Eggplants, also known as aubergines are not as common as other vegetables but now is gaining popularity. They grow in conditions similar to tomatoes and can be grown in open ground or pots or in greenhouses if summers are cool and short. Eggplants come in various colors, shape, and sizes and is a fun crop to grow. The most commonly grown eggplants are the glossy, deep-purple or black-skinned and long in shape. They also come in white, pink, green colors of the fruit. Learn more on how to grow eggplants in your garden or farm.
Eggplants need temperatures above 68°F or 20°C and high humidity and do well outdoors in a warmer climate. They need nutrient-rich soil with good drainage. Grow seeds in trays in early spring and once they reach about 5cm (2 inches), transplant them into 8-inch pots or outdoors if the risk of frost has passed. Keep a spacing of 60cm (24 inches) between rows.
Water well and feed with a liquid fertilizer rich in potassium at least every two weeks when the fruits begin to develop. Taller varieties may require support by stakes. In general harvest time after sowing is 20 weeks.
Aubergines don’t store well. It’s best to keep them refrigerated to stop them from going soft too quickly. They can be sliced, cooked and frozen to use in recipes at a later date, or added to soups, pasta recipes and cooked in meals to freeze. They can also be pickled or roasted and stored in olive oil.