How to Plant & Germinate Eggplant : Garden Seed Starting
Eggplant (Solanum melongena) is a species of nightshade commonly known in British English as aubergine and also known as melongene, garden egg, or guinea squash. It is known in South Asia, Southeast Asia and South Africa as brinjal. It bears a fruit of the same name (commonly either “eggplant” in American and Australian English or “aubergine” in British English) that is widely used in cooking, most notably as an important ingredient in dishes such as moussaka and ratatouille. As a member of the genus Solanum, it is related to both the tomato and the potato. It was originally domesticated in India and Bangladesh from the wild nightshade, the thorn or bitter apple, S. incanum.
Botanical name: Solanum melongena
Plant type: Vegetable
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Spider Mites
- Tomato Hornworms
- Downy and Powdery Mildew
- Eggplant fruit may not ripen properly due to cold temperatures, pest damage, or infertile soils.
- 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.
- ‘Black Beauty’
- ‘Easter Egg’
- ‘Little Fingers’
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.