eggplant is probably a native of India, and has been cultivated
for a long time. It is a member of the nightshade family, making
it a close relative of the tomato, pepper and potato.
eggplant is a very tender plant, requiring a long, warm season for
successful production. The plants are killed by light frost and
are injured by long periods of chilly, frostless weather. Plants
should not be set out until all danger of frost has passed.
Lime and fertilizer applications are best based on a soil
test. In general, two pounds each of actual nitrogen, phosphorus
(P2O5) and potash (K2O)
per 1,000 square feet of garden space is adequate. An additional
application of one pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. after
the fruit has set may be helpful to maintain plant development.
Apply lime only if indicated by soil test results; pH should be
maintained between 6.0 and 6.8.
use of plastic mulch can increase the yield of eggplant by helping
to warm the soil, by conserving moisture and by controlling weeds.
Plants may be planted in staggered double rows on each strip of
plastic. Place the plastic on 5 foot centers and allow 18 inches
between plants in each of the staggered rows. Because of the need
for a long, warm growing season, it is best to use transplants.
These may be purchased or started in peat pots or pellets 8 to10
weeks before the anticipated planting time.
and mite pests of eggplant include flea beetles, Colorado
potato beetle, aphids and spider
mites. Potato flea beetles eat small holes in leaves and can
be particularly serious on small plants. Colorado potato beetle
adults and larvae feed on eggplant leaves and can completely defoliate
small plants if not controlled. See GreenShare Factsheets on these
insect pests for specific control recommendations.
rotations with non-related crops and the use of plants grown from
disease-free seeds will help control some eggplant diseases. A particularly
damaging disease in eggplant is Verticillium wilt, which can cause
stunting in plants and interveinal yellowing, wilting and dying
of leaves. Avoid tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, okra, raspberries
or strawberries in rotation with eggplant.
The fruits of the eggplant are edible from the time they are one-third
grown until ripe. They remain edible for several weeks after they
become colored and fully-grown. Skin should be shiny; seeds inside
should not be brown or hard. Harvest will continue over an extended
period if the fruit are removed when they are well-colored and of
the fruits from the plants, leaving large calyx (cap) and a short
piece of stem on the fruit. Plants of most cultivars have sharp
spines, so care is necessary when harvesting to prevent injury.
from Ted W. Gastier, Ohio State University Extension, 2000