New to Growing Eggplants

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

I have never had anything but store bought supermarket type eggplnt but this year am growing my own for the first time. I bought seedlings of "Classic" and they have been planted out and doing well for a while now. But I wished I could try something more exotic. Well, today at our local nursery I found plants of "Ichiban" and " Gretal". They just came in. So I bought a plant of each. I should have a lot of eggplant fruit this year! "Gretal" is white and I have never even seen a white eggplant before.

Enterprise, AL(Zone 8b)

Good luck with your egg plants, especially the white one. Keep us posted on their progress.This is my first year with egg plant in many years. I just planted two Black Beauties,they seem to be doing pretty good, I think flea beetles may be putting holes in the leaves. I will learn with these two then see if I think it is worth the effort. I have decided some things are not worth the trouble to grow and some things are just fun to grow.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Greetings. I'm here.

My Gretyls from last season overwintered on the covered patio. They are loaded with new fruits.

Below is the Black counterpart -- Hansel.

Eggplants are water-hogging hungry hippos. FEED them regularly, and you will be rewarded. I add Black Kow Composted manure at planting.

Linda

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
New Port Richey, FL

My Hansels from last last season were brought in on cold nights (there wasn't many this year) also and haven't stopped producing. I used an EB and Tapla's 5-1-1 mix with a little more peat for wicking and 2 gal. of good compost. I feed every 2 weeks w/ miracle grow and in april I worked 1/4 cup each of trace elements and time released fert. into the top of the soil since it had been a year since planting. Eggplant and okra are 2 of my favorite veggies to grow not only for taste but also because you plant once and harvest all season from the same plants instead of having to replant every few weeks to have a steady supply although I've never had plants last this long and do this well. But then I'd never tried Tapla's mix and protecting from the cold before either. Is it the new varieties, new growing methods or a combination of both? GYMGIRL , I think we need to pay close attetion to just how long our plants do produce and the quality of the fruit as the plants get older. I planted a white one last month just in case this one starts going downhill. If it doesn't I guess I'll have lots to share.

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

Well, mine will not be overwintering cause we have snow here but as long as they produce well for the season I will be very happy. I will keep them well fed and watered.

Monte Vista, CO(Zone 4a)

Susie, are eggplants and okra (I really like both, too) like tomatoes, in that if kept in proper conditions, will produce and grow for years? I've heard that tomatoes will just keep growing round and round a greenhouse for years. Wouldn't it be great to have a giant eggplant that continued to produce for years? Yummm!

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

My eggplants also made it through the winter, as it was unusually mild here. Normally, I would have pulled them in order to plant my winter veggies, but didn't have the energy. I was really surprised when they started growing and flowering again! I also have Classic. I found they grow better for me than the Black Beauty. I've also had Ichiban and Fairy Tale. The FT are really sweet looking little groups of small, light purple and cream colored fruits. I rarely peel my homegrown eggplant and definitely not the little Fairy Tale. We've eaten the first couple and now the plants are ready to make a big crop. It's already in the 90's here!
Good luck with your eggplants everyone!
Janet

Monte Vista, CO(Zone 4a)

I guess I found my answer: http://www.cloudforest.com/cafe/forum/67899.html

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

it is not a nice day here, breezy and drizzel. But I got my two new eggplants planted anyway. Now they can grow!

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

I have problems with flea beetles on my eggplant and I hate to keep dusting with rotenone. It does work but I'd prefer to avoid it if possible. A friend suggested growing them in planters on my balcony and I did get nice, healthy plants that way but not much in the way of fruit, so maybe the trick is to nurse them along in the planter until they can withstand some pests and then put them in the garden.

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

I always cover my eggplants with Remay cloth to keep the flea beetles away. Once the plants get quite large I will remove it since they are usually large enough to withstand a moderate onslaught and the cloth no longer covers them adequately anymore. But I understand that eggplants self pollinate anyway so I could theoretically leave them on. I will have to devise a better tent system with the cloth so it still covers when they get bigger. I grow my eggplants mostly in Earthboxes.

