The end of March and the beginning of April are the ideal time to plant eggplants indoors. Plants obtained in this way can be transplanted to the vegetable garden in late May or June, depending on the region.
It is clear that it is possible to grow eggplant in the ground, but since this vegetable is especially demanding in the sun and heat, the results can sometimes be better when grown in a container.
Photo courtesy, Johnny’s Selected Seeds
‘Gretel’ is a surprisingly thick cultivar with small, soft, slightly sweet, white-skinned fruits. Each group of flowers can produce three to six elongated fruits.
Eggplant seeds should be sown indoors in early April, about eight weeks before planting in the vegetable garden. Since eggplant plants do not like transplanting, it is best to place the seeds in individual pots or in a container consisting of several small compartments filled with a vase mixture consisting of compost, sphagnum moss and perlite. Sow two to three seeds for division to ensure at least one seedling is formed. Seeds should be placed at a depth of 6 mm (1/4 in). Then water the soil abundantly with lukewarm water.
Photo courtesy, Happy Acres
The ‘Patio Baby’ cultivar is ideal for growing in containers and produces berries in just 45 days.
The optimum temperature for eggplant seed germination is between 26 and 30 ° C. To keep the substrate warm, you can place the seedling pots on a mattress or heating wire. Keep only one plant for division by cutting the others with scissors. For the first two or three weeks, do not hesitate to cover the seedlings with a transparent plastic dome to maintain a good moisture level. Open or remove the dome when condensation forms on the walls.
Photo courtesy, PanAm Seeds
The ‘Fairy Tale’ cultivar yields elongated purple fruits, with white stripes, between 7 and 10 cm long. This variety of eggplant is suitable for growing in containers.
About three weeks after germination, when the first two true leaves are well formed, you can transplant the seedlings planted in a container with several divisions in pots 10 cm (4 in) in diameter, taking care to bury the stalk their a few inches below the ground. niveli. After the first transplant, keep the temperature between 21 and 23 ° C day and night until the moment of transplant in the garden.
Photo courtesy, Harris Seeds
The early cultivar ‘Little Fingers’ gives excellent results in northern climates like ours.
Eggplants also need a lot of light to grow and develop well. Since light is generally quite low in our homes, it is often necessary for seedlings to be installed under an artificial lighting system that operates with light emitting diodes created specifically for plant growth.
Planting in the ground
Plants should be planted in rich, loose, well-drained soil, placed in a warm, very sunny place, well protected from prevailing winds.
Transplanting these plants in the vegetable garden should be carried out then when the soil of the vegetable garden is well warmed, one or two weeks after the moment when there is practically no risk of frost.
Whether you made your own seeds or bought them from a garden center, before planting, remember to plant your plants for a few days before planting.
Photo courtesy, Specialty Production
‘Applegreen’ is a compact cultivar that produces round fruits, peeled in apple green, with a rich, slightly bitter aroma. Excellent production in the northern regions as well.
Change the soil where you plant them with compost and add a slow-release natural fertilizer – two to three handfuls per plant – that has a formulation closer to 5-3-8. In addition, it is recommended to place a black wrapper on the surface of the soil where the eggplants are placed. This affects the increase of soil temperature and its maintenance between 27 and 32 ° C. Then you just have to cut the plastic with a knife and place the plants in the holes provided.
Mini eggplants grown on the terrace
Photo courtesy, Albert Mondor
In recent years several mini eggplant cultivars have been developed that are perfectly adapted to grow in containers.
Very productive but less demanding than large fruit cultivars, some low-growing eggplant cultivars have been bred especially for growing containers in the yard, deck and balconies.
It is recommended that these eggplants be grown in large pots, ideally black in color to maintain a high soil temperature. Make sure the potting soil you use contains a lot of compost and do not hesitate to add a mycorrhizal fungus and a few handfuls (100 ml per plant) of a slow-release granular fertilizer, rich in nitrogen and potassium (formulation approaching 5-3 – 8). In addition, water your eggplant plants regularly in pots, twice a week during the summer period.