New to Growing Eggplants

Boston, MA(Zone 6b)

I've got black ant-ish looking bugs on my eggplants - they look like a cross between an ant and an Assassin bug. So far, they're doing less damage than the armyworms, and I drowned a serious leaf-footed bug infestation earlier. They're too tiny to take a photo of well with my phone, I'd say they're about a half an inch? With white front "feet"? I've never seen them before.

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

Just pick 'em before they start turning dull...if your's is like below, that's a REALLY nice size for an eggplant. I might have to grow some next season. Where'd you get your seeds from?

Taken from the Parks website:

Classic Eggplants are glossy, elongated oval shaped with a black-purple color. Eggplants produce an egg-shaped, purple or long, green fruit that is 6-9 inches long.

Transplant after the danger of frost has passed when the soil is thoroughly warm.

Eggplants are heavy feeders. Fertilize with 2-3 tablespoons of ammonium nitrate per 10 feet of row after the first harvest and every 3-4 weeks after that.

Classic Eggplant matures in 76 days. Other varieties average 65-85 days. At harvest, fruit should be large, shiny and uniform in color. When the side of the fruit is pressed slightly with thumbnail and an indentation remains, the fruit is ripe.

Spacing: Plant 24″ apart in 40″ rows.
Height: Grows 24″ to 36″ tall.
How To Grow: Plant in full sun.
Outstanding Features: Two words: Eggplant Parmesan

Tips: Eggplant is somewhat drought tolerant and should not be overly watered as this may cause the plant to develop root rot. Mulching can help to keep the plant moist and watering can be increased once flowering has occurred. Since Eggplant is a heavy feeder

Uses: Garden Vegetable/Fruit

This message was edited Jul 18, 2013 1:17 PM

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

Wow, those look just beautiful! I will go pick mine now.

I got my Classic Eggplants as seedlings in one of those nursery 6 packs at my local nursery this spring.

Hummelstown, PA(Zone 6b)


Look like this? These are the flea beetles we have here in PA.

Also attached is the CO potao beetles adults and larva all feeding on eggplant in PA.

Thumbnail by drobarr Thumbnail by drobarr Thumbnail by drobarr
Boston, MA(Zone 6b)

Drobarr, good guess, but they're (thankfully) not those. I've left the little suckers alone for now. My main concern is a second wave of cutworms/army worms. I've been paying much closer attention to getting rid of whatever looks like their eggs. They seem to not give a fig about any pesticides. The bugs of the bayou are tough critters.

I've learned to not over-plant, too. Most of my summer veg need room to breathe! And I'm the only one in my family who likes eggplant, anyway. :)

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

I agree, our southern flea beetles are almost invisibly small. But you get a sort of zippy cloud movement when you approach them.

A spraying of Bt should take care of any new wave of worms, NOLA...and, it's on the approved organics list, if that's a concern...


Boston, MA(Zone 6b)

Thanks, y'all! Veggie gardening has brought a whole new interesting batch of insects into my world. :)

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Ha! I know what you mean, Nola! I think there may be more wormy things in NO than Houston. But the flea beatles are eating up my eggplants too. Every now and then I spray them with water, usually in the evening when you're not supposed to but that's when I can tolerate the heat. I've also sprayed a couple of times with spinosad but I think I'd have to keep a regular spraying schedule to keep up with them. Can't seem to do any gardening "regularly" lately. Wacky thyroid = wacky brain! Mine are still making fruit but they are scarred. Do yall think insecticidal soap would slow them down?

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

Drench the leaves with some soapy water with Lemon Ajax, then rinse with a blast from the hose...

Hummelstown, PA(Zone 6b)

pyrethins, neem oil, insecticidal soap, spinosad...all of those should work if used consistantly.

I used to live in South East Texas and I remeber the bugs were much more in number and for much longer than we have them up north.

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

Here are pictures of the Classic Eggplants I picked late yesterday afternoon. First picture is the biggest one and then the five others. So I had a total of 6. I gave them to my friend and neighbor that has been waiting for eggplants.

