Eggplant

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How to grow Eggplant

Eggplant (Solanum melongena)

The Eggplant (Solanum melongena) (or aubergines) is a perennial shrub that reaches a height of 30 inches (80 cm). It belongs to the family of Solanaceae (the family of potatoes and tomatoes). Flowers have purple color and the fruit varies in size and shape, as there are many different varieties of eggplant. Eggplant has very high nutritional value, as it contains vitamins C, K, and B6, phosphorus, copper, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, and pantothenic acid. Eggplants also contain amounts of fiber, potassium and manganese.

Professional cultivation of Eggplant

Eggplants grow in a manner much like tomatoes, as they hang from the vines of a plant that grows several feet in height.

The eggplant thrives in a warm climate and a soil rich in nutrients. Cultivated in greenhouses and outdoors, it is eminently a summer plant. It is advisable to plant basil between the eggplant pants, as it helps in the pollination.

Sowing eggplant seeds can be done either in pots or seedbed (sow early spring), or directly on the ground (sowing in mid-spring- only for amateur cultivation). Of course, when cultivating professionally eggplant, we should first select carefully the variety that matches our preferences (egg shaped, long and skinny like a bean, drip shaped) and field characteristics, then sow the seeds in pots, then select carefully the most vigorous plants and finally transplant them in the field.

On average, there are about 6300 eggplant seeds per 1 oz. (220 seeds per gr.). We need about 9,5-10,5 oz. (280-300grams.) of eggplant seed per hectare. On early spring (20 February – 10 March), we carefully put 1-2 eggplant seeds per pot in depth of 0,2 inches (0,5 cm) and we cover lightly with soil.  We place the pots in a protective shelter, because eggplant plants are not resistant to frost. We water the pots every other day for 20-30 days. When the plants have become 5-7 inches (12-15 cm) in height, we collect the most vigorous plants and we transplant them. We leave a distance of 28 inches (70 cm) between rows and 17-23 inches (45-60 cm) between plants. We normally irrigate every 3-4 days. The soil should be well drained.

We must regularly irrigate our plants. We harvest 80-85 days after transplanting. Mature eggplants can be harvested almost daily.

Healthy and vigorous eggplants plants give an average yield of 35-60 tons per hectare.

Do you have experience in cultivating eggplant? Please share your experience, methods and practices in the comments below.

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