Common name: Egg Plant
Aubergine is a tender vegetable best grown under glass in the UK.
They are cold-sensitive, and require a long warm season for best results, and though they do well in these conditions, they will not in very humid conditions.
The fruit skin is smooth and glossy with a slight bloom and the flesh is similar to that of young marrows.
The size and shape is dependant upon the variety grown, e.g. they may be round, ovoid or oblong, and have either white or purple skins.
Plants are prone to aphid and spider mite attack so regular inspection of the leaves, particulary the underside of the leaves for infestations is advisable.
If found treat accordingly.
Sow seeds in trays /cells of seed compost and lightly cover them with similar compost, then germinate them at a temperature of 18°C (64°F).
Soak the compost prior to sowing or alternatively soak the compost from below after sowing.
They can take up to two weeks to germinate.
As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into 70mm (3”) pots of potting compost.
Place plants in a frost free greenhouse or frame to harden off until planting out time.
Do not permit seedlings or young plants to suffer from low temperature or drought (min 10°C / 50°F)
Seedlings Hardening off
Plant out in the greenhouse border 500-600mm (18"-24") apart or in ring culture pots.
Alternatively, in sheltered areas, place the plants in 200-250mm (8”-10”) pots of potting compost the equivalent of JI No2 or 3 and grow on against a south facing wall.
Ensure that plants never dry out.
If growing outdoors stake and tie in the plants.
Week 24: (or before)
When the plants are about 200-300mm (8"-12") high, pinch out the growing tips to encourage two leading shoots.
Commence feeding fortnightly with a full strength high potash liquid.
Alternatively. feed fortnightly once the third fruit has set.
If growing outdoors commence feeding when the first fruit forms.
Week 26 onwards:
If growing large varieties, remove any side-shoots as they appear, this is not necessary with smaller varieties.
Similarly with large varieties, allow only four or five fruits to form/ripen on each plant, and use them as soon as possible after harvesting.
Small varieties can be left to produce as many fruits as the plant can sustain.