Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Growing Eggplant from Seed to Harvest

Welcome to another installment of our 2014 Planting Guide!  I just transplanted a few eggplant seedlings into the garden today.  Being in South Florida we get a jump on "spring" planting.  If you'd like more growing info please feel free to sign up for our free e-newsletter. 

Eggplants can grow 2 to 6 feet tall, depending on the variety.  Eggplants take 60-80 days to mature depending on the variety.  Grow eggplant in full sun. Eggplant is not particular about the soil it grows in but will grow best in well-drained soil rich in organic matter.
When to Plant Eggplant
Eggplant is sensitive to cold (and extreme heat). It grows best where day temperatures are between 80° and 90°F and night temperatures between 70° and 80°F. Eggplant is best started indoors (or on a patio if it's warm enough) 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting into the garden.  Do not set eggplants out until daytime temperatures are in the 70° F range.

Starting Eggplant from Seed
I recommend soaking your seeds in water for up to 24 hours.  This can increase the amount of seeds that germinate and how quickly they sprout.  Use organic potting soil if you are seed-starting indoors or in small containers to be transplanted outside.  Sow eggplant seed ¼ to ½ inch deep spaced 4 to 5 inches apart.  Most eggplant seeds germinate in 6-12 days.

How to Plant Eggplant
Thin plants to 6 inches apart if the weather does not allow transplanting before plants grow 5 to 6 inches tall.  Set eggplants into the garden 18 to 24 inches apart. Space rows 24 to 36 inches apart.

Tips for Growing Eggplant
Do not over water or allow the soil to dry out. Once the soil has warmed, mulch around eggplants to retain soil moisture and an even growing temperature. Eggplants are heavy feeders prepare planting beds with aged compost and side dress eggplants with compost tea every 2 or 3 weeks during until the fruit has set.

Eggplant is easily grown in containers. Plants will grow in pots at least 12 inches across and as deep. Choose a smaller growing variety.
Companion Planting for Eggplants
Plant eggplant with amaranth, beans, peas, spinach, tarragon, thyme and marigold. Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family and does well with peppers as they like the same growing conditions.

How to prepare those Eggplants
I like to prepare eggplant by slicing thin rounds, grilling lightly on either side, drizzled with olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper.  It's SO EASY!!

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Unknown said...

Eggplant! Forgotten to add that to my list of things to grow this year. Thanks for the reminder and the howto! Greetings from yes-sunny Brighton!

Barb said...

I love growing eggplant. We never have issues with bugs or wildlife. The only issue is that I'm the one in the family that eats eggplant; no one else does. :(

Unknown said...

I LOVE eggplant. I'm going to have to grow some ;)

Unknown said...

I love eggplant but have never had much luck growing them in Vermont, I keep trying. Thanks for sharing your post on the HomeAcre Hop. Hope to see you again tomorrow! - Nancy The Home Acre Hop