Eggplant is a great garden crop to grow for its wonderful color, shape and of course flavor. One of my favorite varieties is Machiaw although there are a whole host of great varieties to grow. Eggplants come in many shapes, colors and sizes and although many of you are familiar with the purple egg-shaped ones, they come in green, white, long and skinny, mini, round, and a whole host of other forms.
Eggplant like full sun and to be in well drained soil with a pH of 5.8-6.8. Eggplant also like a bit of calcium so I add a cup of lime for every 10ft of row of eggplant I plant. Eggplant should be started indoors about 2 months before you intend to put them outside. You should "harden them off" before putting the plants into the garden. This means gradually moving them outside but only leaving them outside in the day. Eventually, after a week or so you can leave them outside at night. I tend to just gradually stretch the time they spend outside. The first day might be 8am-4pm and then work up to leaving them outside all night.
Eggplant should be harvested when the skin is shinny. If the skin turns brown or cracks, the eggplant is overripe and will not taste as good.
International Heirloom Eggplants:
- Cambodian Green Giant – Large, green fruits with light colored stripes and unique ribbed fruits.
- Diamond – This popular Ukrainian variety offers dark purple, delicious tasting fruits.
- Rosa Bianca – An Italian eggplant displaying beautiful shades of pink and lavender.
- Brazilian Oval Orange Eggplant – Fruits start out green, ripening to orange and finally red.
- Thai Yellow Egg – This heirloom eggplant from Thailand produces yellow, egg-shaped fruits.
- Ping Tung Long – A productive slender purple fruited eggplant from Taiwan.
- Japanese White Egg – Plants are very productive yielding large quantities of small white fruits.
- Thai Long Green – Another heirloom eggplant from Thailand produces long, light green fruits.
- Listada de Gandia – Purple and white striped eggplant, this one is another Italian variety.
- Goyo Kumba – Unusual, tall and ornamental African heirloom with attractive, bright red fruits.
- Chinese Round Mauve – This heirloom from China produces colorful medium sized eggplants.
- Udmalbet – This green and purple striped eggplant from India turns yellowish as it ripens.