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

Those are really nice, Rita!

How big were the other 5?

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

Just slightly smaller than that biggest one.

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


I might have to get some of those Seeds next season.

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

There are of course more eggplants on them but those are much smaller.

Montreal, QC(Zone 5b)

Congrats, very nice. Mine are starting. Had some heavy rain today so I haven't had a chance to check on them.

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

Seems to take a long time from flowers to when the eggplants are ready.

Hummelstown, PA(Zone 6b)

Mine are just flowering

Thumbnail by drobarr
Boston, MA(Zone 6b)

I've tried everything from neem to DE to bT to imacloprid, all thanks to DG. My grandma says its just the location of my garden - lots of runoff, standing water, drainage, and neighborly issues. "grow the soil, not the plants" and all my good soil washes off.

But we're moving soon to a different house in the neighborhood, yay! With a dishwasher and better ground.

This message was edited Jul 19, 2013 7:42 PM

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

Gretal. Fairy Tale. Third picture more Fairy Tale and an Ichiban. Last Classic.

I just absolutly love the Fairy Tale Eggplants, intend to plant an entire row of those next year. Then I also really, really like those white Gretal Eggplants. Both are extra yummy.

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

My eggplants seem to be going thru a very few blossoms stage. I sure hope lots more blossoms come soon.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks, Linda. I'll have to get some lemon ajax and try that. I've hit them twice now with insecticidal soap. Won't know for a while how well it's working. The last few evenings I've been spraying and fertilizing all my veggies. I hope they all recover. The only thing looking decent is the okra. I planted a bit late this year and they are just now producing.
Rita, my eggplant also seem to take a rest and then start another bloom cycle. It's probably normal :) Your eggplants are beautiful!
We're about to go on vaca and I hope things will be okay while we're gone. I have a friend that will babysit! She's a master gardener, so maybe they'll be better when I get back! Janet

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

I hope they start up soon!

Albany, ME(Zone 4b)

SCButtercup, I've been plagued by flea beetles for years. Can't grow arugula or turnip or mustard greens at all. But I've been able to save my eggplant with Spinosad. I don't agree that BT or insecticidal soap work. First, it's not been my experience, but second, flea beetles don't live on the plants. They hop away. Insecticidal soap has to hit the insect. BT has to hit the larvae.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Great! I have spinosad, I've been working outside and here I go! My cucs are crappy looking too. The insects have been bad this summer.

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

I never use any fungicide or insectacide on my eggplants.

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

Territorial Seed has Millionaire Eggplant plants in the spring. I missed it this year but am thinking of next year. I guess not on this thread (cause I went thru it again) one of our posters talks about her Millionaire Eggplants. But I can't remember who it was.

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

Oh I forgot to add that so far my favorites of the eggplants I am growing are the small fruited ones. Fairy Tale is my favorite, Gretal second favorite. Rosa Bianca I don't much like at all, I will not be growing it next year.

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

Rosa Bianca, Ichiban and Classic.

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

What don't you like about the Rosa Bianca? It certainly is a pretty little thing, LOL!

What do you look for in determining your eggplant preferences?

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

This one looks much better. The first one was really strange looking and just about all in that top outside stuff they grow out of. Prickly! So I will try it again and re-evalute.

Montreal, QC(Zone 5b)

So I discovered one eggplant had really droopy leaves the Neon eggplant. I watered well, but it looks like it might have some type of wilt. It doesn't seem to be the whole plant. I'm removing leaves and a couple of stems. Any advice?

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

They leaves get droopy on mine if they want water. I water, they are fine.

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

Lunch from my garden. Grilled eggplant topped with grilled tomato slices. Yummy!

Thumbnail by newyorkrita Thumbnail by newyorkrita
Hummelstown, PA(Zone 6b)

mmmmmm newyorkrita looks good!

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

Nice, indeed!

