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Eggplant are Also Known As…
Eggplant or aubergine is a fruit in the nightshade family, closely related to the tomato and potato. It is a perennial in its native tropical climate, but treated as an annual in more temperate zones.
Different varieties of the plant produce fruit of different size, shape, and color, ranging from white to yellow or green, to reddish-purple and dark purple (though purple is most common). Commonly used in cooking, the raw fruit tends to have a somewhat bitter taste, but becomes tender and develops a rich, complex flavor when cooked.
Grow eggplant by starting seeds indoors in early spring. Scatter your seeds in a small pot or seed tray to start, covering with a light sprinkling of soil. Seeds should take 7 – 12 days to sprout. I personally use this Pro Mix Organic Seed Starter Mix when starting my seeds. It’s top quality stuff that the pros use, so you really can’t go wrong with it!
You want to avoid using regular garden soil when starting seeds because it contains all sorts of large matter, bacteria, and bugs which can hinder your new seedlings from sprouting or growing properly. A good seed starting mix has a fine texture and is sterile — a perfect combination for baby plants to thrive in.
You can get a head start growing eggplant indoors if you supplement it with a grow light.
I use this Sunblaster Grow Light Garden to start my seeds indoors in early spring. It’s nice and compact, and will provide full-spectrum light to your little seedlings so they grow up strong and healthy.
I also use it to grow lots of fresh herbs and greens indoors during the long winter months when it’s too cold to grow anything outside. It is definitely one of my favorite purchases!
If you have limited indoor space I recommend the Sunblaster Micro Grow Light Garden. It’s the small version of the one I use and linked to above and will do the job just as well.
When seedlings are at least 2 cm tall, they can be transplanted into larger individual pots. Eggplants require large pots to do well, ideally in containers that are 45-60 cm (18-24″) in diameter, or 3 to 5 gallons in volume.
To eliminate the guesswork in selecting the right size containers for your plants, we’ve put together a list of commonly grown herbs, veggies, fruit and flowers along with the minimum pot sizes required by each.
Starting a container garden? Grab my free guide on choosing the best sized pots for each veggie, fruit, and herb in your container garden – Veggie Garden Potting Guide
Keep well watered. Water when the top 1″ of soil is dry to the touch.
Where Can I Grow It?
Grow eggplant in a warm sunny location, as they do the best in hot summer weather. Under cool conditions, the plant will put out leafy growth, but will not produce much fruit without warm temperatures.
Eggplant Growing Tips
When to harvest: You can check if your eggplants are ripe by looking at the skin under the green-star like stem. If it’s green, it’s not quite ripe yet. If it’s white, it’s ready to be picked!
A ripe eggplant will have a little give when squeezed, but is not overly soft. If you pick it and it has too many seeds inside, that means it is over ripe and needs to be picked earlier next time!
Picking fruit encourages the plant to keep on producing more, so keep your eggplant well picked for maximum production.
Marigold especially will help to repel pests that like to infest and feed on eggplants.