Eggplants are some of the most rewarding plants to grow in a vegetable garden. Not only does their full, leafy green foliage and unique coloring make them a beautiful addition to your garden, but it is fun and exciting to watch the eggplants develop and mature.
The downside to these plants is that they are a fairly picky about their growing conditions. That means you will need to take steps to cater to their needs if you want a nice harvest at the end of the season.
Here are some tips for growing eggplant from seed to help ensure that you don’t wind up with dead plants, but instead are able to harvest & enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Probably the easiest way to successfully grow eggplant from seed is to start them indoors well before the last frost of the season. Cold temperatures can kill the plants so it is vital that you make sure they stay warm enough.
Start the seeds inside approximately 7-8 weeks before the last frost of the season. Plant them at a depth of about 1/2″ and keep them well watered. Try to keep them in a room where the temperature consistently stays around 70 degrees or higher for optimum results.
Make sure to give the plants plenty of natural light to encourage germination and to keep them from becoming leggy. If you don’t get a lot of natural light where you live you may want to consider investing in grow lights to place above them to encourage bushier growth.
Two weeks after the last frost you can transplant the eggplant plants outdoors into your garden. Eggplant plants thrive in rich soil so begin by mixing compost or manure into the soil where you plan to put them. They also do best in full sun. Space the seedlings about 1 1/2 feet apart. Row spacing should be at least 2 feet.
If you prefer you can also plant the seeds directly outdoors instead of starting them indoors first. The important thing is not to plant the seeds too soon if you are planting them outside. Wait until at least 2 weeks after the last frost and until both daytime and nighttime temperatures have warmed up significantly.
Plant the seeds at a depth of about 1/2″. Space the seeds several inches apart and then weed out to a spacing of about 1 1/2 feet between each plant after the seedlings begin to grow.
Whether you start the seeds indoors or outdoors, make sure to mulch around the base of the plants to help them retain water and help to keep weeds to a minimum. Use organic hot pepper sprays or oils to repel insects from the plants. Try to avoid using non-organic pest repellants since you will be eating the eggplant once they have matured.
Eggplant is a versatile fruit that is typically used like a vegetable in a variety of different dishes. Few things are more rewarding than successfully growing your own food and then sitting down to a delicious meal to enjoy your harvest. By taking care to keep your plants warm and free from bugs you will be rewarded with tasty eggplant that you can enjoy yourself, give as a gift, or even sell at your local farmer’s market.