Growing eggplants isn’t just a matter of digging up the ground, throwing in the seeds and waiting for it to grow. Take note of the following steps so you can get bountiful yields when you plant.
Where to Plant Eggplants
Eggplants need a lot of sun, so find the sunniest spot in the garden. The soil pH level should be 5.8 to 6.8. The soil needs to have good drainage. Organic matter should also be mixed in with the soil. Before planting, put in some calcium rich fertilizer. For best results prepare the soil weeks before you start planting.
Planting the Seeds
When growing eggplants, you have two options. The easier option is to buy seedlings at the local garden shop or nursery. If you’re going to use seeds, plant them two months before the final expected frost. Harden the seedlings. Once the soil temperature gets to 60 degrees F, you can transplant them.
Dig a hole for each plant. Put in a spade full of compost and manure in each hole. Place the plant in the hole. For the standard varieties, a space of 2 feet per plant is sufficient. Smaller variants can be bunched up closer. As they grow, stake it up so the fruits don’t get onto the ground.
Proper Care and Maintenance
To keep your growing eggplants healthy, put floating row covers on during cold spells. This is also an effective deterrent against insects and pests. You can also apply a paper collar on the stems to keep cutworms away. Spray the eggplants with compost tea three weeks after transplanting it. You should also side dress the plants with organic liquid fertilizer. Do this once a month.
These plants need an inch of water per week. Add mulch when the ground gets warm. This will deter the weeds and conserve a lot of the moisture in the soil.
Pinching and Harvesting
Those who are growing eggplants should pinch the new blossoms three weeks prior to the first expected frost. This technique will enable the plants to focus on nurturing existing fruits instead of producing ones that will wither in the frost.
Eggplants can be picked up as soon as they’re large enough to be edible. You can keep harvesting the fruits until they lose their shiny luster. Brown and hard eggplants should not be picked.
Note: do not consume any part of the plant except for the fruit. The plant possesses toxic alkaloids. This warning also applies to potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. Only eat the fruits; do not eat the stems or any other components.
All eggplants variants can flourish in containers, but smaller variants like Baby Bell is more ideal. It is able to bear fruits 45 days after you plant. Most variants, by contrast, take about 70 days. Aside from containers, you can also plant these in raised beds.
Growing eggplants isn’t as complicated or time consuming as other plants and vegetables. With enough sunlight and fertilization, you’re bound to reap a healthy bunch soon enough.