A beautiful deep purple, eggplants are warm-weather vegetables usually grown as annuals, but are actually perennials. Also known as aubergine, eggplants can be grown in a traditional row garden or in containers. They make lovely ornamental borders, too.
Given their tropical and subtropical heritage, eggplants do require relatively high temperatures, similar to tomatoes and peppers (which are also in the nightshade family of vegetables). Like tomatoes, eggplants grow hanging from the vines of a plant that grows several feet in height.
Because they need warm soil, most gardeners either buy them as transplants or start them indoors about two months in advance. Raised plans enriched with composted manure are an ideal growing place for eggplants because the soil warms more quickly.
Though eggplants are usually a dark purple color, their color can vary, and so can the size and shape—from small- to large-fruited. Eggplants are harvested in mid- to late-summer and are a favorite grilling vegetable!