New Port Richey, FL

Solace thanks for the link, I really didn't have the answer either. I did have okra planted where rabbitt pens had been one year that got almost a year old before a freeze got it and had to use a ladder to pick it. Like Bariolio we pulled or plowed anything that survived July and August heat, which was usually only the Okra and Eggplant, and they were looking pretty rough at the end of August and planted another round of Cukes, Squash and beans to harvest before we planted winter crops in mid November. With the advent of earth boxes I can move plants to give them protection from the cold and the blistering sun here in the summer. Strawberries were the one thing I could not keep in the right growing conditions long enough to get more than a few berries before they died. When I first saw EB's I was skeptical but thought I'd give it a try with my most challenging crop, Strwberries. It made a beleiver out of me. The moisture stays even and when the heat sets in I move them into the shade until fall. I said that to say this, EB's have made it possible to keep longer lived plants in the right conditions to be able to grow and harvest for more than just one season. GreenhouseGal, if your getting enough sun on your balcony try an EB. You won't be disappointed.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Gardadore, I don't know why I hadn't thought of Remay, although my eggplant are usually planted along a long row so I'd need a lot of it. Right now I could cover them easily, though, since they're in a planter. Thanks for the suggestion! Susie, I think I'll stick with a simple planter right now because it will keep the eggplants in a more convenient place for me to tend them. I wonder if EBs would help with squash bugs, though...

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

I plant squash in my EB's and unfortunately the squash bugs have found them!! I am using a good quality mosquito netting to try to keep them away but they still get in. The only good the netting does there is to inhibit the squash borers. This year I have bought some parthenocarpic squash called Partenon (is self pollinating) and a pest control pop up tent from Gardener's Supply to keep all bugs out. I have used one successfully to grow broccoli and Brussels Sprouts with no worms! The tents come in different sizes. My first one 3' x 6' has been a lifesaver since my husband would never eat the broccoli after seeing green worms on it. Now he does!
http://www.gardeners.com/Tall-Pest-Control-Pop-Ups/40-228RS,default,pd.html?SC=YNA7200A

I hope that works but the squash bugs can live in the soil. Since this will be a new area of the garden for the squash I hope I will avoid them. I plan to put some eggplants in there as well as see how that works against the flea beetles since the mesh on my new one is finer than the broccoli one! I will find out if eggplants really do self pollinate!

All we can do is keep trying and experimenting. My husband always kids me about my million dollar vegetables with all these investments just to get organically home grown veggies!! But I think it's worth it and it's fun as well as healthy!

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

I have tried growing squash under Remay and also under the pop-up tents from Gardeners Supply. I hate to tell you that neither worked. The pop-up tent blew over once or twice before we figured out how to secure it better, but I don't think that was the only reason that my squash were still infested with squash bugs. I am planning to use the tent for my cabbage and brussels sprouts, and I should probably get it up ASAP. Voles are eating some of my plants but I'd like to protect those that remain from green worms.

Oh, and I'd never grown squash in that area before, either...

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

I learned quickly that those tents needed an extra post or pole at each corner so my new one was set up (in the wind the other day!!) and as fast as we could we attached double bamboo poles to each corner while the top kept caving in. By the fourth pole we were good to go. Do you have the tents with the flat top or the ones that come to a point? I ask because my tents have tabs on the bottom that fasten into the ground with included tent hooks. While they can still come loose and tip over, I guess, attaching the poles at the corners did more to prevent cave-ins than anything else. Well, you have confirmed the one fact that those critters probably overwinter in the earth and it can be away from their original site. I will give it a try anyway and see what happens. Maybe I'll luck out the first year until they catch on! I will still have some squash in the EB's so maybe they won't notice the other crop! I try to catch and destroy the eggs as fast as possible and that helps until we go visit our grandsons for a week in Arizona and then I've usually lost the rhythm (and the battle!).

Enterprise, AL(Zone 8b)

I am growing my squash in all compost this year in a site that has not had anything but weeds and grass for years. So far so good, I harvested my first two squash yesterday and so far no sign of pests (not counting Armadillos). I am doing the same for my Cucumbers, and Melons.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Seedfork, maybe that's the answer - totally squash-virgin soil! Gardadore, my tent is the large flat top with zippers on either side. I'll be interested in hearing how you make out with yours. We fastened ours down last year with stakes and also used bamboo poles for stability, but a windstorm forced a pole through the netting and we had to mend it. Remay didn't help the year I tried that; they still got in, especially where two lengths were connected, even though I doubled the fabric over and fastened it with clothespins.

