If you’ve been following the tips presented in our previous articles, then there’s a good chance you’ve sharpened your gardening skills and are experiencing the joy of nurturing a thriving green thumb. The best way to take your gardening skills to the next level is to extend your harvest and make the most of your garden space. Veggies are a nice addition to any garden, and by many seen as a bit more difficult than traditional plants. That doesn’t have to be the case though, and with the right tips you’ll be enjoying delicious vegetables in no time.
Choosing to grow eggplants in your garden is a great way of fulfilling that vision. These plants bear small to medium-sized fruits and grow relatively well in containers and raised beds; thus, making them an excellent plant to harvest in your indoor garden.
Rich in dietary fiber, vitamin B1, and copper, not only are eggplants highly nutritious but they also make for the perfect grilled dish to go on the side. So read on to learn out tips for growing eggplants indoors.
Fertilizing and Soil for Your Eggplants
Eggplants are mostly warm-seasoned plants and grow best in sunny and well-drained conditions. Although raised beds that are treated with high-quality fertilizer are generally more preferred, eggplants grow relatively well in containers too. You’ll want to fertilize every 1-2 months with a vegetable safe fertilizer.
In terms of soil, use a well draining potting soil. Don’t go with a garden soil if you’re growing in containers as they don’t have the correct drainage for potting use. Most off the shelf potting soils will work fine, and will come with enough nutrients out of the bag for a few months. After that, start on the fertilizing schedule listed above.
Planting and Providing Care for Your Eggplants
Since eggplant is predominantly a summer-thriving plant, people living in colder climates should take care of the temperature around the plant. Growing plants in row covers or in large and dark-colored containers is an excellent way of achieving this. You also want to make sure to keep the plant away from any drafts during winter, or air condition vents during the summer. The temperate change in these areas can add undue stress to the plant.
Generally speaking, eggplants grow into tall and angular plants. Therefore, it makes sense to space them between 24 and 36 inches apart. While setting the saplings in containers, make sure you add at least 2 inches of soil to give them room to grow.
Like most veggies, eggplants thrive in bright light conditions. You’ll want to give them 10-12 hours of bright light to grow the best plants. If this isn’t possible, using grow lights is another good option. Place these roughly 18-24 inches away from the plant, and allow them to shine on the plant for a bit longer than you would natural light. During the winter months, using grow lights is typically a necessity in all but the most tropical of regions.
Harvesting and Storing Your Eggplants
Experts recommend keeping a close eye on your plant’s seeds before harvesting. An eggplant which is ready to be harvested will spout small seeds as well as a hard flesh inside.
While a fruit with no seeds indicates it’s immature, a fruit with rather large seeds indicates it’s over ripe. Your best bet is to harvest your eggplant when it stops growing larger in size. Additionally, a perfect and ripe fruit that is ready to be harvested will sport a glossy skin as well as a sprinkle of well-formed yet small and immature seeds inside.
While harvesting, always harvest your eggplants using pruning shears as opposed to plucking or tugging at them by hand. This prevents any damage to the plant, and lets it continue to grow. Once harvested, you can rinse them clean, pat them dry, and refrigerate them for several days.
Get eggplant seeds to grow your very own!