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Grow Eggplants!

 

 


eggplantThese plump, often purple, veggies are believed to have originated in India and are known for their meaty texture. They are used throughout the world in various dishes from China, to Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Oddly enough, folks here in the U.S. and Europe once thought they were poisonous plants belonging to the nightshade family (Solanacae). Thank goodness they were wrong!

Eggplant seedlings can be difficult to start, but you do have a larger variety to choose from. If you’d like to buy a transplant, you’ll need a spot with at least 6-8 hours of warm sunshine. Transplant eggplants at a temperature of at least 70 degrees fahrenheit during the day, and at least 45 degrees at night.
 
Fertilize your soil well and plant them 2 feet apart. Water them weekly. Remember to mulch the surrounding area properly to prevent weeds, and to maintain soil temperature.

Once eggplants begin to grow and mature you will need to stake the plants or cage them for added support and proper growth.

Beware of beetles, common pests of eggplants – fabric row covers can help with this issue. Spraying the plants with water in the morning can help with mites and aphids, or you can try an organic insecticidal soap.

What eggplant variety should I grow in a container or in a smaller urban area? Try ‘Hansel’ and ‘Gretel’ – these varieties are perfect for smaller spaces. For common, western varieties, try ‘Black Beauty’ or ‘Florida High Bush.’

Have fun and happy gardening!

 

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