluorescent grow lights.
Transition the young seedlings to larger pots when the seedlings are 5 to 6 inches tall if the weather does not allow for planting outdoors yet. Before transplanting the eggplants, layout black gardening mesh or plastic out over garden beds to pre-warm the soil.
Eggplants thrive in full sunlight. In well-drained soil rich in organic matter, eggplants will grow best. Apply aged compost or organic retail planting mix to the soil before planting and prepare the ground to 12 inches thick.
Eggplants prefer a pH of soil between 5.5 and 6.8. Warm up the soil for several weeks before planting with black plastic over planting beds.
After last spring freeze, transplant eggplants into the garden 2 to 3 weeks later. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the roots and half as deep—lightly water inside the hole before transplantation. In the bottom of the hole, spread a 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 organic fertilizer and cover loosely with aged compost or planting mixture.
Place eggplant plants into the ground at the same depth as in their containers that they developed. Gently firm the soil around the root system, then water the plant slowly. Build a shallow basin around the seedling at the watering time, to channel water to the roots. Set up a stake or tiny tomato cage to support the plant as it develops.
Fruit-loaded eggplants may bend over or fall over. It is best to help them. Space the eggplants are 2 to 3 feet apart. Space rows 2 to 3 feet wide. If the days or nights are chilly, cover young plants with polyethylene row coverings. During warm afternoons the remove the row coverings so that bees can pollinate plants.
Eggplants can conveniently be grown in pots—plant eggplants in containers 1 foot in length and diameter at minimum. Consider a smaller growing variety for planting in containers.
Make sure the potting soil is moist during the season. Can not let the soil dry out. Feed eggplants with miracle grow, and you can dilute solution of fish emulsion in containers every two to three weeks.
Container-grown eggplants are quickly relocated out of the cold weather and can be brought indoors during the spring and autumn seasons if there is a chance of frost. Doing this will extend your growing season for eggplants
Eggplants are robust feeders either prepare planting beds with aged compost or eggplants with compost tea or dilute fish emulsion solution every 2 to 3 weeks before and after the fruit has settled and every 3 or 4 weeks afterward.
Eggplants need uniformly saturated soil to ensure the maximum and quickest growth possible. Do not cause the soil to dry out or overwater. Place the drip irrigation or soaker hose in place after planting the seedlings in the greenhouse. Offer the plants at least 1 inch of water per week. Uneven soil moisture can result in fruit issues.
Once the soil has warmed to 70 ° F, mulch around the eggplants to maintain soil moisture to prevent the weeds from growing.
Protect eggplants against unexpected late freezing. Protect at night until all frost hazards are over. Cover plant with row covers spun poly. Cold weather and lack of moisture can prevent pollination.
In warm summer weather, roots are likely to encounter hot soil temperatures, mulch plants about four weeks after putting them in the vegetable garden. When temperatures climb to 100 ° F or higher in the summer, shield the eggplants from direct sun.
Tall varieties should be staked or caged, especially others with large fruits.
The time between seeding and harvesting is 100 to 150 days, 70 to 85 days from transplantation. Harvest eggplants before the flesh turn pithy. When the fruit is firm, shiny, and full-colored, the eggplant is ready for harvest.
Eggplants without seeds are premature. Firm, darker seeds means the eggplant fruits are overripe. Eggplants under or overripe are pretty bitter to taste. Remove the eggplants with a sharp knife from the base. Leave a small stem stub attached to the fruit.
Sign up for our Newsletter for helpful tips, gardening ideas, and special gardening gifts
for subscribers only.