Eggplants, also known as aubergines or guinea squash, are very nutritious and versatile vegetables. This is because the texture is somewhat similar to that of squash. Read more about how to grow eggplant ahead!
A fun fact is that the original color was white which resembled a small egg hanging from a tree hence its name.
How to grow eggplant?
Eggplants enjoy the comforts of extra warm weather and are harvested in the late parts of summer. When the temperature is between 70° F and 85° F (21° C and 30°C), eggplants grow the fastest. Their size and shape vary but an average eggplant is quite slender and long with a deep purple shade.
There are a variety of colors including white, pink, green, and light purple. Eggplants, like tomatoes and peppers, grow on a plant that can reach many feet in height and dangle from its branches.
With well-drained soil that is rich in compost and a stream of direct sunlight flowing its way for 6 to 8 hours, eggplants can grow between 2 to 6 feet tall.
Depending on the variety, they’ll fully produce in 60 to 80 days. To learn more about planting and harvesting this fruit continue reading.
When to plant eggplant?
To plant an eggplant there is no specific seed preparation needed prior to sowing. Start seeds indoors four to eight weeks before the final spring frost date in your location.
Eggplant seedlings can also be purchased and are much faster but it will cost more than you’d pay for the seeds.
Where to plant eggplant?
Starting indoors is very common. However, if you live in a region that is extremely warm, it’s fine to sow eggplant seeds directly into the soil of your garden.
Raised bed gardens help seeds grow exceptionally well as the soil warms quicker than the usual ground soil.
To learn more, feel free to read my post about 10 reasons why a raised bed garden is better. It’s optional to use a flower pot and selecting one that has a dark color will attract way more sunlight.
Place the tiny seeds at an estimated 1/4inch deep in loamy soil when temperature levels are at least 70° F. Water the seed and cover it loosely with plastic if desired to retain moisture. Another option is to prep your soil with compost a week before planting.
If you’ll be using multiple seeds, leave up to 24 inches between them. The rows must be 4 to 5 feet apart to ensure there is sufficient space for the roots to spread.
If you currently have seeds but it’s too frosty to do any outdoor gardening have no fear. You can always start indoors by finding an area that is sufficiently warm. To boost germination, use a dome or cloche to trap heat and humidity.
Fact: The seeds can also be stored and used for up to four years.
When planted in the best conditions the growing seeds should germinate within 7 to 10 days. Eggplants like soil that has a pH balance of 6.5 and should receive 1 to 2 inches of water every week.
Note that the flowers and leaves of an eggplant can be toxic to both humans and animals so they should not be consumed. Be sure to keep the plant away from pets as well.
How to care for eggplant:
As it develops over time, the plant will lean or bend due to loads of the eggplants weighing on the branches.
Stake the tree or use a cage somewhat similar to that used with tomatoes. That will help to keep the plant upright. If you’re growing them in a container then stake the stems before any fruits begin to form.
Fruit set and development are the most essential times for moisture. Eggplants that mature into disfigured fruit are mainly a result of inconsistent watering.
The plant should be watered but do not allow the soil to become very soggy. This could lead to disease and cause damage to the roots.
A weekly hydration routine is enough to keep the soil moist. Spreading degradable materials over the soil such as wood chips and straw will help retain moisture. Place the potted sun-loving plant in an area that has access to full sun and not too much shade.
Mixing compost into the soil should be done by following the instructions stated on the label or as required. You should fertilize when the first set of eggplants is still quite young.
Apply compost every 2 weeks or more. Eggplants are self-pollinated with help from the wind. Bees, birds, and other insects also pitch in to speed up the entire process.
When to harvest eggplant?
If you planted an eggplant from the seedling then it will be ready for harvest between 65 to 80 days after being planted, and this depends on the variety.
When you began from the stage of seeds it will take up to 100 or 120 days before you can expect to harvest any fruit. Depending on where you live these could fall within the summer months of July, August, and September.
Don’t wait for an extended period to harvest! The energy from the plants will go back to producing more fruits.
Some fruits that are picked when underripe or overripe can taste bitter which is why learning the art of harvesting fruits and vegetables is crucial.
Harvesting early helps the plant to become more fruitful so next time you’ll be loaded with way more. As mentioned, eggplants have a much better taste when reaped young so don’t leave them hanging for too long.
The skin should look unwrinkled and glossy with a consistent color. When the skin of the fruit does not bounce back when you press on it gently, then that signifies it’s ripe and ready. This is when you’ll need to check on the plant every 2 to 3 days.
Use a sharp knife to cut the area close to the stem which is atop the green cap. Do not pull or yank harshly at the branches to pick any of them.
When you cut open an eggplant the seeds should appear soft and well-formed. If the skin looks pale and the seeds are dark and hard, it will have a bitter taste.
How to store eggplants?
After reaping dozens of eggplants with the possibility of more being ready for harvest proper storage is crucial to prevent spoilage.
They can be stored for up to 2 weeks at a temperature that is within 50° F or 10° C. If any parts of the fruits are cut, then it’s best to place them in a refrigerator to prevent them from deteriorating quickly.
How to deal with pests and diseases?
It’s a fun process to plant, grow and harvest the best fruits and vegetables, but an issue that many gardeners face is the threat of pests and diseases.
Different sorts of pests and diseases affect different plants, and it’s essential to be aware of them so you can take the necessary precautions to keep your plants healthy throughout their lives.
Eggplants are susceptible to many of these.
Several pests that affect eggplants include:
- Flea Beetles
To prevent bugs from enjoying the rewards of your labor, these are a few solutions:
- Mulch heavily
- Use row covers
- Weed your garden
- Use straw
- Remove crop residue
- Utilize crop rotation when possible
- Introduce beneficial insects to protect your plants
Possible eggplant diseases
Some of the most common diseases affecting eggplants are:
- Bacterial wilt
- Blossom end rot
- Verticium wilt
Blossom end rot is often caused by a lack of watering and commonly appears on tomatoes that have been dehydrated.
You can prevent this by providing sufficient water but the soil should be well-drained. Ensure to remove the affected fruits.
To treat blight, destroy the leaves that were infected and sanitize your tools after snipping them. Air circulation should be good and water the plant at the root instead of overhead. There is no effective treatment for wilt so removing and destroying the plants that are affected is best.
Conclusion on how to grow eggplant:
Thank you for heading over to read this post! I hope you learned all you need to know about how to grow and store eggplants as well as treat diseases and pests. Feel free to read my other post and stay tuned for regular updates on all things gardening.
Other gardening articles:
- Herb Gardening For Beginners
- Growing Strawberries In Raised Beds
- How To Keep Basil Alive
- How To Grow Green Onion
- Easy Fruits And Vegetables To Grow
- How To Grow Lettuce
- How To Grow Kale
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