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.
Eggplants need a rich, well-worked soil with generous amounts of 5IN1® Organic Fertiliser or Searles Premium 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.
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.
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.