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Growing Aubergines (Eggplants)

How to grow Aubergines/Eggplants in pots, containers, garden beds and allotments

 

Aubergine (Eggplant)

Family/Latin Name

Solanaceae - Solanum melongena

Type of Plant

Fruiting - Crop Rotation Group = Others

Suitable for

Pots, Containers, Garden Beds, Allotments, Greenhouses


Pests & Diseases    Companion Plants    In the Kitchen

See also:-  Vegetable Growing Glossary  |    Container Growing  | Buying Seeds & Plants

  

 

Plant Dimensions

Height - Up to 75cm/ 30"   - Spread Up to 60cm/2ft

Yield per plant 1.8-2.2kg/4-5lb

Time between sowing and harvesting

About 20 weeks

Sowing time

Late Feb - April - temperature  +18C/64F

Where to Sow

Indoors in small pots 7.5cm/3" diameter filled with compost. 

How to Sow

2 seeds per pot - 6mm/¼" deep. Germination takes up to 21 days

After Germination

Remove the weakest seedling

Growing on - under glass Once the plants are established with a good root system,  pot up individual plants into 20cm/8" containers (min) or 2 per growbag, in the greenhouse. Pinch out growing tips when plants reach 30cm/12" . Stake plants.

Growing on - in Pots

Harden off plants and finally move outdoors once all danger of frost has passed. Once the plants are established with a good root system,  pot up individual plants into 20cm/8" containers (min) or 2 per growbag, in a hot sheltered sunny position. Pinch out growing tips when plants reach 30cm/12-inches. Stake plants.

Growing on -  open ground

As above but plant  in beds or borders 45cm/ 18" apart. 

Aftercare

Water regularly, but do not keep the compost very wet. Fine spraying of plants with water  helps encourage fruit to set. Limit to 5 or 6 fruits per plant. Once the fruit start to swell, feed with tomato food  each time you water. 

Harvesting

Cut fruit as needed  once they have reach a good size and colour (between 10-17cm/4-7" depending on the variety)  but before the shine disappears from the skin. Crops over about 8 weeks.

Pests and Diseases

Companion Plants

Red Spider Mite
Indications First sign is that the leaves may look pale and mottled. Particularly in greenhouse grown plants.
Treatment Organic
1. Wash them off with a hose.
2. Spray them with soft soap.
3. Sprays containing pyrethrum every 5-7 days on the upper and lower sides of the leaves.
Prevention Difficult. Try keeping the atmosphere humid.
 
Aphids
Indications Leaves distorted, yellowing and stunted
Treatment Organic
Spray with a weak solution of soapy water
Use water through a hosepipe to knock the aphids off the plants
Chemical
Spray with an insecticide containing Fenitrothion
Prevention None

 Companion Flower Graphic

Marigold, Tarragon, Mint

If you know aphids are a problem in your area, grow flowers such as nasturtiums, calendula asters,  dahlias, and zinnias nearby (but not too close) as aphids find them attractive so they act as a lure.

 

To learn more about companion planting click here.

In the Kitchen

Storage:  Wrap in paper towels. Refrigerate in the crisper drawer for up to 6 days

Preparing:  Rinse with cold water. Cut off the stalk to 1cm/½-inch or remove completely if required. There is no need to peel. As the flesh can be a little bitter,  sprinkling cut slices liberally with salt and leaving for 20 minutes (known as "degorging") can remove much of the bitterness and draws out some moisture.

Also,  as the flesh is capable of absorbing large amounts of fats,  this salting process can reduce its absorption rate as well as preventing discolouration. Rubbing cut surfaces with lemon juice also prevents discolouration.

Cooking: Can be boiled, steamed, baked, roasted, micro waved, fried & sautéed. Also Excellent stuffed.

For more preparation and cooking information about aubergines (eggplants)  plus lots of  recipes visit our sister site www.recipes4us.co.uk.

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