Eggplant Growing Guide

All you need to know to grow successfully!

Plant Family:
Solanaceae
Plant Type:
Perennial Grown as Annual
Growing Difficulty:
Medium
Typical Zones Grown In:
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Planting Depth:

5mm-1cm (¼-½”)
Maturity Time:
60
Companion Plants:
Bean, Marigold, Pea, Pepper, Spinach, Thyme

Planting Guidelines

The following are general guides to follow. However, nothing is set in stone. Feel free to experiment!

How to Start:
Direct Sow or Start Indoors if you want an extra challenge
When to Direct Sow:
Sprouting Time:
7-12
Spacing (cm):
45-60cm (18-24″)
Row Spacing (cm):
45-60cm (18-24″)

Square Foot Spacing:

1 Plants
Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Typical Season:
Warm season
When To Harvest:
July, August
How to Harvest:
Pinch off blossoms 2 to 4 weeks before first expected frost so that plants channel energy into ripening existing fruit, not producing new ones. Harvest the fruit anytime after the fruit reaches half of their size. Harvesting early prevents fruit from becoming too seedy, and will encourage more production from the plants. Do not pull the fruit off the plant, but cut it with scissors or secateurs, being careful to avoid any sharp spurs at the stem end.

Tips to Growing Organically

Growing without the use of pesticides and herbicides is easier than you may think and it’s better for the environment!

Companion Plants:
Bean, Marigold, Pea, Pepper, Spinach, Thyme
Common Pests:
Aphids – A hard spray of water can be used to remove aphids from plants. Wash off with water occasionally as needed early in the day. Check for evidence of natural enemies such as gray-brown or bloated parasitized aphids and the presence of larvae of lady beetles and lacewings. Flea beetles – Control weeds. Use row covers to help protect plants from early damage. Put in place at planting and remove before temperatures get too hot or plants start to flower. Colorado potato beetles – Handpick beetles, larvae and eggs. Cutworms – Use cardboard collars around transplants it cutworms are a problem.
Common Disease:
Verticillium wilt – This is the most serious disease of eggplant. Remove and destroy an entire infested plant, along with immediately surrounding soil and soil clinging to roots. Set into soil where you have never planted tomatoes, peppers, or strawberries Tobacco Mosaic Virus – Young growth is malformed and leaves are mottled with yellow. To prevent it, wash hands after handling tobacco before touching plants. Control aphids, which spread the disease.
Bonus Grow Tips:
Soil should have abundant phosphorus and calcium, so add lime and compost to the soil three weeks prior to planting. Mix ¼-½ cup of complete organic fertilizer into the soil beneath each transplant. Using a clear plastic cloche or floating row cover helps growth by increasing heat. Cool temperatures increase leafy growth, but prevent fruit set.

Eggplant, also known as aubergine, is a member of the nightshade family and is widely used in cooking around the world. It has a glossy, purple skin and a spongy, white flesh that is slightly bitter in taste. Eggplant can be cooked in a variety of ways, including grilling, roasting, frying, and baking, and is often used as a meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan dishes. It is a good source of fiber and antioxidants, such as vitamin C and phenolic compounds. Eggplant is a warm-season crop that prefers well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight.

Brief Growing Guide

  1. Soil Preparation: Eggplants grow well in loose, well-drained soil with a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5. Amend the soil with compost, aged manure or other organic matter to improve soil fertility.
  2. Planting: Start eggplant seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost. Once the seedlings have grown to about 4-6 inches tall, transplant them outside. Space plants 18-24 inches apart in rows that are 24-36 inches apart. You can also plant eggplant directly outdoors after the last frost date.
  3. Watering: Eggplants require consistent moisture to thrive. Water at the base of the plant, avoiding getting water on the leaves which can lead to fungal disease.
  4. Fertilization: Apply a balanced organic fertilizer or compost tea every 2-3 weeks throughout the growing season to promote healthy growth.
  5. Pest and Disease Control: Eggplants are susceptible to pests such as flea beetles, spider mites, and aphids. Use organic insecticides or companion planting with beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings to control pests. Fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and verticillium wilt can also affect eggplant. Use organic fungicides and avoid overhead watering to prevent fungal growth.
  6. Harvesting: Harvest eggplants when the fruits are firm and glossy, and have reached their full size. Cut the stem with a sharp knife or pruning shears, leaving a small piece of stem attached to the fruit. Store eggplants in the refrigerator until ready to use.

By following these steps, you can successfully grow healthy and delicious eggplants organically.

 

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