Learning Download: How to Grow Eggplant
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.
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.
Watering: Water 1 to 2 inches per week.
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.
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.