Are you looking for the best tricks for growing great eggplant?
While it’s not super popular, there are a few things going for eggplant. It’s healthy. It’s purple and colorful. And it’s really really easy to grow.
I grow mine from transplants I start in my house. The plants do beautifully this way. I’ll explain why I do that in a little bit. Here’s what else I’ll talk about here.
In this post, I’m going to give you:
- The Best Tricks for Growing Great Eggplant
- Some common problems growing eggplant you might face
- Did you know that these popular veggies are relatives of eggplant?
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This funky purple veggie requires warm weather to grow well. It’s a summer crop that needs to be planted into warmer soils. It can be stressed easily just like tomatoes and peppers.
You can get several types of varieties of eggplant to grow in your garden. These include:
- Small Eggplant
- Large Eggplant
- Elongated Eggplant
- Purple Striped Eggplant
Just to name a few. Here are the names of some of these varieties.
Best Varieties to Grow
For the large purple oval varieties, you can find:
- Black Beauty (I grow this one – Get Seeds Here!)
- Black Magic
- White Beauty.
For popular elongated types, you can find:
- Long Tom
- Short Tom
- Slim Jim
When choosing a variety, you’ll need to keep in mind your growing conditions in your area. Let’s talk about some of those next that eggplant thrive in.
How to Grow Eggplant From Seed
The only way I’ve ever grown eggplant is starting it from seed inside. Again, this is because they require warm soil. Sometimes, Kansas weather is totally unpredictable. So, I like to stay ahead by starting it indoors and then transplanting it in May.
Or when the soil is warm enough.
The other reason why I grow transplants is because eggplants are really prone to diseases and insect problems. They can carry eggs or diseases from other greenhouses into your garden.
So, I learned the hard way that starting my own is really better than buying plants.
When to Plant Eggplant Transplants
Since eggplant is a warm season crop, it loves warm temperatures. So, it needs to be transplanted in at least 60-70 degree Fahrenheit soil and weather. Otherwise it will stress easy and you’ll have lots of problems with your plants.
Eggplant planting time is very similar to peppers and tomatoes. Like them, eggplant is very sensitive to cold temperatures and will not grow well in cool conditions.
When you’re ready to plant eggplant, take your transplants to the garden. Simply dig a hole, carefully remove a seedling from the container without destroying the root system, and plant it into the hole. Cover the root system completely with soil. Then, water well. Consider using soaker hoses like these so you can soak the plant at the ground level.
Set plants about 2 feet apart in the row. If you have more than one row of eggplant, set them in rows at least 3 feet apart. Eggplants also need consistant weed control but they grow really well planting in black plastic like this for low-maintenance weed control.
Care for your Eggplant Plants
I’ve mentioned watering. A good soaking in hot weather is very beneficial to eggplant – especially while it’s producing little baby eggplants. Eggplants will thrive in hot, dry conditions but it’s important to keep in mind some other things as well.
A very strong plant is necessary to support the babies and protect them from sunburning. You want to see dark purple (or white depending on variety) babies that are beautiful, plump and healthy. The care of the leaves are super important to maintain.
Because insects are incredibly damaging to those big beautiful leaves. Many leaf-feeding insects will nearly defoliate the plants in only a short time. I’ve seen it happen myself and it’s not a good sight at all. Believe me.
So, regular inspection and insect control measures are very necessary.
Now, you can enjoy seeing your eggplant plants grow and thrive all through the season until harvest.
How to Harvest Eggplant
What to look for in a good eggplant that is ready to pick? Well, it needs to be true to it’s variety. Small ones should be small at harvest. Large ones should be larger.
Elongated ones should be nice and long.
As a rule of thumb, though, select firm fully sized fruit that have a slightly soft tough with a bright and glossy skin.
Also, the stem that attaches the babies to the plant is very tough and woody, so you’ll want to use pruning shears like these to cut those babies loose. Also, pick up and discard overgrown or damaged fruit to keep plants productive.
Your plants will produce for months given the right care.
Flea beetles and other leaf-feeding insects can be detrimental to eggplant leaves early on. You’ll need to be watching leaves very closely. Watch for holes and little tiny black insects on the leaves.
You can easily spray organically or commercially for these. Commercially, we use Sevin and it kills the black flea beetles easily. We normally only need to spray one time as well.
If you’re into organic practices, you can use beneficial insects or wildlife to control flea beetles. Or you could use Neem Oil directly on the leaves to see if that will help take control.
Relatives of Eggplant
Have you figured out who eggplant is related to? Ding Ding Ding!
Eggplant is a close cousin to peppers and tomatoes! Obviously, I mentioned several times how the eggplant growing season is very similar to that of peppers and tomatoes:
- Warm Season Lovers
- Can be stressed easily
- Grow their little veggies above ground and keep on producing for as long as you let them.
With this said, why not try to grow eggplant? Not only is it good for you, but it’s fun to eat as well. You can slice and bake, make eggplant Parmesan, slice and fry or just slice and toss onto a pizza. The possibilities are endless.
I’ll be linking to a post in the future for some recipes. Until then, what are some of your favorite recipes for eggplants?
~ Much Love ~
What are some of your best tricks for growing great eggplant? What are some common problems growing eggplant you have faced?
Please feel free to answer in the comments.