(Solanum melongena) Long Purple eggplant is an Asian heirloom variety with a milder flavor than the traditional eggplant. This long, slender variety has a thinner skin and only a few seeds, which produces a delicate flavor when harvested at their peak.
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Sow eggplant indoors 6-8 weeks before setting plants into the garden. Transplant seedlings into the garden no sooner than 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost in spring. Eggplant requires 100 to 140 warm days with temperatures consistently between 70° and 90°F to reach harvest.
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. Add aged compost to planting beds before planting.
Warm the soil in advance of planting with a black plastic cover.
Eggplants require evenly moist soil to ensure the best and fastest growth. 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. Container grown eggplants are easily moved out of cold weather; so you can extend the season in spring and autumn by moving plants indoors when frost threatens.
Eggplants are ready for harvest when the fruit is glossy, firm, and full colored and not streaked with brown. Harvest eggplant young before the flesh becomes pithy. The eggplant fruit grows on a sturdy stem; cut the fruit from the stem with a sharp knife. Continual harvest will encourage more production.