Eggplant (Solanum melongena) is one of the many vegetables you can grow in your garden, but the plant is very sensitive to cold. When deciding to grow eggplants, remember that they are similar to peppers and tomatoes. In fact, they’re in the same family. They should be planted after the chance of any sort of frost. Otherwise, growing eggplant will be impossible, as the frost destroys them.
How to Plant Eggplant
When growing eggplant, remember that planting eggplant from seed should start indoors or in a greenhouse setting. This protects the new little seedlings from any sort of frost.
When planting eggplant, if you plant them too early, you will risk hurting the plant. The soil needs to be warm before you put them outdoors. Too early and the cold soil will kill the roots of the plants. Eggplant is more sensitive than tomatoes to the cold.
Where to Plant Eggplant
When you are thinking about where to plant eggplant, think about your gardening space as eggplants need lots of space. When planting eggplant, put them about 18 inches apart in the row, and the rows need to be about 30 inches apart if not more. This requires quite a large area.
Fertilize your eggplants after you transplant the seedlings. Also, mid-season, when growing eggplants, side-dress plants with nitrogen.
Planting eggplant is best when you can expect most growth to happen during the summer. Eggplants thrive during the summertime heat, making the biggest fruits during this part of the growing season.
Also, be sure during the summer heat that you water frequently and make sure the soil stays somewhat moist. Don’t let the plants dry out or you will not get the results you would like.
When to Pick an Eggplant
You’ll know when to pick an eggplant when you see that it is 6 to 8 inches long. Be sure when picking your eggplant that you use a knife and don’t just twist or break the eggplant off the stems, which can harm the plants.
Young eggplants are always best because if they get too old, the plant is spongy, bitter and not as tasty. The young ones have the best flavor.
So long as you know the growing season and best conditions for growing eggplants, you’ll find that knowing when to pick an eggplant will come naturally. Follow these simple rules when thinking about, “How do I grow eggplant,” and your crop will do just fine.
Learning when to harvest eggplants results in the tastiest and most tender of the fruit. Leaving the eggplant harvest too long causes bitter eggplant with a tough skin and large seeds. Learning how to harvest an eggplant correctly comes with practice, but it shouldn’t take long before you’re picking an eggplant like a pro.
When to Harvest Eggplants
A member of the nightshade family and a relative of tomatoes, the appearance of the skin can direct you to picking an eggplant. Skin should be glossy and thin. Eggplant harvest may begin when the fruits are developed and small, but growing fruits to full size before harvesting eggplants results in more fruit for usage.
Harvesting eggplants should occur when the inner flesh is cream colored, fruits are firm and before seeds are visible. Learning when to harvest eggplants may require cutting into the fruit to check the color of the flesh and the size of the seeds. Skin color and size of the fruit will also determine when the eggplant harvest should begin.
When you’ve learned how to harvest an eggplant, less cutting into the fruit is necessary. You’ll be able to determine when to begin the eggplant harvest by just looking at the fruit.
Picking an Eggplant
Once you’ve determined that it’s time to start the eggplant harvest, wear gloves and long sleeves, as the eggplant stem has prickles, which can irritate the skin.
When harvesting eggplants, treat the fruit gently, as it bruises easily. Harvesting eggplants includes cutting a short piece of stem above the calyx (cap) attached to the top of the fruit. Use pruners or a sharp knife.
Harvesting eggplants at their prime may take several days to a few weeks in succession, and frequent eggplant harvest promotes heavier yield of the fruit.