How to grow eggplant in a vegetable garden

Eggplant growing tips

This article will give you tips on how to grow eggplant in a vegetable garden. Eggplant is quite tender perennial grown as an annual. It needs 100 to 140 warm days with conditions regularly between 70 and 90 ºF to achieve crop. The vegetable is best started inside and later transplanted to the garden. Plant eggplants indoors 6 to 2 months before setting plants to the garden.

Eggplant is a little- to mid-sized bush vegetable that creates smooth, glossy skinned fruits which will vary in length from 5 to 12 inches long. It has big, fuzzy, grayish green leaves and create star shaped lavender blossoms with yellow centers. They could grow 2 to 6 legs tall, depending upon the variety.

Favorable soils to grow

Eggplant is not specific about the land it grows in, but may grow best in well-drained soil full of organic matter. It prefers a soil pH of 5.5 to 6. It grows best where day conditions are between 80 and 90 ºF and nighttime conditions between 70 and 80 ºF. The vegetable is best started inside six to eight weeks before transplanting to the garden. Set transplants in the garden no earlier than 2 to 3 weeks following the typical date of last frost in spring, or when day temperatures regularly achieve 70 ºF. This vegetable planted too soon won’t develop. They need up to 150 frost free days to achieve crop.

How to grow eggplant seeds

Sow eggplant seed to inches deeply spaced 4 to 5 inches apart. Thin plants to 6 inches apart in case the climate will not permit transplanting before plants grow five to six inches tall. Set the plants to the garden 18 to 24 inches apart. They require evenly damp soil to guarantee the best and fastest growth. After the soil is heated, mulch around eggplants to retain soil humidity and a level growing temperature. This vegetable is a heavy feeder. Make planting beds with aged compost and side dress eggplants with compost tea every 2 or 3 weeks during till the fruits has set.

Care and maintenance

Protect eggplants from unexpected late frost. Protect during the nighttime until all danger of frost is past. Where conditions grow hot in the summertime to 100 ºF or greater, protect eggplants with shade protecting. Plants may grow in pots at least one foot across and as deep. Container grown eggplants are often moved out of cold temperatures, so that you may extend the season in spring and fall by moving plants inside when frost threatens. Eggplants may be assaulted by cutworms, tomato hornworms, spider mites, flea beetles, Colorado potato bugs, and aphids. Hand pick hornworms off the plants, control aphids and beetles by hand picking or hosing them off the plant and plucking the infested areas.

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