Everything about How to Growing Eggplant Well!

Eggplant or Solanum Melongena L is a popular vegetable which is growing in the tropical and subtropical area. This plant is one of the member of Solanaceae family which includes the crops vegetable variants, such as potato, tomato, and capsicums. Eggplant is origin from south-eastern Asia and was introduced into Europe by Arab traders. The fruit of eggplant also called differently in another state, in France it’s called Aubergine, in Italy, it’s named Melanzana, and called Brinjal in India.

The standard shape of eggplant is like egg-shaped, has the purple-black fruit and glossy skin. Another variety includes white and purple speckles. Eggplant has 7-10 inches in size, the different temperature of growing place will affect to eggplant size and shape. As we know, eggplants are one of the warm-season vegetables; they can grow well in the warm area. Because the warm area has a longer growing period. It’s different with the cool area which has a short period for growing eggplant.

1. Varieties of eggplant

Variants of eggplant

There are several variants of eggplant that commonly known by people — first, the large oval eggplant fruit. This variant has the purple skin overall and an oval-shaped, the size is bigger than standard fruit. Second, the Eastern or Asian variant. The Asian eggplant fruit also has the purple skin with standard size. The last one is the new variant with various shapes, sizes, and colors. This is the creators of the gardeners who want to produce the unique eggplant for consumption or ornamental.

2. The Adaptability for Growing Eggplant

There are two factors which are affected to the eggplant growth. Firstly, the climate. Climate is the essential factors to determine the planting period. The climate also affects the quality of eggplant fruit while producing. Eggplants can produce good quality fruit in a warm season. They can survive in a cold season with stable temperature but will be intolerant for the very low-temperature area. TIPS, you can growing eggplant in the minimum temperature around 10 degrees Celsius and maximum 34 degrees Celsius.

For the best result, the optimal temperature range from 26 degrees Celsius to 29 degrees Celsius. Secondly, the soil requirements for growing eggplant. Eggplant will grow over well in all soil types. But, it’s important to pay attention more for some conditions of the soil itself, such as the composition, the soil depth, pH, texture, the holding capacity for water, and the crop rotation.

3. Soil Preparation for Growing Eggplant

Soil preparation

Eggplant can grow well in the warm region that provides fertile soil and full of sunlight. Moreover, The eggplant requires well-drained soil with low acid and high organic material. On the other hand, the low drained soils will result in the poor plant. There’s no standard of the soil type that can be used to planting eggplant, but the sandy loam is the best for it. For the first production, choose the sites that have the exposure from southern to southwestern. It is related to the amount of sunlight for the eggplant growth. The soil preparation method also must be adjusted with the soil type. That’s why the soil preparation is important before planting the eggplant.

From soil preparation we will know:

1. The restrictions for root growth

2. The availability of oxygen

3. Detect the pest or disease that may be occurring

4. The water contained the soil

5. Increase the nutrition for the soil before planting

6. Reduce the production budget

The plant technique is started with transplants on individual pots. The eggplant seeds aren’t directly planted in the ground; it is because the eggplant will survive in the long growing season. The transplant becomes a head-start — the transplantation doing by the brush paper to protect the eggplant from unstable temperature.

Growing eggplant and another veggie in the state which has the cool region is a challenge because some plants don’t survive here. Before planting the eggplant in cool weather, it’s recommended to wait at least three weeks after the weather. Check the soil temperature regularly, if the temperature reaches out around 26 degrees Celsius, the soil is ready to use. Start to clean up the land from the residue.

4. Planting Practice

  • Period

Planting dates

The planting period for seedling also should be determined to reach the maximum result. The earliest period begins when the temperature of the environment is touched the minimum requirements for the plant growth. In South Africa, the low veld is started from February to May; the middle veld begins from September to December, then, the high veld coming October till November, for the western cape starts from October to December. The different location has own period, so choose the right time for planting.

  • Nursery

Before the planting period is coming, plant the seeds on polybag. Take seedlings there and allow them to grow for about three weeks while preparing the soil. The eggplant growth on the polybag have to control day by day includes the sunlight and water needs. While waiting for the plant strong enough to move to the land, plow the soil using the plow and clean up the residue that possibly becomes the harm for growing eggplant. Form the land with the width 120 cm, and the height based on necessary. Covering the area by using black plastics. It’s important to keep the warm of soil and avoid them from the pest.

