Eggplant, Apple-of-love, Asiatic aubergine, Aubergine, Baby eggplant, Brinjal, Garden egg, Guinea squash, Gully bean, Italian eggplant, Japanese eggplant, Melanzana, Melongene, Oriental eggplant, Patlıcan, Pea apple, Pea aubergine, Poor-man's-caviar, Susumber, Terong, White eggplant
Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta -Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Solanaceae - Potato family
Genus: Solanum L. - nightshade P
Species: Solanum melongena L. - Aubergine, eggplant.
Aubergine is a tender vegetable that is related to the tomato. The bushes grow 5 feet (1.8m) tall with hairy gray-green leaves. The fruit varies in size, shape and color.
Sometimes resembling little trees, these robust-sized plants up to 3 ft. (1.0m) high and almost that wide can have purple-tinged green leaves, drooping violet flowers and, depending on the cultivar, fruits from grape to almost football size in white, yellow, red, green, violet or purple.
Eggplants are cold-sensitive and require a long warm season for best results. Plant seeds in sunny warm location in peat pots 8 to 10 weeks before transplanting into garden after all danger of frost is past and night temperatures are consistently at or above 21°C. (65°F). Eggplant roots are subject to cold damage and plants seldom recover from cold snaps.
Plant in full sun in fertile, well-drained soil. Do not permit seedlings or young plants to suffer from low temperature or drought. Mulching between plants is useful. Plants thrive in the heat of summer.
Depending on the size of fruit you wish to harvest, pinch out terminal growth and blossoms to allow up to 6 fruits to mature or allow all fruits to set and harvest when small. For mature fruits, harvest after some colour appears but always while fruits still have their glossy shine.
PLANTING: Transplant after danger of frost, when soil is thoroughly warm.
SPACING: 18 to 24 inches - (0.5m) by 30 to 36 inches - (1.0m).
HARDINESS: Very tender annual.
FERTILIZER NEEDS: Heavy feeder; use 3 tablespoons of ammonium nitrate 33-0-0 per 10-foot row. Before planting broadcast 3 lbs (1.5kg). 10-10-10 per 100 square feet (30m²). Use a starter solution on transplants.
SIDEDRESS: Use 1 lb. (O.5kg) 10-10-10 per 100 square feet (30m²) - 3 to 4 weeks after planting and repeat in one month if needed. When fruits are swelling, apply a high potash tomato fertilizer.
LIGHT LEVELS: Sunny.
SOIL: Well-drained, high organic matter.
pH LEVEL: 5.5 to 7.0
TEMPERATURE: Warm 21°C to 30°C (70°F to 85°F).
Aubergine requires a very warm, sheltered sunny position, though it succeeds in most soils. Requires plenty of moisture, though the soil should be well-drained. Requires a pH in the range 5.5 to 7.0. The Aubergine is often cultivated, especially in tropical areas, for its edible fruit, there are many named varieties. The plant is not frost-hardy, though it can be grown as an annual in temperate zones. It can, however, be difficult to ripen the fruit from outdoor grown plants in cooler temperate climates such as Britain. In this country they are more commonly grown in a warm or cool greenhouse or in a frame.
A steady temperature of 25°C - 30°C (70°F to 85°F) is required during the growing season for the best production of flowers and fruit. A short-lived perennial plant, it is usually cultivated as an annual. Plants should be restricted to no more than 4 fruits to make sure they reach a good size and ripen properly.
Aubergines grow well with beans, tarragon and thyme. Aromatic plants such as lavender, tansy, marigolds or wormwood help to keep aphids at bay. Grows badly with potatoes, onions and garlic.
The standard aubergine produces egg-shaped, glossy, purple-black fruit, 6 to 9 inches (15cm to 20cm) long. The long, slender, Japanese aubergine has a thinner skin and more delicate flavour. Both perform well in containers.
Warm to hot weather throughout the season is necessary for good production.
Seeds germinate quickly at 21° to 32° (70° to 90°F;) and plants should be grown for eight to ten weeks before setting them out. Cold temperatures will stop plant and root growth, reducing plant vigor and yields. Use hot caps or cloches to protect plants from cold conditions.
Though aubergines do well in hot weather; they must have well-drained soil and do not thrive in very humid areas. When plants are about 6 inches high, nip back the growing tip to encourage branching. Pick fruits when immature, about 2 /3 maximum size. Mature fruit should not be left on the plant as this will reduce overall productivity.
The Aubergine is a very tender plant that requires a long, warm season for successful production.
The plants are killed by light frost and are injured by long periods of chilly weather.
Plants should not be set out until all danger of frost has passed.
Aubergine grows best in a well-drained sandy loam or loam soil, fairly high in organic matter.
Aubergines need warm soil and warm temperatures. Temperatures should remain above 20°C (68°F). Full sun is a must.
