Delicious and full of health benefits, eggplant is a fairly easy fruit vegetable to grow as long as you follow a few basic principles. Here are the tips to follow to sow and cultivate eggplant in the rules of the art in order to benefit from its own harvest from August until the very beginning of autumn.
From the month of January we can start sow under cover eggplants and this sowing period lasts until avril. Just do the following:
- Fill buckets, small pots or even boxes with a mixture of 30% loosened garden soil and 70% well-sifted seed compost,
- Place in the substrate 2 to 3 eggplant seeds in each bucket or pot or sow on the fly in a box,
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of substrate,
- Spray for watering in fine rain so as not to dig up the seedlings,
- Place the container(s) at a temperature of 18°C, in a very bright room.
Then make sure to keep the soil moist. It can be noted that in the South of France, eggplant sowing can be carried out under chassis, outdoors. In all cases, as soon as the plants emerge, it is advisable tolightenwhich consists in keeping only the most vigorous ones.
It is then necessary to wait until the ground has been sufficiently warmed by the spring sun to reach a temperature of 12 to 13°C in order to transplant eggplant seedlings in place, when they have formed at least 5 leaves and therefore reached about fifteen centimeters in height.
The sowing directly in place take place as follows:
- Dig furrows spaced 60 cm from each other,
- Make holes in it every 50 cm,
- Place 2 or 3 seeds per hole,
- Cover the seedlings with loosened and light soil,
- Water in fine rain.
Here again, care must be taken to keep the soil moist by regular watering and, after emergence, keep only the vigorous feet.
Eggplant loves sols humifères riches in hummus, furniture, costs et well drained. She needs a sunny exposure to be able to benefit from a temperature higher than 18 or 19°C.
If you want to avoid sowing and thinning, you can go to a garden center in May to buy the eggplant seedling in bucket at transplant immediately in the vegetable garden. But eggplant being a chilly plant, sowing directly in the ground is possible only if the risk of frost has been eliminated. In many of our regions, it is therefore preferable to wait until mid-May, or even until the beginning of June. In the Mediterranean regions, it is less risky to sow aubergines in the ground at the beginning of May.
It can be noted that eggplant grows well in pots, good news for people who don’t have a garden, but have a sunny balcony. In this case, pots 40 cm high and 30-40 cm in diameter are used.
Caring for your eggplants in the garden
To taste the eggplants from the garden throughout the summer, thus enjoying an abundant harvest, it is enough to meet their needs.
Keep the soil moist by watering regularly, especially when it is very hot, the earth should never be dry, without wetting the leaves. This does not mean that it is necessary to drown its culture because the excess of humidity causes the rotting of the roots and can also be at the origin of diseases.
During the winter preceding the planting of eggplants, it is recommended to prepare the garden soil by burying a organic fertilizer. These fruit vegetables are greedy in nutrients. This is why the soil must be well amended before planting. Poor soil leads to deficiencies, which has an impact on the development of the plant and the size of its fruits.
In the garden, we can do two inputs of decomposed manure or complete organic fertilizer in granules during vegetation, the second to be carried out when the fruits are forming. The ideal is to bury the fertilizer at the foot by scratching the soil superficially. As for potted eggplants, they need their substrate to be enriched with a liquid tomato fertilizer every 7 or 8 days.
Laying a mulch as soon as the planting at the foot of the eggplants is very useful because it preserves good humidity and limits the development of weeds. As a result, we water a little less and we spend less time weeding. You can opt for linen sequins to a thickness of 5 to 8 cm. Opaque film or slate looted to a thickness of 3 to 4 cm are two other possible solutions. Flax chaff enriches the soil as it decomposes while film and slate help raise the temperature of the soil a little.
Stakes are installed as soon as the plants begin to develop. Then simply tie the twigs as they grow.
It is essential to prune the eggplant to benefit from a satisfactory harvest. This consists of:
- Remove suckers that develop at the base of the stem,
- Eliminate superfluous stems to keep only 4 branches maximum per foot,
- Remove faded, damaged or diseased leaves as you go,
- When flowers appear, pinch above the first,
- Keep a maximum of 4 new shoots that emerge under the flower, in the leaf axils, the others must be cut with delicacy,
- The preserved shoots will quickly become branches and in turn form flowers: in order to keep only 2 on each branch, we prune 1 cm above the leaf that overhangs the highest flower, which favors the occurrence of a sap stem that must be retained.
Then it remains to remove the new small stems that form because they would only exhaust the plant. By taking care to prune your eggplant plants at the right time, each plant can provide an average of 7 fruits.
During vegetation, one can carry out several pinches because it allows regular fruit set. We take care of keep the central rod.
For temperature reasons, the fruits appear later in the North of the Loire. In these regions, it is therefore preferable to keep only 6 to 8 aubergines per plant at the most so that they reach maturity before the drop in temperatures in late summer or early fall. The eggplants can thus all be harvested before they get cold.
Pests and diseases
In dry and hot weather, eggplant can be overgrown withmites plant ectoparasitescommonly referred to as red spidersand belonging to the family of Tetranychidae. These undesirables feed on plant sap, which leads to yellowing of the leaves. They can be eliminated naturally by spraying water (preferably non-calcareous) because humidity makes them disappear quickly.
The miner (Total absolute) is a moth originating in South America which, since its appearance in the Drôme in 2009, is omnipresent on our national territory. The leaf miner also attacks the tomato. It is a parasite to be eradicated without delay because it can destroy the entire eggplant crop. The use of an anti-insect net is a good preventive solution and weeding is imperative. To treat naturally, plants must be sprayed with rhubarb manure.
As to mildew, it is a disease favored by excessive humidity associated with heat. This is why care is taken from planting to space the plants so that they are sufficiently airy and care is taken thereafter to wet the foliage as little as possible during watering. As a preventive measure, a few sprays of Bordeaux mixture can be carried out. But any eggplant stalk affected by mildew must be immediately uprooted and burned. This reduces the risk of spreading this fungal disease common in the vegetable garden.
Harvest your eggplants
It is important to harvest eggplants as soon as they mature. Waiting too long will only cause the flesh to harden and the fruit to taste bitter. On the contrary, we must pick each fruit when it is violet, very firm, and as soon as the chalice opens. An eggplant that is too advanced becomes more or less brown. To harvest, the stem must be cut 2 cm above the calyx while holding the fruit so that it does not fall to the ground.
The eggplant should be consumed soon after harvest. It keeps well for 2 days at room temperature or up to 5 days in the fridge. For longer storage, it is better, for example, to freeze or cook it for storage in jars sterilized.