Eggplant loves warmth and moisture, which is not surprising, because its homeland is India. With this in mind, if you want to get an early harvest, then grow eggplants in a seedling way and best in a greenhouse.
Eggplant will yield the highest yield if cabbage, legumes, cucumbers, and green crops are its predecessor.
As for the soil, the optimal pH is from 6.0 to 6.5, that is, neutral or slightly acidic. Given the powerful root system of eggplant, which can penetrate up to a meter deep, the soil should be dug up on a full bayonet of a shovel before planting seedlings (preferably in autumn, that is, in advance) and compost should be added at a rate of 3.5 kg per 1 m2 for digging, sealing into the soil. If the soil is old, then it is advisable to remove a layer 25-35 cm thick and fill its place with a mixture of equal shares of humus, fresh soil and well-rotted manure, as well as 15-20 g of nitroammofoska.
Sowing eggplants for seedlings
Around the middle of March, you can start sowing seeds for seedlings. First, the seeds need to be "revived", for which they should be dipped in a 2% solution of "potassium permanganate" for 15 minutes, and then rinsed in running water for a couple of minutes. Seeds should be sown in small boxes (50 by 25 cm) filled with a mixture of garden soil, river sand and humus in equal proportions. Before sowing, the soil must be moistened, after which you can sow the seeds, covering them by a centimeter or a little more. After sowing, the boxes must be moved to a room with a temperature of about + 250C. It is great if you put the boxes with seedlings on the sill of the southern orientation, but at noon, after the emergence of seedlings, it is better to close the window with a newspaper.
In the future, it is important not to overfill or overdry the soil, watering as the top layer dries up, and using a spray bottle for this. When the first true leaf appears, the seedlings can be cut into separate peat-humus pots filled with the same mixture. Peat-humus pots are good because when planting seedlings in a permanent place, you do not need to shake the plants out of the pots, they can be planted together with the seedlings in the ground. In the soil, the peat-humus pots will begin to decompose and give the plants additional nutrition. Thanks to them, there are no lunges when planting seedlings.
About a week and a half after transplanting, the seedlings can be fed by dissolving 3.5 g of nitroammophoska in a liter of water. Consumption rate - 100 g of solution per pot or per plant. Seedlings can be re-fed after 15-17 days, for which it is advisable to use bird droppings. Prepare this fertilizer as follows: dissolve bird droppings in water in a ratio of 1:15, then let it brew for 6-8 days and dilute the infusion 10 times more. The consumption rate is 100 g per pot or per plant.
Planting eggplants in the greenhouse
In the phase of the 5-6th true leaf, which usually occurs in mid-May, eggplants can be transplanted into a greenhouse or into open ground. In the case of using peat-humus pots, as we have already said, the plants do not need to be removed, but directly with them buried into the soil along the edges of the pot, at a distance of 40 cm from each other. It is best to plant the eggplants in two lines, making the distance between them equal to 50 cm, and between the lines - 80 cm.
When transferring seedlings from pots to holes, it is advisable to add 200 g of humus or 50 g of wood ash to each. In this case, it is necessary to deepen the seedlings up to the first true leaf.
After planting, the seedlings should be watered with water (300 g per plant) and the soil should be mulched with humus with a layer of 1 cm.
After about a week, the plants can be fed with nitroammophos by dissolving 25-35 g of this fertilizer in a bucket of water. The rate per plant is 1 liter of solution. It is advisable to do the next feeding after 3 weeks, then you can use the infusion of bird droppings, prepared according to the same scheme as for seedlings, but the consumption rate is 0.5 liters per plant.
Conditions for growing eggplants in a greenhouse
Growing eggplant in a greenhouse requires constant attention. The culture is sensitive to the lack of light and heat, therefore, in cloudy weather, you need to turn on the lighting, and if it is cold, then heating.
Temperature in the greenhouse should not fall below + 210C.
Watering It is also very important, it should be carried out as the soil dries up, periodically loosening its top layer and not allowing a crust to form. Usually eggplants are watered 2 times a week, and in the period of fruit ripening - every other day. Sprinkling watering is allowed. After each watering, be sure to loosen the soil, and at the beginning of June and at the end of June, slightly (by 1-1.5 cm) poke the plants.
Harvest... It is advisable to tie tall varieties to a support, so the fruits will develop better. With good care, enough heat and moisture, 13-16 fruits can be obtained from one bush in a greenhouse. Fruits should not be overripe, otherwise they will be very rough and practically unsuitable for food. You need to collect eggplants as they ripen, and closer to the beginning of autumn, all the ovaries, except for the largest ones, need to be removed, because they will not have time to ripen.
In conclusion, the most interesting varieties of eggplant:
- Adamant (fruit weight - 300 g),
- Alyoshka (230-250 g),
- Benezia (340-350 g),
- Bomb carrier (200-350 g),
- Overseas Polosatik (500-900 g),
- Ilya Muromets (500-550 g),
- Indigo (230-250 g),
- Irzhik (350 g),
- Wild boar (230 g),
- Lesik (250 g),
- Mabel (270-280 g),
- Samurai Sword (230 g),
- Mizunotakumi (230 g),
- Mikhalych (300 g),
- Monty (280 g),
- Sailor (380 g),
- Sausage (230 g),
- Chernomor (230 g),
- Southern Night (230 g).
All of them were obtained in 2015 and have shown excellent results in the past seasons. There is no point in recommending newer varieties yet, because it is not known whether they will be really good, and the seeds of the newest varieties are sometimes more difficult to get.
Continued - in the article Feeding eggplants in the greenhouse.