These heavy feeders should be planted in heavily composted soil with lots of manure, if available. Side dress frequently, especially when the plant begins to bloom.
Aubergine is fairly drought tolerant and should not be over watered as it is susceptible to root rot. Mulching around the plant will help maintain even moisture. Watering may be increased when blooms appear.
Water Aubergine sufficiently to moisten the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches (15cm). The critical period for moisture is during fruit set and fruit development. Mulching can help to provide uniform moisture, conserve water and reduce weeds.
Aubergines should receive slightly more than an inch of water weekly slightly more in sandy soils. Inexpensive watering timer systems are available.
Lime and fertilizer applications are best based on a soil test. In general, two pounds(1.0kg) each of actual nitrogen, phosphorus (P2O5), and potash (K2O) per 1,000 square feet (300m²) of garden space is adequate.
An additional application of one pound (0.5kg)of actual nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. (300m²) after the fruit has set may be helpful to maintain plant development.
Plant after the ground has warmed and all danger of frost has passed. Seeds should be started indoors at least 8 weeks before transplanting. Place transplants in the garden slightly deeper than they were in their pot. Cold soil will shock the plant and set it back several weeks. In case of an unexpected late frost, cover young plants with hotcaps or milk jugs.
Add a tablespoon of balanced fertilizer. Aubergines don't need or like much fertilizer, so do not overdo it. It's a good idea to fertilize again when buds or tiny Aubergines appear, but keep it light.
Aubergines are suitable for growing in large containers or tubs. Container growing will help prevent soil borne disease.
Start early indoors in peat pots or cell packs. Rows should be 3 to 5 ft (1m to 1.8m) apart. Plants should be 2 to 3 ft (0.7m to 1m) apart. Transplants should be 8 to 10 wks old and slightly hardened, grown in 2 inch (5cm) or larger pots.
The outdoor environment can be very harsh for a transplant. Harden the transplants before planting to increase their survival rate. Place them outdoors in their original containers where they will receive direct sunlight and some wind for a few hours each day for a week, possibly more.. Gradually lengthen the amount of time outside each day. Move the plants inside at night.
Set plants in the field when frost danger has passed, when the soil has warmed, and when the average daily temperature reaches 18°C (65°F).
Your Aubergines will taste best when young. Start harvesting when the fruits reach one third of their full growth. They are ready once the skins turn glossy.
Once the outside skin turns dull they are past their prime and will contain lots of seeds. Cut the stems with a sharp knife to prevent damage to the vine.
Days to Maturity: 100 to 150 days from seed; 70 to 85 days from transplants.
Harvest: Fruit should be large, shiny, and uniformly deep purple in color. When the side of the fruit is pressed slightly with the thumbnail and an indentation remains, the fruit is ripe. Long, slender, Japanese aubergine may be ready to harvest from finger or hotdog size. When fruit is dull in colour and has brown seeds, it is too ripe and should be discarded. Cut fruit from plant to avoid damage.
Approximate Yields: 20 pounds per 10-foot (3m) row.
Amount to Raise: 12 lbs (5kg)per person.
Storage: Cool 7°C to 10°C (45°F to 50° F), moist (90% relative humidity) conditions for one week.
Preservation: Freeze, pickle.
Preservation Methods: Aubergine is not suitable for drying or canning. Freezing is the best method for home preservation.
To Freeze: Harvest before seeds become mature and when color is uniformly dark.
Wash, peel if desired, and slice 1/3-inch (80mm) thick. Prepare quickly, enough Aubergine for one blanching at a time. Water blanch, covered for 4 minutes in one gallon (5lt) boiling water containing 1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh or bottled).
Cool, drain and package, leaving 1/2-inch (1.5cm) head space. Seal in zip closure freezer bags and seal and freeze. Pack the drained slices with a freezer wrap between slices. Seal and freeze.
Aphids, red spider mites and caterpillars are the main culprits.
others are: colorado potato beetle, tomato russet mite, flea beetle, lace bugs, root knot, nematodes, thrips ,tomato hornworms, pepper maggot, whitefly.
Phytophthora Blight - Avoid water-logged root zones.
Grow Aubergine in well drained fields. Planting on raised beds will increase soil drainage. Water management is of primary importance for controlling Phytophthora blight. Rotate infested fields with other non-host crops for several years
Verticillium Wilt - Because of the aubergine's susceptibility to verticillium wilt, rotate plantings with other crops on the same garden soil. Avoid fields with a history of Verticillium Wilts
Fumigate soils with a propriety soil fumigant - 20 to 30 gal. (100lt to 150lt) per acre Allow at least 30 days between application of the fumigant and planting.
Phomopsis Blight, Alternaria Leaf Spot, Cercospora Leaf Spot, and Anthracnose
Practice a 2 to 3 year crop rotation schedule