Grow Diary: Eggplant
- Days To Germination: 10 to 20 days. Optimum Soil Temp. For Germination: 70 to 80F. Days To Harvest: 80 days. Planting Depth: 1/4inch. Spacing, Plant: 15 to 20 inches. Light: Sunny Location / under glass
- Sow in 2 seeds per pot in early spring covering lightly with fine soil, and ensure a minimum temp of 70F until germinated.
- When 3 –4 inches high plant to growing position, (container or 3 -4 per grow bag), best under glass. These will not tolerate cold conditions. Keep pest free.
- To aid fruit development, add potassium rich fertilizer with each watering when fruit has set. To encourage further production, pick before the fruit surface shine fades.
- Professional DEFRA licenced (07274) Quality Seed Supply only - Minimal packaging - Ziplock labelled bags.
Eggplant (F1 Baby Belle) seeds were germinated in a heated germinator (Garland Fab4 Electric Propagator) using Root Riot Organic Starter Cubes. Only one of the seeds sprouted after 6 days, which was then transferred to the 10L Kratky hydroponics bucket containing Aqua Vega nutrient media at a concentration of 1:300, pH 6.5.
The seedling was quite slow to grow at first (possibly due to the trauma of moving it into the new environment) but after a month or so began to grow strongly. By day 68 post-seed start, the first flower buds were observed on the plant, and part of the stem had become woodified. Unfortunately, around this time, the nutrient media started to run out, and the test grow was terminated just as the flowers started to bloom.
The key take-away from this experiment is that although eggplant plants can grow very nicely in the Kratky hydroponics system, the fixed nutrient volume of the system makes getting any sort of yield of eggplant fruit unfeasible. As a consequence, something akin to a recirculating hydroponics system should be used for eggplant grows where nutrient media can be topped up and adjusted as needed.