WHEN TO PLANT:
Tropical Climate / Subtropical Climate – August – February
Temperate Climate – September – December* After last frosts
Cooler Climate : October – November* After last frosts
PLANTING: Eggplants love well draining soil rich in organic matter and prefer full sun but will tolerate some shade. Eggplants need warm soil to germinate. I start them in seed trays in a warm place and then nurture the seedlings for a few weeks before planting out into the soil. In frost areas it is best to cover your plants with plastic bottles for protection until they become large enough and the frosts are over.
I plant my eggplants in rows keeping them 60-75cm apart as they can grow large in a good season. They also do well in pots.
WATER: Do not over water your eggplants as they are susceptible to root rot however do keep the soil moist. A decent watering two to three times a week and more when the weather is hot.
PESTS & FERTILIZER: Chilli sprays are great deterrent for foliage monsters and cayenne pepper dusted on leaves is a great option.
Flea Beetle, Aphids & Spider Mites – use a pyrethrum spray or a soapy
Caterpillars – use Dipel
COMPANION PLANTS: beans, basil and peas
WHEN TO HARVEST: Eggplants are ready 4 – 5 months after planting. The skin will become very glossy and the fruit will be heavy and firm. I use my finger like a hook and pull upwards to pick eggplants of the tree however a knife will do just as good to harvest the fruits. Be careful of the small thorns on the tops of the fruit.
NOTES: When plants get very large and are carrying many fruits it is best to stake them so they have support. Make sure to rotate your crops as they don’t like being planted in the same place each year. My favourite varieties is the Lebanese for its hardiness and longevity.