Growing aubergines (eggplants, brinjal … whatever you want to call them) can add some welcome variety to your garden / allotment crop. With new cultivars that crop more easily, this rich, succulent fruit has grown in popularity with UK growers. Here we have some tips on how to get started.
Soil preparation for aubergines
Aubergines prefer a well drained, sunny and sheltered location for the best results. A cloche is often necessary in cool climates and should be placed over the soil two weeks prior to planting.
Alternatively, aubergine plants can be grown successfully in 9 inch pots or in grow bags – three plants per bag.
Sowing and planting aubergines
Raise the seedlings in a propagator under glass so that the temperature remains a constant 60-70 days F. Sow two seeds into each cell and cull the weakest of the two seedlings. Harden the seedlings off before transplanting them outdoors.
Care of the plant
Remove the growing points of the plants once they have reached a height of 12 inches. When five (5) fruits have formed, remove the lateral shoots. Mist the plants regularly to aid in fruit setting. Water the plants regularly and add a potassium rich fertiliser with each watering when the aubergines begin to swell.
When to pick aubergines
Harvest the aubergines when each fruit reaches a satisfactory size (about 5-6 inches for most varieties), but before the eggplant themselves lose their glossiness. Dull looking eggplant
are typically over-ripe and will be bitter to the taste.
Aubergines can be kept in a plastic bag in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and can be frozen for short periods.
If you are interested in trying your hand at aubergines, there are plenty of brands offering varieties that will take well in UK greenhouses and warmer southern regions such as Suttons, DT Browns and Mr Fothergill’s.
For more allotment and vegetable growing tips visit our gardening channel.Last modified: July 31, 2021