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

Purple Rain and Rosa Bianca.

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

Ok, I've been promising to post this recipe over on the veggie forum, but, ya'll get it first, LOL!

Last night I made up my last batch of Spicy Eggplant, portioned for the freezer. It'll taste so good in the middle of winter, with some juicy shrimp thrown in!

SPICY EGGPLANT (Original Recipe)

"Eggplant cubes are stir-fried until browned, then simmered in a spicy Asian-inspired sauce with onion and garlic until meltingly tender."

My adjustments are in ( ).

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use Olive Oil)
4 Japanese eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
(or, slice them on the diagonal, like plantains)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use Olive Oil)
2 onions, thinly sliced (thin is better, too)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (I put LOTS of garlic)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I adjust to my taste)
2 Tbs. water (I use about 2 cups of water. You can also use shrimp broth or rice wine vinegar;
I use about 1/4 cup rice vinegar -- no wine -- and 2 cups of water, because I like more sauce
over my rice. Plus, it takes awhile to stew the okra down, and you need enough liquid...)
1 &1/2 tablespoons Oyster Sauce
(or use 1/2 fish sauce & 1/2 Worcestershire -- I use a good bit of the Oyster sauce; The fish
sauce is SALTY, and I've never used the Worcestershire sauce...)
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (adjust to your taste -- I use about 2 Tsps. in mine for a kick)
1 teaspoon white sugar (I've only used brown sugar, and I like it. I also tend to go on the
sweeter side, because it cuts some of the eggplant bitterness, if you're a little past the
prime. More like 2-3 teaspoons for me -- It balances with the salty, so it's not totally sweet.
But once you add the shrimp, you can appreciate the sweet...)
Ground black pepper (or red pepper flakes, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil (drizzled on the finished plate...)
Toasted Sesame Seeds for texture (optional - I've never used them, although you might
consider toasting up some Ramen Noodles and garnishing for crunch)
Fresh Ginger (optional -- I LOVE the subtle ginger flavor; mince finely & saute with the onions
and garlic)
Fresh Broccoli flowerettes (haven't added these, but I think I'll add some in the future)
Shrimp, chicken, beef, or firm Tofu for protein (I've used shrimp and chicken -- I prefer adding
the shrimp, because it adds its sweetness to the eggplant; I'd consider some cubed pork or
honey ham in the future, again, because these would add sweetness to the eggplant.

1. Make your sauce FIRST. Mix the soy sauce, water, oyster sauce, chili garlic sauce, sugar,
and black pepper, and stir to form a smooth sauce. Adjust to your taste, and set aside.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or wok (I use my cast iron skillet) over medium
high heat until almost smoking. Cook and stir the eggplant cubes until they begin to brown, 3
to 5 minutes. Remove the eggplant with a slotted spoon, and set aside.

3. Heat 2 more tablespoons of oil in the skillet over medium-high heat, and cook and stir the
onions just until they begin to soften, about 30 seconds. Stir in the garlic, and cook and stir an
additional 30 seconds.

4. Return the eggplant to the skillet, pour on the sauce, lower the heat, and allow the
vegetables and sauce to simmer until the eggplant is tender and almost all the liquid has
been absorbed, about 10-15 minutes (If you do NOT add the extra water to your sauce, you
won't have a lot of sauce over your rice -- mostly a drier eggplant mixture). Drizzle sesame
oil over the dish, and give one final brief stir to combine. Careful with that Sesame Oil!

Here are some helpful reviews I printed out before I made this the first time, for add'l tips and warnings

►Used everything but oyster sauce to keep it vegetarian. Served over ramen noodles (without seasoning packet). I used ROSA BIANCA eggplant from Farmers' Market. It has a wonderfully firm texture and not watery as regular eggplant can be. Can't wait to have again.

