How to grow eggplant without much effort
Eggplant belongs to the solanaceous family (like tomatoes). But culture is more demanding on heat. Therefore, until recently, it was grown only in the southern regions of the central zone of Russia, and it was mainly early ripening varieties that managed to ripen in a short summer. With the advent of affordable greenhouses for private plots, eggplants have been successfully cultivated throughout the Central Region and even to the north, and in open ground too. Growing and caring for eggplant in the open ground has become easier, which means that even a beginner can try it!
Why it is useful to grow eggplant
This is an annual plant with a powerful root system located mainly horizontally in the upper soil layer. In drought, large roots can sink to great depths in search of moisture. The stem is roundish, green-purple, with the edge, strong, never lies on the ground until the frost. Flowers are solitary or in clusters of 3–7 pieces, self-pollinating, which is especially valuable when grown indoors, where there are no pollinating insects. The leaves are powerful, in the form of a boat or rounded, with the edge of a green or violet-green color.
Eggplant - an annual plant with powerful stems
The shape of the fruit in different varieties is different: it is cylindrical, round, in the form of a banana or pear-shaped. Color indicates maturity. The young fruit is light purple, then turns purple, and at the stage of seed maturity it brightens to brown-yellow or light green. Eat purple fruits with unripe seeds.
For the purple color of the fruit, the eggplant got the popular name "blue." Although today there are hybrids with white fruits.
Useful properties of eggplant
Eggplant is a record holder among all cultures for molybdenum content. This element helps prevent and treat joint inflammation.
Eggplant also contains:
- ascorbic acid, or vitamin C. It is not produced by the body, and a person should receive it daily with food. Without it, scurvy begins, immunity decreases;
- a set of B vitamins, which ensure normal metabolism, are involved in hematopoiesis and the nervous system;
- vitamin PP (nicotinic acid) strengthens the walls of blood vessels;
- Vitamin A (retinol) - a vitamin for good vision;
- Vitamin E - a strong antioxidant, slows down the aging process, prevents the development of malignant cells;
- Vitamin K is needed in protein synthesis to restore and regenerate body tissues;
- macronutrients: manganese, zinc, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iodine, fluorine, copper;
- eggplant fiber, like other plant foods, stimulates the activity of the gastrointestinal tract, absorbs and removes toxins and harmful substances, reduces cholesterol.
In addition, eggplant helps to remove excess water from the body, relieve swelling and excess weight, facilitate the work of the kidneys, and maintain the elasticity of blood vessels.
Eggplant contains essential elements, vitamins, nutrients
In the cool conditions of Russia, preference is given to early varieties of eggplant. In the description, it is worth paying attention to an important point - the terms "from seedlings to the beginning of technical ripeness." In early varieties it is 85–100 days.
An early variety, from planting seedlings to ripeness, takes 50–55 days. Fruits up to 200 g, in the form of a barrel, narrowed at the stem and expanding below, purple. The bush is 50-60 cm tall, strong, does not require garter. Suitable for fresh consumption and canning. It has a pleasant taste, is well stored and tolerates transportation, and this is a rare property for early varieties. Not a hybrid, you can harvest seeds.
The early maturation of the Negus allows the seeds to ripen completely.
Eggplant Negus matures 50–55 days after transplanting
The first crop gives 95-110 days after germination. From 1 m2 you can collect about 10 kg of fruit. The eggplant is bright purple in pear shape, with a thin peel and good taste, weighing about 200 g. The bush develops more in height (up to 1 m) than in width. In the open field it is stable in yield, hardy, resistant to pests and diseases.
Eggplant Vera and in the open field gives good harvests
The first crop is suitable on the 85th day after germination, the seeds ripen on the 120-130th day. Many medium-sized (up to 200 g) fruits. This is a good taste table variety.
It justifies its name - dwarf, bush up to 45 cm high.
In the above varieties, you can leave seeds to plant them next year, unlike hybrids marked on the packaging with the F1 sign. They are obtained by crossing two varieties. If you collect the seeds of such plants and plant them, you will grow eggplant with the signs of one of the "parents".
Hybrid seeds need to be bought every year, but most often it is justified: the yield of such eggplants is about 50% higher, they are noticeably more durable and stronger.