For svbs I have found that silver plastic mulch makes a huge difference. That's why my main problem is now squash bugs. A friend suggested Lemon Squash as a variety that doesn't seem much affected by the bugs, so I'm trying that. I'm also planting fewer in a row so it's easier to monitor. If I didn't care whether my produce was organic or not I truly wouldn't bother! The first few years we lived here we had no problems at all, and then wham!

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

I know what you mean about the "wham" factor! Eventually the critters tell all their friends about the good deals available in our gardens!

I have heard about using the silver plastic mesh but so far I have little trouble since I use the remay and the mosquito netting.

The new tent I bought last fall seems to have a stronger mesh than the one I got 3 years ago. I even had trouble working my wire through it to tie the end to my poles so that is a good sign. It seems that after a season the mesh begins to dry out and get more brittle. Then it is easier to put your hand through it! I do take them down each fall but they clearly have a limited life span!

I think we bother with all this because organic store bought food is very expensive. If I wanted an easier route I wouldn't grow organic veggies at all and just go with the regular stuff. But this TASTES so much better and I bet on it extending my life!! I guess we will have to plan on "sharing" each year with the critters and be grateful for what we do harvest.

I am also growing the lemon cucumber again this year. I ran out of seeds a few years ago and finally replaced them. They are delicious!

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Although this thread is about eggplant, I have a tip for okra. Did you know you can cut off the top when they're getting really tall and they'll branch out? Makes more okra that way and you can reach them all!

Monte Vista, CO(Zone 4a)

Thank you, bariolio! I'm five feet tall, and love okra, so that is a very helpful tip. I've heard that okra is good to grow eggplant with, so I will do that also. Along with some flowers to draw 'beneficials'. My eggplant are hanging in there, inside, and the Lidstada de Gandia are getting good size. I started the Casper, but they don't have their true leaves, yet. Until today they shared some space on a dresser by a window with some scarlet runner beans, cosmos starts, and a little Charleston Gray watermelon that's decided to bloom in the house. It got transplanted into a Dutch bucket and is setting on the porch, but I might feel sorry for it and bring it in, since its in the mid thirties at night here, still. Thursday it might freeze, too. The eggplants have been extremely babied. Hope they harden off and do well when I do set them out. The sun here, at this high altitude, just burns so many things to a crisp. Shade cloth (old sheer curtains) will be employed, I'm sure.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

bariolio
I did cut the tip of my okra plant last year and it stopped growing , like it was stunted !

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

Does the variety make a difference? In my climate the okra rarely gets that tall because it isn't warm enough so I also wonder if the size of the plant plays a role. Bariolio says she cuts it when really tall. I'm sure it grows way better in Texas than here in PA but I enjoy trying! The idea of getting it to branch more is appealing.

Enterprise, AL(Zone 8b)

I also wonder if it might be necessary to cut more than just the very tip off to make it branch.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Solace,
I'm also growing Listada de Gandia. Keep in touch with me, please, so we can compare notes!

Thanks!

Linda

Monte Vista, CO(Zone 4a)

Okay, Linda. :) I've never even eaten that type, I hope it's worth all the babying, lol.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Well, both eggplant and okra love the heat so growing them together usually works for that reason, if no other. I guess I just always grow both. And yes, it gets REALLY hot here and it stays hot for many months. I've had okra still producing into November and it could probably have gone longer but I usually need the garden space for winter/spring stuff. I'm not sure if the variety matters but I've planted Clemson spineless, Louisiana Green Velvet, Perkins Mammoth Long Pod, and maybe some other kind. Seems like one of them made side shoots without having to top it (not Clemson). Anyway, don't we all love to try new things?! I find it so interesting to talk with people from different areas trying to grow the same thing and hearing about the different climates and how it affects growth. I wouldn't have known about the high altitude burning things! I've always lived below sea level (New Orleans area) or just above!

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

We all have such different sets of pests, too!

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

Found another kind of eggplant today at the nursery that I didn't have so I bought it. Called Rosa Bianca.

