Last Updated on February 15, 2022 by Real Men Sow
Solanum melongena, also known as eggplant, brinjal or aubergine is a fun crop to grow and great food to eat. Aubergine, even if there is a lot of heat, can still be difficult to grow. These are five tips that can help you grow them.
Try growing small-fruited aubergine plant varieties
As tiny cherry tomatoes are much easier to grow than those with large fruits, so are aubergine plant varieties. The long, slim Asian varieties such as ‘Ping Tung Long” are a delight, but you may also like the smaller fruits of Millionaire’ or ‘Bonica’.
You can grow compact varieties in square-foot gardens or containers. This bushy variety of aubergine produces many secondary branches throughout the growing season, giving them great staying power in the garden.
Seeding Time For Aubergine Plants
Because aubergine plant thrives in warm climates, it is important to not rush when you start seeds. Because of their large leaves, aubergine seedlings grow fast and can reach a size comparable to tomatoes or peppers. You can plant seeds in the middle of summer if you have a warm growing season. This will allow you to produce a fall crop. You can also plant the seedlings in cloudy weather.
Anticipate Aubergine Flea Beetles
If not for the aubergine flea beetles, growing aubergines would seem impossible. These tiny hoppers create tiny holes in the leaves of nightshade plants like tomatoes and potatoes, but aubergine is what they love to eat.
For flea beetle prevention, the first thing I learned was to keep plants in dark-coloured nursery pots for as long as possible. Because aubergine flea beetles aren’t likely to venture onto patios or decks looking for host plants, containers can help protect plants from damage. When the roots are full, the seeds are ready to be placed in a 4 inch (10 cm) pot.Warm roots are not a problem for aubergines, so they thrive in large containers that are well-watered.
Even moderately large plants can overcome minor flea beetle damage. Young plants are easy to protect using tulle (weddingnet) row covers. This keeps most fleas away but doesn’t retain heat. Remove the covers once the plants start to bloom so that bees can get to the flowers. To prevent the plants from falling over while they are laden with fruit, this is a good time for stakes.
Invite Native Pollinators To The Aubergine Plant
Although self-fertile aubergine flowers are easily fertilized by wind alone, buzz-pollination with bees increases fruit set and size. Solitary bees are the most effective pollinators, including bumblebees and carpenter bees. They vibrate the flowers to remove pollen.
You can also hand pollinate the aubergine plant if pollinators are not available or you only have a handful of plants. To do this, simply place a dry paintbrush into the blossoms. To simulate a buzzing bee visiting your garden, you can touch the blossoms using a vibrating toothbrush.
Feed The Aubergine Plant At The Right Time
Six weeks after planting, the plants begin to produce their first fruits and bloom. Side-dress your plants with organic fertilizer, composted manure, or give them a deep soak with water-soluble food.
When the plants have a large number of fruits, fertilize them again in late summer.
Container-grown aubergines require almost constant care, but you should be careful to avoid the excessive salt buildup that can lead to plants not growing. To remove salt accumulated in the containers, wash them with warm water every two weeks. Organic fertilisers made from kelp or fish leave behind less salts than synthetic products.