  • Planting

When the planting period is coming, remove the black plastics and turn the soils into 20 cm deep with 20-50 cm distance between plants. To maximize the penetration of sunlight and improve the fruit color, the gardeners can give more space on each row about 150-250 cm. The plant population for 1-hectare grounds is up to 25.000 plants. The gardeners usually plant eight rows, then skip two rows later. This is the great technique in planting; it needs to make the way to take the fruit when harvest period is coming. The eggplants need to adapt to their new environment around the land. It’s better to add the fertilizer near the plant. There’s no absolute guide for planting time, but it’s recommended to plant it when evening (3.pm-6.pm).

Learn the guidelines for plant population below for one-hectare area.

Space between plants (cm)

Space between rows (cm)

150

175

200

225

250

20

33.000

28.500

25.000

22.000

20.000

25

26.400

22.800

20.000

17.600

16.000

30

22.000

19.000

16.700

14.600

13.300

35

19.000

16.300

14.300

12.700

11.400

40

16.500

14.285

12.400

11.000

10.000

50

13.200

11.400

10.000

8.800

8.000

Note: In the one-hectare area, the gardeners make the space between rows 2.5 meters (250 cm) and the space between plants 20 cm, so the plant population is 20.000 plants/ha. The table above can be a guideline for gardeners to calculate the number of seedlings, fertilizers, and the budget needs.

5. Planting Care

Eggplant care

During the growing eggplant, it needs to do the planting maintenance. The eggplant needs several fertilizers to improve production, especially when the plant starts to flowering. The compost also has the function to exterminate the insects from plants. Eggplant requires the nitrogen (N) for amount 168-224 kilograms per ha, the phosphorus (P) for about 90-134 kilograms per ha, and the potassium (K) needs 22-45 kilograms per ha.

These fertilizers are blend into one and applied for the first time when moving the transplanted plant into the land. During the growing period, the 4.5 kilograms of nitrogen should be applied on each week to trigger the vegetal growth. When the flowering time, the nitrogen needs increase up to 7-11 kilograms each week. For the enlargement fruit, it needs 5-7 kilograms of nitrogen for a week. By fertilizing regularly, the growing eggplant will run well and resulting good fruit.

Read also : Container Garden Vegetables for Beginners

6. Irrigation Management

Then, the irrigation management also important to maintain the soil moisture. Eggplant can grow well with the drip irrigation. The drip irrigation can crop the amount of water about 1.700-1.800 m3. The water necessity is based on the stage of eggplant growth itself. The absorption of water and nutrients for eggplant is work for the root, so maintain the moisture of soil around the root zone is the essential part that can’t be separated in the planting process. During the flowering period, the pollination of eggplant flower occurs.

The eggplant flowers contain two elements, the female, and male. The pollination process helped by an insect, in this case, is a bee. The flowering and fruit forming starts at least seven to eight weeks after transplanting, and the fruit will get the perfect shape and size after three weeks from flowering.

The eggplant growth can be divided into four stage. On each step, the function of irrigation to supply the water is different.

The fourth stage of growing eggplant are:

STAGE 1: The Seedlings

• The seedlings process spent up to four weeks

• On this stage, the water used is on a low amount


STAGE 2: The growth of vegetative

• Start from the first flower formed

• On this stage, double amount of water used is important to improve the development.


STAGE 3: The fruit formed

• At least two weeks after flowering

• On this stage, the water usage is highest during the eggplant life


STAGE 4: Ready to harvest

• Start from 75-90 days after transplanting

• The water usage should be decreased as the same as the first stage.

7. The Water Needs

Eggplant requires enough water during the growing season. The water needs should be managed well, because of the lack of water and over of water having the consequences for the eggplant production. The amount of water needs is various depends on the climate of the year. Each plant needs 25 mm water per week in the cooler days and requires up to 50 mm per week in the dry days. The water function for the plant is to strengthen the root system and make the healthy leaves. In short, The low of water can lead to several cases, there are:

  • Low quality of yields includes the small size of the fruit and non-brighten color.
  • The photosynthetic doesn’t run optimally
  • Low of flower production
  • The stunted of plants growth
  • Weak root system

To avoid these cases, it’s also not recommended to give too much water. The proportional amount of water is the best way to keeping the growing eggplant. The gardeners oblige to be careful when making the irrigation. The irrigation should be monitored frequently adjust to climate change. Too much water can lead to several problems, there are:

  • There’s not enough oxygen for the plant production
  • The leaves become wilt
  • The diseases spread all over the root
  • There’s no development of plant

8. Controlling the weeds

Eggplant is sensitive with aggressive weeds. The weeds control should be done to avoid the plant from damage. Weeds aren’t good for the eggplant because the weeds become the place of insects and virus development. Weeds can be controlled by two methods, the chemical method, and manual method. The gardeners use the chemical substance (in this case is herbicide) to obstruct the growth of the weed. In another hand, the gardeners can remove the weeds with their hands by doing mulching and cultivation. Adding an organic mulch to prevent the weeds. Organic mulch like rice straw also beneficial to keep the soil moisture and have a role as the organic essence to improve the eggplant production. If the weeds development isn’t controlled, the eggplant will susceptible attack the disease and pest.

