Eggplants can grow 2 to 6 feet tall, depending on the variety. Eggplants take 60-80 days to mature depending on the variety. Grow eggplant in full sun. Eggplant is not particular about the soil it grows in but will grow best in well-drained soil rich in organic matter.
Eggplant is sensitive to cold (and extreme heat). It grows best where day temperatures are between 80° and 90°F and night temperatures between 70° and 80°F. Eggplant is best started indoors (or on a patio if it's warm enough) 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting into the garden. Do not set eggplants out until daytime temperatures are in the 70° F range.
Starting Eggplant from Seed
I recommend soaking your seeds in water for up to 24 hours. This can increase the amount of seeds that germinate and how quickly they sprout. Use organic potting soil if you are seed-starting indoors or in small containers to be transplanted outside. Sow eggplant seed ¼ to ½ inch deep spaced 4 to 5 inches apart. Most eggplant seeds germinate in 6-12 days.
How to Plant Eggplant
Thin plants to 6 inches apart if the weather does not allow transplanting before plants grow 5 to 6 inches tall. Set eggplants into the garden 18 to 24 inches apart. Space rows 24 to 36 inches apart.
Tips for Growing Eggplant
Do not over water or allow the soil to dry out. Once the soil has warmed, mulch around eggplants to retain soil moisture and an even growing temperature. Eggplants are heavy feeders prepare planting beds with aged compost and side dress eggplants with compost tea every 2 or 3 weeks during until the fruit has set.
Eggplant is easily grown in containers. Plants will grow in pots at least 12 inches across and as deep. Choose a smaller growing variety. Eggplant is considered a "heavy feeder" so it is a good idea to add homemade compost and/or organic soil amendments to your garden prior to planting. One option is to feed with Organic Alfalfa Meal Tea.
Companion Planting for Eggplants
Plant eggplant with amaranth, beans, peas, spinach, tarragon, thyme and marigold. Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family and does well with peppers as they like the same growing conditions.
How to prepare those Eggplants
I like to prepare eggplant by slicing thin rounds, grilling lightly on either side, drizzled with olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. It's SO EASY!!
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