►I followed the instructions making only a few slight modifications - I added in a splash of rice wine vinegar, brown sugar instead of white, a teaspoon of teriyaki sauce and a sprinkle of ginger. Also, I left out the sesame oil and sprinkled toasted sesame seeds on the top. I served alongside sticky rice, broccoli, and prawns made simply with butter and lemon. I will certainly make this dish again and found the inclusion of Japanese eggplant versus the standard variety larger headed eggplant to be the key

►Excellent! I add shrimp for my husband for protein, and I also double the sauce, definitely a keeper.

►The only problem was that I didn't cook the eggplant long enough so it was a bit bitter.

►Add more chili paste to make it spicier. Cashews for crunch. Green onions for color. Serve on rice noodles.

►This was great! I omitted the oyster sauce, but everything else was the same. I spread it over pizza dough and sprinkled it with cheese (although it really didn't need it) and baked it. Absolutely LOVED it!

►This was an excellent dish. I added firm tofu which soaked up a lot of the flavor and made it more of a main dish for my family.

►I finally bought Japanese eggplant and wanted to make Basil Eggplant that I get at our favorite Thai restaurant. I decided to use this recipe and add basil. Recipe is outstanding! Don't be tempted to overcook the eggplant in the beginning. I mixed all of the sauce ingredients in a little bowl and added all at one time to the pan, increasing the sugar to 2 tsp. instead of 1. Added chopped basil (3-4 TBS of chopped) at the end. It is the very first time I cooked a sauce in a recipe that actually tasted like a sauce in a restaurant. Definitely a keeper for us. Next time I'm going to add chicken or shrimp...or both. Served with white and brown rice (choices) and sugar snap peas.

►Really good recipe. I used rice wine instead of water, brown sugar instead of white, and I added about a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger. Instead of adding the garlic and sesame oil at later stages in the recipe, I mixed both with the sauce. I diced the onion instead of slicing so everything would be the same shape. I used Lee Kum Kee Garlic Chili Sauce. It's really chunky and more of a paste than a sauce. I don't find it that spicy so I added red pepper flakes to the sauce to boost up the heat. I stir fried the eggplant in two batches using a 14" carbon steel wok, and added about 6 fresh basil leaves to the last batch. I returned the eggplant and onion back to the wok and then stirred in the sauce and let it cook for a minute or so. I kept stirring as it cooked to keep it from burning. I will make this again as it is a tasty and quick recipe for eggplant.

►I loved this recipe!! I actually didn't have SESAME OIL but I could see how it would just add more to the flavors. I also substituted Worcestershire sauce for the oyster sauce.

►Tasty! to make it easier, you can just cook the onion and the eggplant in the same pan, then add the sauce ingredients and stir it all together.

►This is a phenomenal way to use eggplant. I used Sriracha because I did not have any Garlic Chili sauce and it add a good amount of spice - also I added ginger and the garlic and sesame oil to the sauce as other reviews did and it's a great flavor blend. I suggest cooking everything together for much longer, almost 15 minutes, so the eggplant gets really creamy and absorbs all the sauce. Great, easy, fast recipe! Oh- I also added oyster mushrooms - great addition!




This message was edited Aug 15, 2013 1:49 PM

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


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

Enjoy, Rita!

Two things:
►The Gretel eggplants lend themselves beautifully to this recipe. I've tried it with all the varieties I grew this season, and these are my favorite to use. The Black Beauties get absolutely mushy, and the Hansel skins are tougher. I don't peel the Gretels , either -- just slice them on the diagonal. The other varieties I grew that were (I guess) similar to the Rosa Biancas, were ok, too.

You just have to absolutely catch all the eggplants before they go dull, or else they will be bitter in this dish. Which is why my "ace-in-the-hole" is the added sugar, and the shrimp...

But, not to worry -- you CAN substitute Splenda sweetener for the sugar!

►The other thing is that I cook this recipe down at least 15-20 minutes. The Gretel skins hold the flesh together, but I rough chop it with the side of my big spoon once it starts cooking down. And, my double? triple? batch of sauce gives me plenty liquid to work with in the simmering, and over my rice.



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