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VEGETABLE GARDEN: SELECTED VEGETABLE CROPS [continued]

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  MG Manual Reference
Ch. 10, pp. 98 - 99

[Selected Crops: intro | asparagus | beans | broccoli | brussels sprouts | cabbage | cauliflower | sweet corn | cucumbers | eggplant | lettuce | melons | onions | peppers | potatoes | squash | tomatoes | herbs | herb use ]

Eggplant
EGGPLANT Top

ENVIRONMENTAL PREFERENCES
Light: Sunny.
Soil: Well-drained, high organic matter
Fertility: Rich.
pH: 6.0 to 7.0
Temp: Warm (70 to 85° F).
Moisture: Average.
CULTURE Top
Planting: Transplant after danger of frost, when soil is thoroughly warm. Start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks prior to this date.
Spacing: 18 to 24 inches by 30 to 36 inches.
Hardiness: Very tender annual.
Fertilizer Needs: Heavy feeder using 3 tablespoons of ammonium nitrate 33-0-0 per 10-foot row.
CULTURAL PRACTICES Top

The standard eggplant produces egg shaped glossy purple black fruit 6-9" long. The long, slender, Japanese eggplant has a thinner skin and more delicate flavor. Both standard and miniature eggplants can be grown successfully in containers; but standards yield a better crop. White, ornamental varieties are available and edible but are of poor eating quality.
Warm to hot weather throughout the season is necessary for good production. Seeds germinate quickly at 70- 90° F; and plants should be grown for 8-9 weeks before setting them out. Cold temperatures will stop plant and root growth reducing plant vigor and yields. Using hot caps or cloches protects plants from cold conditions.
Though eggplants do well in hot weather; they must have well drained soil and do not thrive in very humid areas. When plants are about 6" high, nip back the growing tip to encourage branching. Pick fruits when immature, about 2/3 maximum size. Mature fruit should not be left on the plant as this will reduce overall productivity.
Because of the eggplant's susceptibility to verticillium wilt, rotate plantings with other crops on the same garden soil.
COMMON PROBLEMSTop
Diseases: Verticillium wilt.
Insects: Flea beetles, aphids, lace bugs, red spider mites.
HARVESTING AND STORAGE Top
Days to Maturity: 100 to 150 days from seed; 70 to 85 days from transplants.
Harvest: Fruit should be large, shiny, and uniformly deep purple in color. When the side of the fruit is pressed slightly with the thumb nail and an indentation remains, the fruit is ripe. Long, slender, Japanese eggplant may be ready to harvest from finger or hotdog size. When fruit is dull in color and has brown seeds, it is too ripe and should be discarded.
Approximate yields: 20 pounds per 10-foot row.
Amount to Raise: 12 pounds per person.
Storage: Cool (45 to 50° F), moist (90% relative humidity) conditions for 1 week.
Preservation: Freeze, pickle.

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