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Growing Eggplant (Aubergine) – egg plant from the garden

Growing eggplant in the garden about the garden magazine

Eggplant is a delicious, low cholesterol vegetable that is a member of the Solanaceae (potato) family.

When to plant

Eggplant can be planted throughout autumn and winter in warmer temperate zones, spring and summer for the colder southern states of Australia visit the Winter Herbs Fruit Vegies Planting Guide by Regional Zone.

Soil preparation

Eggplants need a rich, well-worked soil with generous amounts of 5IN1® Organic Plant Food or Searles Organic Compost dug in before planting. Eggplants prefer acid soil, you may need to use a soil pH test kit to ensure the soil is under a pH of 6.0, if over add some Searles Garden Lime to the soil.

Planting

Eggplants do not like being transplanted, so for best results sew directly into soil (widely spaced) or in individual cell-pack punnets. They are sensitive to frost, so if in cooler region grow the seedlings inside until they are more mature and the soil has warmed. When planting eggplants remember to allow for good circulation and leave sufficient room for staking as plant matures. Six plants will provide you with an excellent harvest. 

Feeding & watering

Young eggplants should be feed fortnightly with SeaMax Fish & Kelp until fruit develops, then stop feeding. Keep the plants well mulched and weed free to allow air circulation and reduce humidity and moisture loss. Water eggplant regularly so that they do not dry out, but refrain from over watering as this may lead to fungal problems.

Pests & Diseases

Eggplant are susceptible to soil born fungus and verticillium wilt. Practice crop rotation, water in the morning and improve drainage to avoid these issues. Do not put infested plants in the compost. If plants become infested with aphids or caterpillar spray with Searles Bug Beater Natural Pyrethrum Spray or hand pick. Eggplant fruit are also susceptible to sunburn, so shelter the fruit behind leaves or create a shade cloth cover during the hotter months.

Harvesting

Regular picking encourages fruit production. The best time to harvest the common purple eggplant is when it turns a deep purple, for other varieties refer to the growers instructions on the plant tag or seed packet.

Eggplant companion growing guide

Companion Planting

Eggplant make good companion plants for beans and potatoes.

Dig your food!

Dietitian and Nutritionist Deb Blakley from Kids Dig Food writes:
 
“Eggplant (also known as Aubergine) probably first originated in India and is a common ingredient in a lot of Asian and middle eastern cuisines. Eggplant is a very good source of Vitamin C and is an OK source of Potassium, Iron, Niacin and Folate.
 
Top tip: To remove the bitter taste of Eggplant before cooking, cut the vegetable into slices, sprinkle with a little salt and leave for 15 minutes. The salt will draw juices to the surface.  Rinse the salt and juices away under running cold water and pat dry before using the eggplant in cooking.”

Shopping list for getting egg plant in your gardenDownload PDF VEGETABLE GARDEN Shopping List for Growing Eggplant 

RECIPE Turkish Eggplant Casserole How to Grow Potato

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