I'm talking eggplants of course. This week marks the beginning of eggplant season and may be just a little more excited than when I plucked my first tomato. I know, it's blasphemous but tomatoes are easy compared with this stubbornly heat loving fruit. My first couple years trying to grow these creamy delectable goodies was a failure. The fruit were undersized, whizened and overripe when I plucked them from their thorny branch. Since then, I have learned.
A many digit hand of 'Little Fingers.' Not my favourite variety but cute.
Eggplants are perfectly growable 'round these parts if you follow these tips.
1. They like it HOT, HOT, HOT. In Ottawa, it is probably hard to over do the sun and heat so pile it on. Put them in your sunniest location and heat the ground with clear plastic mulch, plant on a slight southern slope or use any other trick that you know.
2. If you want them big, don't let them go lean. Feed them with compost or well rotted manure and make sure they don't dry out. If you are planting in pots, use a moisture rententive mixture and put a light layer of mulch on the surface.
3. Not all eggplants are created equal. Choose early maturing, cool tolerant varieties. I find that many long asian variety are very early and productive. Applegreen is another excellent cultivar that outperformed my expectations during last year's cloudy, wet weather. I have yet to have luck with any large, Italian varieties, but I will keep on trying!
I would love to hear recommendations of other short / cool Aubergine* winners.
*Memories from the other side of the pond - common name for Solanum melongena in the UK and nearby.
Seeds of Diversity database of Eggplant varieties sold in Canada