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Grow-How

Growing Eggplants Successfully

Eggplants are relatively easy to grow, but there are a few rules....

  • Eggplants do not like to be cold, at any time. Never, ever. They are almost more sensitive than chiles!
    Plant when night temperatures will stay above 60 degrees. 55 degress is ok, but not the best.
    Eggplant leaves will wilt, and look very poorly if they get cold. Heat/Sun will cure them.
  • Eggplants grow best when the soil is moist, but never wet. Not too wet, nor too dry, but moist.
  • Nasty pests like flea beetles will attack more if the ground is too dry or too hot. Be sure to mulch with a 5 inch layer of a grass-type mulch like straw to keep the soil moist and cool. Feed with Granular Organic fertilizer to grow thru the attack.
  • Eggplants are heavy feeders. They love our Granular Organic fertilizer, and will produce lots of big and beautiful eggplants. We get so many eggplants!
  • Eggplants need to be staked or caged. Especially the larger fruiting varieties.

  • When and How Do I Transplant My Eggplant Plants?

    Plant when night temperatures stay above 60 degrees for eggplants. 55 degrees is ok, but not the best.
    Eggplants will perform poorly if they get cold at night; any 40s is detrimental.

    Plant in the evening, or on a cloudy day. Pick a spot that receives lots of sun, is well-drained, and has good air circulation.
    In regions with high summer temps, locate plants where they will receive shade from hot late afternoon sun.

    At the nursery, we soak the roots/soil/pot with a solution of 2 Tablespoons each of fish emulsion and seaweed for 5 minutes and plant immediately.Then, no more water. The plants are already wet. Use excess soaking liquid on other plants.

    Dig a hole bigger than the size of pot. Roots prefer loose soil. Make a cone shaped mound at the bottom of the hole.

    Remove plant from pot by gently squeezing the sides and bottom. Put your fingers on top of soil, with the stem between your fingers. Turn the pot over, and gently tap the bottom of the pot; the entire plant and root ball should slide out easily.

    With a knife or your fingers, cut an "X" approx.1 inch deep in the bottom of the root ball. Turn the plant stem side up, and gently extend the 4 "legs" down, so that all the roots are now pointing down.

    Place the transplant into the hole straddling the cone shaped mound of soil, with the legs pointing in 4 directions (North, East, South and West).

    Backfill. Gently pat down the soil

    Ring plants with Granular Organic fertilizer and scratch in.
    Eggplants LOVE our Granular Organic fertilizer, and by using it, you will have a plethora of eggplants!

    Cover soil with a thick 5 inch layer of a grass type mulch like straw. Or hay on top of sections of newspaper. By using mulch you will not need to water. Weeds won’t grow. Plants are happy. You're done!


    When and How Do I Fertilize My Eggplant Plants?

    We use organic fertilizers on all of our plants.

    Organic fertilizers promote the good bacteria and soil microorganisms which are essential for good plant health. They encourage earthworms and other soil organisms which are good at aerating and loosening the soil. They make soils better and better each year! This is the way to grow.

    Inorganic fertilizers damage the soil, contribute to nitrogen runoff which pollutes our rivers, as well as repel the good organisms which we need for healthy soils. Stick with organic fertilizers!

    Granular Organic fertilizer is the best for eggplant production. We get soooo many!! It is a dry product that offers longer term nutrition, and especially helpful in wet seasons. To facilitate increased production, transplants need solid food to encourage rapid but strong growth. We LOVE it. The eggplants LOVE it.

    Seaweed aka Kelp#3 is wonderful for all plants, to keep them healthy. Use 2 Tablespoons per gallon of water, once a week for 3 weeks ( the 1st application is the soak immediatley prior to planting), then monthly. Seaweed is full of many micronutrients, a sort of multivitamin for plants. It also helps combat the stresses that plants are subjected to, such as heat, drought, and insect attack. It is wonderful stuff!

    Granular Organic fertilizer is wondeful for eggplants. They love it. Also necessary for container grown plants that are watered more frequently, leaching away nutrition. We topdress this fertilizer (4 Tablespoons per plant) at the dripline of the plant in our planting beds and in our larger containers, and find that it increases our yields tremendously.

    We also use Granular Organic fertilizer while up-potting to get the plants larger quicker. Info about up-potting.

    The key factor for an abundant harvest is proper fertilization.


    What Eggplant Plants Would Do Best In My Area?

    Most eggplants will do well in most areas of the country.
    In areas that have a short growing season, we recommend Early Season varieties. These are varieties that produce in the shortest amount of time, or early in the season. In short growing season areas it is very helpful to keep your plants actively growing by using organic fertilizers before, during and after planting out.


    When Is The Best Time To Plant Eggplants In My Area?

    Plant eggplants when night temps will stay above 60 degrees. Eggplants need very warm soil.

    Young plants thrive on warm soil, especially at night, when they grow. Young plants hate being cold. They catch a chill that stresses them and makes them more susceptible to disease. Planting too early will produce very unsatisfactory results. this will actually lose you time to harvest, as the plants are set back and may become "stunted" which means that they don't die but they don't grow. Never plant early.

    See our Safe Planting Date Map to know when to plant. Never plant early. Nights above 55 degrees, better 60 degrees for eggplants.

    To warm your soil, place black or clear plastic down where your garden will be, a few weeks before planting, to allow the sun to heat up the soil. Not necessary, but helpful.

    If you need to hold for more than a week or so, up-pot the plants into a slightly larger 4-6 inch pot using potting soil (we DO NOT recommend Miracle Gro Potting Mix), and keep dry. If they will remain in these larger pots for more than 2-3 weeks, fertilize with low levels of organic fertilizer weekly.


    How Do I Get The Soil Ready For Planting?

    Healthy plants need healthy soil. The extra effort put into preparing the soil will be repaid handsomely with extra health and yield of the plant.

    For a new garden, dig at least 12 inches deep and add lots of organic matter. This includes compost, shredded dried leaves, peat moss and dehydrated cow manure. Don't skimp on the organic matter.

    For existing gardens, do not plant eggplants (and/or tomatoes and/or peppers) in the same spot more than once every 3 years. This lessens the chance of your plants becoming susceptible to disease.

    If planting in the same location every year, you must add lots of organic matter to your garden every year, more than the amount of production that you took from your garden the year before. Don't skimp on organic matter.

    Extremely helpful is our Granular Organic fertilizer, which will add essential nutrients to your garden and make up for any soil deficiencies. 


    How Far Apart Should I Plant My Eggplant Plants?

    We plant our Eggplant plants 24" apart, with rows 30" apart.

    Be sure that you either stake, cage, fence or otherwise keep your plants from falling on the ground. Some eggplant varieties produce large and heavy fruit. It is important to support the plants to keep fruits from laying on the ground.

    Allow air to completely circulate your plants, and do not let them turn into a jungle. Remove lower leaves if necessary.

    Never allow smokers to touch your eggplant plants, as Tobacco Mosaic Virus is passed this way.

    Do not work around or tend your eggplant plants when they are wet from either rain or dew.

    Next: Starting Seeds Successfully >

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