Grow Organic Eggplant

Plant eggplant in full sun. Heat loving eggplant likes fertile well-drained soil rich in organic matter with a pH of 5.8 to 6.8.

Buy eggplant transplants at your local nursery, or, start seed indoors at least 8 to 10 weeks before the last expected frost.

Harden off eggplant seedlings, then transplant them to the garden when all danger of frost has passed and the soil temperature has reached 60 degrees.

Eggplants thrive in rich soil, before planting add plenty of compost and manure. Keep the soil moist to promote maximum growth

Plant eggplant 18 to 24 inches apart, compact and dwarf varieties can be planted closer together. Stake tall varieties to keep the fruits off the ground.

Spray plants with compost tea or fish emulsion three weeks after transplanting and side-dress monthly with a balanced fertilizer.

Water eggplant about an inch of water a week. When the plants are established and the ground is warm, mulch to retain moisture and deter weeds.

The biggest pest that you’ll probably have to deal with is the flea beetle. These pests create small holes in the leaves of the plant, and they are small (1/10 inch long) and are black and shiny, with the occasional white or yellow marking. For those interested in organic controls can try pyrethrum, or better still cover the plants with agricultural fleece until blooming time.

Eggplant is ready to pick in approximately 55 to 70 days for most varieties. Pick eggplants as soon as they’re big enough to use, and keep picking them till the fruits lose their gloss.

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