Eggplants are enjoyed worldwide. They can be found in white, yellow, green, orange and varied shades of purple, while some varieties have lighter coloured stripes.

History

The first known written record of the eggplant is found in a Chinese agricultural treatise completed in CE 544, but the eggplant is not mentioned in English literature until it appears in an English botany book in 1597.

Eggplant was originally domesticated in India and descends from a wild nightshade called a thorn apple. (S. insanum (Knapp et al., 2013)) Its subgenus is Leptostemonum, which is normally indicated simply as L following the species. There are 3 species we care about in growing our own food:  Solanum melongena,  Solanum aethiopicum and Solanum macrocarpon.

Solanum melongena

Within Solanum melongena, groups G and H contain large fruited landraces and modern cultivars. (Knapp et al., 2013).

Solanum aethiopicum

Solanum aethiopicum is also classified into four cultivar groups: Gilo (edible fruits with different shapes, color, and size, and hairy, inedible leaves), Shum ( glabrous and small leaves that are eaten as a green vegetable but the fruits are inedible), Kumba (glabrous leaves and flattened large fruits, which are edible), and Aculeatum (more prickliness than other groups with flat-shaped fruit, and are used as ornamentals) (Lester, 1986Prohens et al., 2012Plazas et al., 2014a).

Solanum macrocarpon

Solanum macrocarpon is cultivated both for its leaves and fruits (Schippers, 2000Maundu et al., 2009).

Diseases & Pests

Eggplant is impacted by a lot of diseases such as mosaic virus, bacterial, verticillium and fusarium wilts, alternaria, anthracnose, leaf spot, damping off, phomopsis, phytophthora, and little leaf of brinjal (Rotino et al., 1997).

Eggplant is also often attacked by stem borer, eggplant fruit and shoot borer, leaf roller, whiteflies, mites, aphids,  leafhopper, thrips, spotted beetles, and blister beetle. (Rotino et al., 1997Medakker and Vijayaraghavan, 2007).

A five year crop rotation cycle is recommended to avoid diseases. Practice excellent sanitation to ensure bacteria, wilts, rots and insects are not gathering under or around dead leaves and fruit.

Fertilization

Eggplant should not be given too much nitrogen or they will have small bitter fruits and a lot of bushy leaves.

As Food

Eggplant is low in fat, protein and carbohydrates, but also is high in many vitamins and minerals.

The cut surface quickly browns like an apple once cut. The fruit can absorb large amounts of cooking fats and sauces, but salting will reduce the amount of oil absorbed. It can be stewed, deep fried or deep fried in batter, pickled, stuffed and baked, braised, steamed, roasted and peeled ( for example for making baba ganoush, which is like an eggplant hummus with a very smoky flavour)

NOTE: Eggplant leaves and flowers can be poisonous if consumed in large quantities due to the presence of solanine. Additionally, on average, 9 kg (20 lbs) of eggplant will contain about the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette.

Description

Nomenclature

Common Name

Name Eggplant (Aubergine)
Cultivar
Variety

Botanical Name

Family Solanaceae
Genus Solanum
Species Solanum melongena

Planting Guide

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sow Indoors
Flowers
Fruits
Prune
Collect Seeds
Harvest
At it's Best

Cultivation

Time from sowing until...

Germination 14 Days
Bloom/Harvest 58 Days

Size

Height 24 Inch
Width 24 Inch

Spacing

Between Plants 18 Inch
Between Rows 36 Inch
Sowing Depth 1 Inch
Thin to.. Inch

Hardiness

Hardy

Other Notes

Eggplants are very frost sensitive. Start indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost in your area. Use heat mats to keep the soil temperature at 27-32 degrees Celsius. Use row covers once planted out to increase the microclimate temperature near the plant and also to repel beetles.

Row covers should be removed once the plant begins to flower, in order to facilitate pollination. Eggplant’s first blossoms often do not set fruit so to improve fruit setting you can hand pollinate. Flowers are both female and male, and may be self-pollinated or cross-pollinated.

Plants can be pruned and staked if desired.

 

 

 

Plot Sowing Date Bloom/Harvest Start

Light

Prefers / Can Tolerate

Full Sun

Moisture

Prefers / Can Tolerate

Average

Temperature

Prefers / Can Tolerate

Low 16 Celsius High 35 Celsius

Wind

Prefers / Can Tolerate

Very Windy / Exposed | Light Winds / Exposed | Light Winds / Some Shelter | Light Winds / Very Sheltered | Little / No Wind

Soil Type

Prefers / Can Tolerate

Loam

Soil Chemistry

Prefers / Can Tolerate

4.5+ 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0 7.5 8.0 8.+
Very Acid Very Acid Acid Acid Slightly Acid Neutral Slightly Alkaline Alkaline
The soil pH is a number that describes how acid or alkaline your soil is. A pH of 7.0 is considered neutral. An acid soil has a pH value below 7.0 and above 7.0 the soil is alkaline. You may need a soil testing kit to assess this accurately.