Eggplant Growing Guide
This heat-loving annual comes in many varieties, bearing colorful fruits in ivory white, green, and purple. The plant's flowers are a visual delight, with their star shape and violet color.
Although you can grow eggplant in-ground, containers are especially handy, as they warm up the soil faster. Eggplant needs a long, warm growing season.
|When to Sow||Sun/Part Shade||Seed Spacing||Row Spacing||Planting Depth||Spacing after Thinning||Days to Germinate||Days to Maturity|
|Indoors 8 weeks before expected transplanting||Sun||½ inch||36 inches||¼ inch||18-24 inches||10-20||70|
Soil and Fertilizing
Well drained, fertile soil is best for eggplant, a vegetable that requires many nutrients for optimal growth. Soil pH should be 6.0 - 6.8. It's best to have your soil tested before planting, to find out what nutrients and pH levels are needed for your plants. For a thorough soil test, visit an Agricultural Experiment Station in your area (scientific research center) or consult your local county extension agent (also known as a Land Grant University).
Planting and Growing
Start in flats 8 weeks before transplanting. Sow seeds 2-3 inches apart
Transplant into pots after the first "true" leaves have appeared. True leaves look more like mature leaves than the first (baby) leaves.
If transplanting in-ground, plant seedlings 20-30 inches apart, in rows that are 30-32 inches apart. Deep bed spacing is 18 inches apart
Ideal nighttime temperature for transplanting is at least 45° Fahrenheit.
Water enough to moisten the soil down to a depth of at least six inches. The most important time for adequate moisture is during fruit set and fruit development.
Harvesting / Storage
Fruit should be bright, shiny, and a uniform color. Over-mature eggplant will have a dull exterior, and the flesh will be spongy to the touch. Prompt picking will increase fruit set and yields.
Store eggplant in the refrigerator until use. The optimal conditions for storage are between 45° and 55° Fahrenheit.
For additional information specific to your growing area, please consult your local county extension office.