Eggplant

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Botanical name: Solanum melongena

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Sandy

Soil pH: Slightly Acidic to Neutral

Eggplants are short-lived perennial vegetables, but are usually cultivated as annuals. Also known as aubergines, eggplants differ mainly in size, shape and color of the fruits. Eggplants are tropical and subtropical, requiring relatively high temperatures. Related crop include tomatoes, potatoes and peppers.

Planting

  • Start plants indoors 2 months before the soil warms up or buy nursery transplants just before planting.
  • Place 3 to 4 inch tall seedlings 24 to 30 inches apart in well-prepared beds.
  • Pinch out the terminal growing points for a bushier plant.

Care

  • Stake plants over 24 inches tall.
  • Water well and apply a balanced fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season.
  • For bigger fruits, restrict to five or six per plant.

Pests

Harvest/Storage

  • Harvest 16 to 24 weeks after sowing when the skin of the fruit is shiny and unwrinkled. 
  • Cut the fruit close to the stem, but leaving about an inch of it attached.
  • Eggplants can be stored for up to two weeks in humid conditions no lower than 50 degrees F.

Recommended Varieties

  • 'Black Beauty'
  • 'Easter Egg'
  • 'Little Fingers'

Recipes

Wit & Wisdom

At one time, women in the Orient used a black dye to stain their teeth a gun metal gray. The dye probably came from the same dark purple eggplant we see in the marketplace today.

Comments

If different varieties of

By Era on April 20

If different varieties of eggplant are planted all together (e.g. Black Beauty, Italian White, Turkish Orange), would they cross-pollinate?.... If yes, how far apart should they be planted to preserve the variety?

To much water will make the

By emma. duckworth on March 27

To much water will make the egg plant droop and turn the leaves yellow and that will cause the fruit to not fill out it will make them swivel up. I found watering once a week when temp are above 80 works well

I planted Black Beauty

By Karen Bierman

I planted Black Beauty Eggplant. Does the eggplant grow upright like tomatoes or does it grow vine like squash?

Eggplants grow in a manner

By georgewilson

Eggplants grow in a manner much like tomatoes, hanging from the vines of a plant that grows several feet in height.

Hi. Will eggplants do well in

By Herminia Genetiano

Hi. Will eggplants do well in pots? Im just trying it at my roofdeck.

Yes, eggplant can do well in

By Almanac Staff

Yes, eggplant can do well in pots that are 16 inches deep.
Four to five gallons per plant is best for eggplants.
Good eggplant varieties for container growing include: Dusky, Morden Midget, Bambino, and Millionaire.
Good luck!
 

I planted my seeds indoors a

By Rserro

I planted my seeds indoors a little more than 3 weeks ago and they still haven't shown any sign of growth. I had to go out of town for 4 days and our friend who watched the house said she watered them, but they were bone dry when I checked. Should I start over? I'm worried it was too cold in the window while we were gone, too, as it got in the teens here. Thanks!

Yes, you should start over.

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you should start over. The soil needs to be kept moist as well as very warm for eggplant seeds to germinate (about 80 F to 90 F if possible!). Eggplant will not germinate in cool soil. You may need grow lights for the tender, "warm-season" plant. It is a difficult plant for a beginner.

Thank you!

By Rserro on April 15

Thank you!

Eggplant seed germination

By coachlane

Eggplant seed germination issues -
I started a couple varieties of eggplant in peat seed starters (along with a bunch of other veggies) under a T5 grow light. The other items, especially the Kale and Tomatoes, germinated as expected, but the eggplants have not - looks like there may be mildew. Do eggplants need different starting conditions? Less moisture? Any help would be appreciated; there is still time to start a crop!

Eggplant seeds usually

By Almanac Staff

Eggplant seeds usually germinate in 7-14 days. They can be tricky. The seeds need warmth, ideally 75°F and if possible bottom heat to warm the soil. The seeds should be lightly covered with soil mix and bottom watering is prefered. For overhead watering use a very fine mist so that the seeds don't sink deep into the soil. Good luck!

We planted eggplant seeds

By Mary Jane Weber

We planted eggplant seeds (Hansel variety). Had four lovely plants, loads of blossoms throughout the summer and not one eggplant was produced. Puzzled as to what might have been wrong.

If your eggplants flowered

By Almanac Staff

If your eggplants flowered without fruit, that is usually due to temperature. They can't fruit in high heat. When the weather cools down in the fall, however, the fruit may set. Keep soil moist and use mulch to keep in the moisture.

Planted eggplant, but have a

By LITM

Planted eggplant, but have a heavy clay soil, and saw very little growth. Now they are about 18 inches tall and have flowered. Would they survive being transplanted now?

We only transplant eggplant

By Almanac Staff

We only transplant eggplant when we are setting seedlings in the garden.  Eggplant is an annual.  We've never transplanted once it's in growth mode and it is not recommended. If you try it, let us know what happens!
 
 
 
 
 

Can I plant eggplant plants

By Readytoplant

Can I plant eggplant plants in zone 4 in early october and expect a harvest before first frost?

No. Eggplant is a heat-loving

By Almanac Staff

No. Eggplant is a heat-loving plant and needs 60 to 80 days of warm weather to get to harvest!

I asked the owner of an

By Esther Nelson

I asked the owner of an Italian restaurant how I would know when my eggplants were ready to harvest (I had 3). He said when they are slightly soft to the touch. They never got larger than 4" and got yellow and were still hard. I cut one today, sliced and breaded it and fried the slices in fine olive oil. The first bite tasted fine, but as it hit the back of my tongue the taste was horribly bitter, and when I swallowed it my throat felt like I had taken a slurp of battery acid. After reading these comments, I know I should have cut them when they were still black. My question now is this: do they become toxic when left on the bush too long? When something tastes horrible, it seems that Mother Nature is saying, "Don't eat this." I did immediately toss out all the rest.

Eggplant does contain the

By Almanac Staff

Eggplant does contain the toxin solanine, as do other plants from the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes) but it is not poisonous.  Some readers, however, have reported sensitivity to solanine, especially when the eggplant is raw or lightly cooked--or, if they've eaten some other plants from the nightshade family in the same sitting.
Eggplant can be quite bitter, too, which is why we salt it. Salting releases the moisture which contains the bitterness, so you want to rinse off the eggplant and squeeze it dry before you prepare it.
Cooking eggplant transforms the taste and texture into something magical! It takes time, however, so the question is: learn to cook it yourself or go to an Italian restaurant? :-)

Ivr found that when growing

By yvonnr

Ivr found that when growing egg plants they nerd a lot of fish mulch this helps them to be come more sweet while growing I plant mine next to my pond and when cleaning out fillters they get that muk that is in the filter and they grow to 10 feet high produce 10 to 20 fruit every 3 to 4 days black beautys are the best for this

My egg plants turned black

By Charles F. Petri

My egg plants turned black and then turned yellow. They are about 5 to 6 inches long. Are they ready to harvest?

Eggplant is commonly

By Almanac Staff

Eggplant is commonly harvested when it is purple in color, glossy, and six to eight inches long. They turn yellow when mature and aren't as good to eat at that point.

Very helpful thank you

By elain perry

Very helpful thank you

Eggplants are looking shabby

By re6bec6ca6@gmail.com

My Eggplants leaves are turning yellow. They have gotten bushier..but look kinda droopy, I dont know if they do well around here or what..WV? I give them lots of water and I side dressed them with 10-10-10.. If anyone has tips for eggplants it would be awesome!!

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