Growing eggplant in your garden
- 10 eggplant seed varieties
- Delicious, nutritious, and contains antioxidants
- Considered a nightshade vegetable
- Prefers full sun exposure
All you need to know about eggplant
Known as aubergine or brinjal in other parts of the world, eggplant is a plant species in the nightshade family and is grown all over for its edible fruit. The eggplants spongy and very absorbent fruit was made popular for its ability to soak up flavors in a variety of cuisines. Tho it is technically a fruit (a berry), it is most commonly treated as a vegetable in cooking. Not just for the Italian specialty eggplant parmesan, East Asian, South Asian, French, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisines all utilize eggplant frequently. Interestingly, Italians once believed that eggplants made you go insane. The reasoning was that eggplants are nightshades, of which, some species are toxic. Fear not, eggplants are perfectly safe and delicious! In fact, they contain a rare antioxidant known as Nasunin—a strong fighter of oxidative stress and inflammation. Nasunin also helps absorb iron into the body. This antioxidant is found in the skin of the eggplant, so be sure not to peel the eggplant if you're looking for an extra boost of antioxidants.
Growing eggplant seeds is easy
Eggplants are tropical perennial plants that's popularity is widespread. Tho there is no general consensus on their origin, many people believe they are native to Africa, South Asia, or India, where it still grows wild. If you are looking to grow eggplant in your garden, it can be done with some simple preparation, the right conditions, and care.
Start your seed indoors in small pots. Water the pots and cover them with plastic and place in a warm area. Keep the seedlings moist as they germinate. Germination usually takes between seven and fourteen days. Once germination has occurred, plastic can be removed and the pots or trays can be moved under bright lights or a bright window. Continue to keep the plants moist as they grow for the next eight to ten weeks. Once the soil temperature outside has reached 60°F, the eggplant can be transplanted outdoors after being hardened off.
When to harvest eggplant
Eggplant can be harvested once the skin looks glossy. Once this happens, the fruit is unlikely to grow larger. Typically this is about two to three months after planting, depending on the variety.
For more information about planting, growing, and caring for eggplant seeds, see the Eggplant Seeds Planting Guide.