Read also : Organic Farming | Principles, Method, and Practice!

9. The Disease and Pest Management

Eggplant Problem

The eggplant can live for four years without serious insects or diseases problems. But, the gardeners should be aware to prevent these problems. Insects and diseases can’t predict when they attack the plants. The gardeners should prepare the fungicide, insecticide, and herbicides regularly. This potion usage must consider the instructions on the label.

INSECT PROBLEM :

The most common insect problems that attracted to eggplant are Lygus (lygussp), spider mites (Tetranichusspp), wireworms (Elateridae), and flea beetles. These insects can destruct the growing eggplant, especially during the flowering season. These insects also bring out the harm to the plant. Lygus is a danger for the flower, lygus can make the flower drop. The spider mites also to be a threat to the fruit development. Then, the flea beetles are attacking to the young plant. For these problems, the gardener can use the potion in a proportional amount. Besides that, monitoring the fields also important. Clean up the field from weeds to prevent the insect growth.

DISEASE PROBLEM :

The disease problem that usually attacks the eggplant is the curly top virus and verticilliumalboatrum. The curly top virus spread on the plant leaves, this virus can make the leaves turn into yellow, and the plant dies. The leaves will be brittle and thicker than a normal plant. There are no pesticides that can be minimized or control virus development. The one way is to remove and destroy the affected plant from the field. Then, the verticilliumalboatrum is one of the fungus kind that can cause the plant wilt.

This virus absorbs in the soil, destruct the roots and vascular system. When the vascular system is damaged, the water circulation of the plant will not fast. The first symptom of this disease is yellowing the leaves, and the plant growth will be stunted. The crop rotation can help to overcome this disease. Don’t use the soil which is susceptible to the verticilliumalbo atrium to planting eggplant. Rotate with different vegetables, such as the spinach, the cabbage, onion, garlic or broccoli. It takes for about three or four years to normalize the soil to use for planting the eggplant.

10. The Harvest Period and Storing

Eggplant harvest and storing

  • Harvesting

Eggplant harvest starts on 75 until 90 days after transplanting and one month after flowering. At this time, the fruit already formed perfectly, and the skin is glossy. The soft leather and texture can mark the good quality fruit, check it by pressing your thumb into skin fruit and let it disappear while you detached it. For the market needs, the maturity level of fruit must be attention. The consumer dislikes the large seeds inside and over mature because the taste is bitter. The over mature can be seen from the permanent mark when you press the thumb, and the skin is turning into brown. The overripe fruit isn’t sold well, so discard and remove it. For the Asian standard, the fruit should be harvested when the diameter is reached out ½ to 1 inch.

  • Storing

The eggplant stem is hard and woody, use the sharp knife or the garden shear to cut off the fruit. Left off the stem for 3-5 cm on the plant. The fruit has the calyx on the top of that; the calyx is the outside part of the flower to protect the petals. The calyx contains spiny; it’s recommended to wear a glove to secure the hands. After all the fruits are harvested, handle it carefully to avoid the damage. Wash the fruit to clean up the dust from it. The fruit must be prepared to consume as soon as possible or store in the cool room with 10 degrees Celsius in temperature and 95% of humidity for a week. The maximum to store the eggplant fruit on the cool room is 5 to 7 days. It’s possible to store the fruit in the refrigerator, but separate it with banana, apple, and tomato because these fruit is resulting in the ethylene gas which triggers the deterioration.

11. After Harvest Period

After the harvest period, the eggplant still produces the flower and fruit until four years later. The gardeners should be clean up the area to prevent the insects. To hold the quality of eggplant fruit, fertilize the plant after harvest. One hectare area can produce until 300 tons of eggplants, and it can be harvest more at least two weeks after the previous harvest. The eggplant production will continue as long as the dry season. If the cool season is coming, the production of eggplant turns into low because the plants are possible to die and can’t survive. The eggplant cultivation is profitable for the gardeners, especially in the agrarian state that provides large land for planting process.