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Hi all, I've been lurking and enjoyed finding more tips on how to grow eggplants and other veggies. Due to limited sunny site in the garden. This year I decided to try some in container. To begin with, I purchased this eggplant from the box store. I'm thrilled to see some fruits beginning to form. Rita, do share some of your Rosa Bianca's pics. with us later. For those of us that having trouble with eggplants attracting flea beetles. I've found that having my eggplant planted out in the open where it catches freely circulated wind. That seems to eliminated the beetles problem. I can only surmised that fleas chose shady, non-windy sites to lay eggs? Hah, that's my thought.

Today I went out to the box store and bought some okras plants. I'll try them in containers as well. Will share more pics. as they become fruitions.

Thumbnail by Lily_love
SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Lily_love,
That is adorable!

Eggplants do ESPECIALLY well in containers, especially eBuckets with built-in self- watering reservoirs, because they are water HOGS, and benefit from being able to draw on the water source at will.

Check out the eBucket thread.

#1 That's a Black Beauty eggplant setting on my 5-gallon eBucket. It was approximately 11" tall.

Thumbnail by Gymgirl Thumbnail by Gymgirl Thumbnail by Gymgirl Thumbnail by Gymgirl
North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

The only okra seedlings they sell here in either the nurseries or the big box stores are Clemson Spineless. I bought some seeds instead from Burpee of a baby okra variety they say is good for containers. Bought a really, really humingous pot and will see how that goes. It is hot and humid here on Long Island. In fact over 90 today and yesterday so the okra should love it here.

I have three eggplants to plant. The Rosa Bianca I bought today and the Fairy Tale and Purple Rain I bought from Burpee. I should be over run with eggplant this year.



Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

I have grown all the eggplants mentioned thus far except Fairy Tale, which I have read is very good if a smaller variety. I grew Hansel and Gretl last summer but decided to stay with the larger round or long ones. Rita, I think you will really love the Rosa Bianca. I have Turkish neighbors who grow tons of eggplant for their wonderful dishes and the one year I gave them some of my seedlings they said the Rosa Bianca was the best! I never got the quantity they did, but I am not as expert at growing them as they seem to be!
This summer I am growing 12 varieties (29 plants) - the new one for me in the list is Ukrainian Beauty. Here is what I am growing:
Applegreen, Black King, Casper (white variety), Dairyu-Big Dragon (my favorite - large and prolific), Diamond, Enorma, Farmer's Long, Japanese Millionaire, Louisiana Long Green, Ping-Tung Long, Rosa Bianca, and Ukrainian Beauty. I will put 6 different ones in my new tent to see how they produce with no pollination and deter the flea beetles. The rest will go in EarthBoxes, Coir Bags, or Straw Bales. Tomorrow will be a busy day despite this heat wave!

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

gardadore, you sure have a lot of eggplant. This is all new to me and I went overboard buying. Don't need as many as I have but wanted to try the different ones that I saw.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

What a list! Oh, the Baba Ganoush !!!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I'm growing Black Beauty, Fairy Tale, one called San Remo I was given the seed but I can't find an EP named that so we shall see, Rosa Bianca, Goyo Kumba, Kamo,China Scarlet, Lista De Gandia, Round Green ( Thai), Purple Egg ( Thai), and Yellow Egg (Thai). The yellow egg doesn't look very good after the rain last weekend but if it doesn't make it I think I'll still have enough. I grow them bc I think they look interesting.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Wow, I'm blown away by all these eggplant varieties! This year is my tomato variety explosion. Maybe next year I'll try all those different types of eggplant. We love them! Make sure to post pics of all the different fruits. Also, if you think they taste different.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

You should see my list of tomatoes. Actually it's not really a list, if it was I'd post it. Peppers might be worse..go to rareseeds.com they have some wonderful pics.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Rosa Bianca is my favorite eggplant to grow for its taste.
It just takes so long before the plants start to bare fruits.
This year I am having the best eggplant plants ever, after I changed their location.

Thumbnail by drthor
North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

I see some tomato cages around your eggplants. That might be a great idea for me also.

After one cooks the eggplant is there really a lot of flavor difference between varieties? I mean I know there isa lot of flavor difference between tomato varieties but I eat tomatoes raw and would be cooking eggplant. Is eggplant edible raw?

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