Free Delivery
Free Delivery When spending £15 or more
Quality Seed
Quality Seed High germination rates
Carbon Neutral
Carbon Neutral We offset all of our carbon

Aubergine  - Key Growing Information

Aubergines, also known as eggplants, are a versatile and delicious addition to any garden. Growing your own aubergines can be incredibly rewarding, especially when you get to harvest plump, glossy fruits. This guide will provide you with the best methods to grow aubergines, including tips on planting, spacing, watering, and choosing the right varieties. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced gardener, these tips will help you achieve a bountiful harvest.

Scientific Name

Solanum melongena

Crop Culture

Aubergines 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.

Planting Aubergines

Proper spacing and planting are crucial for healthy aubergine growth.

  • Spacing: Space the plants 18-24 inches apart in rows that are 30-36 inches apart. This allows each plant enough space to grow and ensures good air circulation, which helps prevent diseases.
  • Depth: Plant seeds about 1 cm deep in seed trays or pots, and transplant them into the garden when they are 10-15 cm tall and the soil has warmed up.
  • Mulching: Mulching helps retain soil moisture and regulate temperature.
  • Watering: Water regularly and evenly, as inconsistent moisture can lead to blossom end rot or split fruits.

Aubergines 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.

Soil and Watering

Aubergines prefer well-drained soil rich in organic matter.

  • Soil Preparation: Work compost or well-rotted manure into the soil before planting to improve fertility.
  • Watering: Aubergines need consistent moisture. Water regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Mulching can help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Recommended Aubergines Varieties

Choosing the right variety can enhance your growing experience and yield. F1 hybrids are particularly good at solving common problems.

Variety Description Benefits
'Bonica F1' Early and prolific, with glossy, deep purple fruits. Resistant to verticillium wilt, high yield
'Black Beauty' Classic heirloom variety, with large, dark fruits. Good flavor, versatile
'Pinstripe F1' Small, striped fruits that mature quickly. Compact, good for containers, early harvest
'Ivory F1' Uniform, cylindrical white fruits with mild flavor. Resistant to common diseases, consistent size
'Meatball F1' Large, meaty fruits with excellent flavor. Resistant to many fungal diseases, uniform fruits

Preventing Common Problems

F1 hybrids can help prevent or reduce many common problems associated with growing aubergines.

Variety Prevents/Reduces
'Bonica F1' Verticillium wilt, high yield
'Pinstripe F1' Early maturity reduces risk of late-season diseases
'Ivory F1' Common diseases, including powdery mildew
'Meatball F1' Resistant to many fungal diseases, uniform fruits

Harvesting Aubergines

Knowing when and how to harvest aubergines is crucial for the best flavor and yield.

  • Harvest Time: Aubergines are ready to harvest when their skin is glossy and they have reached their mature size, typically 70-80 days after transplanting.
  • Signs of Readiness: The fruit should feel firm and have a slight give when pressed. If the skin becomes dull, the fruit may be overripe.
  • Harvesting Method: Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut the fruit from the plant, leaving a short stem attached. Handle the fruits gently to avoid bruising.

Storage and Preservation

  • Short-Term Storage: Aubergines can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Long-Term Storage: For longer storage, they can be sliced, blanched, and frozen. Aubergines can also be pickled or used in canned dishes like ratatouille.

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.

Growing Aubergines in Containers

Aubergines can also be grown successfully in containers, making them perfect for small spaces such as balconies.

  • Container Size: Use a pot that is at least 30 cm in diameter and depth.
  • Soil: Use a high-quality potting mix enriched with compost.
  • Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist and ensure the container has good drainage.

Growing Aubergines Undercover

Aubergines can be grown in a greenhouse or poly tunnel to extend the growing season and protect them from adverse weather conditions.

  • Temperature Control: Growing undercover can help maintain optimal temperatures and protect plants from pests.
  • Ventilation: Ensure good ventilation to prevent fungal diseases and overheating.

By following these guidelines and choosing the right varieties, you can enjoy a plentiful harvest of delicious aubergines. Whether you have a large garden or just a small balcony, aubergines are a rewarding and versatile crop to grow.