Black Beauty (Eggplant/O/P)
Latin Name: Solanum melongena var. esculentum
Item #: 151H
EGGPLANT - for fresh market or bedding plant sales.
CULTURE: Sow seeds indoors from Mar. 1st. through Apr. 1st. Use moist Jiffy Mix or sand (not soil) 0.25 in/6 mm deep; cover lightly and keep very warm @ 72°F/22°C for 7-10 days. Use bottom heat from electric cables under seedling trays or pots to encourage faster germination and good seedling growth. If seeds are slow to germinate conditions may be too cool (below 65°F/18°C). It could take up to 3 weeks to produce useable seedlings. After seeds germinate place trays or pots in a bright sunny location with 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. Transplant seedlings about 4-5 weeks later when true leaves are 3/8 in/10 mm in diameter. Plant the same depth as they were in the seedling pots or trays.
Eggplant varieties sometimes are very sensitive to improper transplanting methods like cold drafts, too little water or cold water use on tender seedlings. Grow plants warm @ 75°F/24°C minimum indoor temperatures. Apply fungicide so plant leaves are moist. Reduce growing temperatures to 65-70°F/15-18°C as seedlings mature in late May or early June when night temps are above 45°F/7°C. Plants will lose their blooms on chilly nights so container plants may have to become lightly covered at night if temps suddenly drop. Feed plants once every 5-6 weeks with a well balanced commercial fertilizer. Harvest small fruit. Overmature fruit become tough with bitter seeds. Remove or spray for Colorado potato beetles or smaller flea beetles as they appear. Plant dwarf types in gallon containers and regular types outdoors in rows 24 in/60 cm apart and 3 ft/90 cm apart in the row.