Growing Eggplants in Northeast Florida Vegetable Gardens
( Solanum melongena )
I love growing Eggplants. The foliage is a beautiful sage green color, big and bold, and the flowers are a lovely lavender purple. If that werent enough attraction for them to be considered for even an ornamental garden, the fruits are even prettier than the flowers!
Eggplants are members of the nightshade family and related to tomatoes and potatoes. The fruits come in a wide array of shapes and sizes depending on variety. Eggplants can grow from 2-4 ft high and wide depending on variety grown.
Click her to take you to the List of Eggplant varieties being grown here at S & J Nursery for the
Spring of 2016 Northeast Florida Eggplant Garden!
Foliage, Origins, and Use of Eggplant / Solanum melongena for Northeast Florida vegetable gardens:
Eggplants are upright growing stout plants. The foliage is a nice sage green color with silvery tones to the undersides of the leaves on many varieties.
Eggplants are indigenous to tropical Asia, and come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors. India alone has near 20 indigenous varieties of eggplant.
Eggplants can be roasted, boiled, baked, grilled, or fried and are a staple in many cultures cuisine’s. In England and France, eggplants are referred to as Aubergine.
Planting Season for Eggplant in Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida and the surrounding areas:
Eggplants are considered a warm season crop, they are frost sensitive and should only be planted in frost free months in Northeast Florida vegetable gardens.
Start your eggplants in February from seed and March from S & J Nursery transplants. Growing season for eggplants in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area garden is February to July.
Sun Exposure for growing Eggplant in Northeast Florida Vegetable Gardens:
Plant your Eggplant in a full sun or afternoon sun location for the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area garden.
Soil Preferences for Eggplant / Solanum melongena in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida areas:
Eggplants will do best in the Northeast Florida garden when grown in soils that have been generously amended with compost. Be sure to plant into well drained soils.
Care of Eggplant in the Northeast Florida Vegetable Garden:
Watering your Eggplants:
Newly planted Eggplants will require watering daily for the first few days to a week after being planted from seed or transplanted from an S & J Nursery container.
Once the eggplants are established and growing, be sure to keep the soil moist by watering at least once per week if rainfall is scarce.
Mulching your Eggplants:
For maximum growth potential, mulching plants generously, this will help conserve moisture.
Fertilizing Your Eggplants:
Feed every two to three weeks with an all purpose fertilizer like 6-6-6.
Or for an organic approach, try fertilizing with a mixture of fish emulsions and seaweed (kelp) at one ounce each per gallon of water. Apply semi weekly as a foliar spray.
If your vegetable plants look like they could use a boost, give them a good watering with homemade compost tea as soon as the top few inches of soil around your plant is dry to the touch!
Harvesting Your Eggplant in the Northeast Florida Vegetable Garden:
Eggplants can be harvested when skins are showing full color for the variety grown. Skin should be bright and glossy and flesh should give slightly when gently pressed. Flesh should be creamy white and seeds should still be immature.
Note: If when cut open, your eggplants seeds are dark brown they are fully ripened and can be removed and stored for next years crop. Fruits with fully ripened seeds will be bitter and unpalatable.