12. The Eggplant Marketing

For the market supply, packing the fruit carefully by using the box or plastic wrap. Ensure that all fruits are good and reasonable to consume. The eggplant fruit usually sells out in the traditional market, but the availability depends on the season. On the dry season, the eggplant availability is much, and the price turns low. But, on the cool season, the availability will decrease and the price will be expensive but still afford for the people. Eggplant is delighted by the consumer because known as useful health source. The gardeners usually sell their eggplant in fresh condition. The customer prefers to buy fresh eggplant for their consumption.

13. Eggplant Serving

For the consumption, eggplant usually serves as cuisines. There are many ways to cook the eggplant. For instance, Some people like to bake, grilled, roasted, sautéed, or fried the eggplant. It can be cooked like a piece or a whole. Eggplant is also good to cook with other spices like garlic, lemon juice, and cheese. Some foods also require a frozen eggplant for the recipe. To serving the eggplant, you have to pay attention more to the cooking method. The wrong method can reduce the nutrition that contains inside the eggplant. Ensure that the eggplant is clean and fresh before cooking. Don’t serve the eggplant if any brown dots and spoiled. The amount of eggplant consumption also has to control, don’t be over consume!

Read also : Build your body with This Vegetable High in Protein!

14. Nutrition Value

Eggplant is known as one of the healthiest food in the world. Although the taste is bitter, eggplant contains lots of nutrients that beneficial for the body growth and protection. In general, eggplant contains mineral, vitamin, antioxidant, and dietary fiber. The nutrition of fresh eggplant is different with the cooked eggplant fruit. The extra nutrients like carbohydrate, omega 3, omega 6, and vitamin A gain while cooking the eggplant. The eggplant nutrients can look at the table below.

The nutrients value of cooked eggplant

Serving size:

½ cup of boiled eggplant

Primary nutrients :

To serving this size, the nutrients will exceed about 5% of the RDA

Calories

13

Carbohydrate

3.2 gram

Cholesterol

0.2 gram

Protein

0.4 gram

Sodium

2 gram

Fat

0.1 gram

Calories from fat

7%

Potassium

119 mg

Dietary fiber

3.4 gram

Omega 6

50.7 gram

Omega 3

10.4 gram

15. The Benefits of Eggplant

Beside contains the useful nutrients for body, eggplant also can help the people to improve their health quality, include reduce the serious disease risk, caring the beauty skin, and as the medicine for women problems.

  • EGGPLANT AS AN IRON

Eggplant can deal with the premenstrual syndrome of women. Besides that, eggplant also can fix the antenatal anemia. But, the eggplant isn’t primary medicine to deal with these problems. Consulting to the doctor to get the right decision. Eggplant work as an iron in the body. So, it’s recommended for the active mother, teenagers, girls, and lactating mother.

  • DECREASE THE CANCER RISK

Eggplant can reduce the risk of cancer because it contains the fibers. Fibers can predisposition as a chemical substance to prevent the cancer disease. In addition, eggplant can stop the development of cancerous cells on the body.

  • REDUCE THE CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

Eggplant is high potassium and vitamin B6 which can reduce the stroke and heart disease risk. Above all, Eggplant work inside the body to clean the free radicals, and normalize the blood circulation. The sufferer of these diseases is recommended for consuming eggplant.

  • GOOD FOR BRAIN

Eggplant contains the phytonutrients which important to improve the memorize function and protecting the cell membranes. Moreover, By consuming the eggplant regularly, the brain cells will be prevented to damage.

  • CHOLESTEROL LOWERING AGENT

Some varieties of eggplant can reduce the cholesterol because it contains the high fiber that able to absorb the blood cholesterol on the liver. Besides that, eggplant also works as an antioxidant for the body so that the cholesterol will decrease time by time.

  • THE BEAUTY SKIN, NAIL, AND HAIR

Above all, Eggplant is high of water, minerals, fats, and vitamins. These substances are able to keep healthy skin, nail, and hair. The eggplant can make a better skin tone. Therefore, Consuming eggplant can improve the quality of the healthy body.

In Conclusion

Overall, cultivating eggplant is look like difficult and complicated for the first time. But, it profitable and easy in maintenance. Eggplant can survive and long-life in well-drained region with minimum temperature 10 degrees Celsius and maximum 34 degrees Celsius. The planting care of eggplant also easy and not wasting time. The main factor of growing eggplant are the sun and water. The irrigation model should be designed to facilitate enough water for eggplant on each stage.

To overcome the disease and insects problems, the gardeners should be aware and prepare the pesticide, fungicide, and herbicide. Besides contains the beneficial substance inside, the eggplant also having lots of advantages for the human health. It can’t be denied that eggplant is categorized as the healthiest vegetable. 

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