Aubergines, commonly known as eggplants, thrive in warm weather and require a long growing season. They prefer full sun and fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5-6.8. Enrich the soil with compost or well-rotted manure before planting.
Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost date. Transplant outdoors when the danger of frost has passed and daytime temperatures consistently exceed 70°F (21°C). Eggplants are sensitive to cold and require warm soil to grow well.
Space the plants 18-24 inches apart in rows that are 30-36 inches apart. Mulching helps retain soil moisture and regulate temperature. Water regularly and evenly, as inconsistent moisture can lead to blossom end rot or split fruits.
Eggplants benefit from staking or caging to support their tall growth and heavy fruit load. Use a balanced fertilizer to provide additional nutrients as the plants grow.
For more detailed cultivation tips, refer to our comprehensive aubergine grow guide.
Diseases, Insects, and Weeds
Common pests include flea beetles, aphids, and spider mites. Use row covers to protect young plants from flea beetles. Regular monitoring and organic or chemical controls can manage other pests. Diseases like verticillium wilt and blossom end rot can be prevented with good soil management and consistent watering.
Harvest aubergines when the skin is glossy and the fruit is firm but not hard. Cut the fruit from the plant with a few inches of stem attached. Do not wait too long to harvest, as overripe eggplants can be bitter and have a tough texture.
Storage and Preservation
Aubergines can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. For longer storage, they can be sliced, blanched, and frozen. Eggplants can also be pickled or used in canned dishes like ratatouille.