Eggplants do best when they have room to spread and grow. Dig holes slightly larger than your seedlings’ roots, spaced 24–30 inches in all directions.
Use bamboo sticks or other suitable stakes to hold up your plants. Insert the stakes into the soil about 1–2 inches away from each seedling. As the plants grow, they will lean onto the stakes and won’t disturb any surrounding plants.
To thrive, eggplant need at least 1 inch of water per week. Aim for one weekly, intensive watering rather that multiple, short watering sessions. Frequent watering promotes shallow roots, which can compromise the durability of your eggplants.
Eggplant, Solanum melogena
Soak the seeds overnight before germinating them. Eggplant seeds have a better chance of growing if they are soaked thoroughly before planting. Place the seeds in a small container and completely cover them with water. Let the seeds sit overnight, then drain the water.
Row covers are great for protecting eggplants from the cold, disease, and insects- particularly flea beetles, which can destroy eggplant quickly in some parts of the country.
When your seedlings are about 3 inches tall, pot up into bigger pots if needed. You should aim to finish your eggplants in a 4-inch pot or larger.
The potted seedlings should be kept indoors until the outdoor temperature reaches at least 70 °F.
Fertilizer: Fertilize with a complete nutrient solution to keep plants dark green and healthy.
Days to Maturity: Eggplants are ready to harvest as soon as 70 days after sowing the seeds.
Harvesting: Harvest fruit at desired size. Baby eggplant around 8 ounces and mini eggplant around 4 ounces. Harvesting eggplant frequently encourages more growth. To harvest, beware of the eggplant’s prickly stem. The fruit bruises easily, so be gentle while harvesting. Use prunes or a sharp knife to cut the fruit from the plant, but be sure to keep a short piece of stem on the fruit.
In addition to the common slender, long, deep purple eggplant, there are many varieties including colors of white, orange, light purple and various shapes. Eggplant has a texture similar to squash.
Tips: Harvestable fruits should be firm and inside seeds should not be visible once cut open. The inside flesh of the eggplant should be cream colored.
Our Seed Promise
Before Planting: Start eggplant seeds indoors up to 10 weeks before the last frost date. Eggplants do best in rich, well-drained soil. Mulch can help eggplants boost their growth in the spring, and adding a light-colored straw-like mulch in the summer helps reduce heat build-up.
Planting: Plant the seeds 1/4 inch deep, water after planting and cover loosely with plastic to retain moisture. Transplant the seedlings to the garden when soil temperatures reach 60 degrees. Leave up to 24 inches between plants in rows set 2 to 3 feet apart.