Promising early hybrids for open ground:
- Bourgeois F1. It is remarkable for large fruits weighing up to 500 g. They ripen on the 105th day after germination, rounded in shape, with tender flesh and without bitterness. Fruits throughout the warm period, hardy, resistant to adverse conditions, diseases and pests. Forms a powerful bush;
Eggplant Bourgeois F1 has round-shaped fruits
- King of the North F1. An ideal grade for cold regions. It has the unique ability to tolerate small frosts without damage to the crop, which is completely uncharacteristic for eggplant. The hybrid is fruitful, you can collect about 14 kg of fruit per 1 m2. Well suited for warm regions. The bush does not require a garter, low, up to 45-50 cm. The fruits are large, long, in the shape of a banana, without bitterness. Seed germination is almost 100%. The downside is that long fruits on a low bush often touch the ground. This is undesirable - at the tip the color of the fetus changes and decay may begin. Therefore, a litter under a bush of nonwoven fabric or mulch may be required.
The fruits of the eggplant King of the North F1 are long, so you need to make sure that they do not touch the ground
Eggplant seeds are small, flat, unripe white, matured gray-yellow. They can be stored in a closed container in a dry place without sunlight for up to 9 years, without losing germination. Before this, the seeds need to be well dried.
Stages of procurement:
- Fruits for seeds are removed when they first become brown, and then gray-yellow.
- Eggplants are stored until soft.
- Cut the lower part, where the bulk of the seeds of some varieties is concentrated. In other varieties, they can be distributed throughout the fetus.
Depending on the variety, the eggplant seeds are distributed throughout the fruit or concentrated in the lower part
- The pulp is squeezed into the water by hand or rubbed through a sieve.
Eggplant pulp with seeds is placed in water
- Ripe healthy seeds settle to the bottom.
- Water is drained over the edge, the seeds are left at the bottom, collected and dried in the open.
Well-dried eggplant seeds can be stored for up to 9 years
Even the earliest eggplant varieties have a relatively long period from seedling to fruiting, so they are grown in seedlings and in warm regions, and even more so in central Russia and the Northwest.
Seedlings can be grown:
- in an apartment with windows to the south, southeast and southwest or under artificial lighting with special lamps. The spectrum of light of ordinary household lighting plants simply do not see;
- in a heated greenhouse where there is enough light.
Eggplant is a short daylight plant, it lasts 12-14 hours of light during the entire growth period.
Eggplant seeds for seedlings sown in February
When planting, you need to take into account the temperature of the soil and the room where the seedlings will grow:
- at a soil temperature of 20–25 ° C, seeds will sprout faster on the 8–10th day, so you can plant them on February 20–25;
- at a soil temperature of 13–15 ° C, the seeds will sprout on the 20th – 25th day, therefore it is necessary to plant it early, on February 10–15.
Seedlings are grown in two ways - with and without picking. The first method is suitable when you need to get a large number of seedlings with a lack of warm area in early spring.
Growing seedlings with picks
Under a pick, seeds are often sown in boxes. 3-5 cm are left between rows, 2-3 cm between seeds in a row. When 2-3 real leaves appear near the seedlings, they will dive (transplant) into more spacious areas with an interval of at least 5-6 cm. By this time, be warm enough even in unheated greenhouses. The disadvantage of this method is that the eggplants do not tolerate the transplant and will remain stunted while they take root in the new place.
After picking, seedlings are planted in more spacious containers
Growing seedlings without picking
When you can limit yourself to a small amount of seedlings, it is best to plant the seeds immediately in a separate bowl with a capacity of at least 0.5 liters. When planting in the ground, the plant will almost not hurt and will immediately grow, because it is transplanted with an untouched root system and a lump of earth. The disadvantage of this method is that such seedlings take up a lot of scarce in February - March warm and bright places.
When growing eggplants in separate containers, they can be transplanted together with an earthen lump
Preparing seedlings for planting
Any seedlings before planting in the ground must be taken out of warm rooms on the street for hardening. It starts at least 3-4 days before disembarkation. It is possible much earlier, if weather permits and the temperature in the street will be 12-15 ° C.
First, the seedlings are kept on the street for 1-2 hours, monitoring its condition. From strong winds and direct sunlight, it can suffer. Then she immediately cleaned the room, and continue hardening the next day. The time spent in the fresh air is gradually increased, and before planting, when it has become warm enough, plants can be left on the street. It must be remembered that 5 ° C for heat-loving eggplant is almost freezing.
Seedlings are planted in open ground at different times, depending on the climate of the region and temperature conditions. As a rule, in the central strip and in the north-west from May 10, the soil and air are quite warm for eggplant.
Before planting, eggplant seedlings must be hardened
Video: how to grow eggplant seedlings
Eggplant demanding care.
Watering and mulching
In dry weather, eggplant should be watered with warm, settled water. From cold watering, the roots “fall into a stupor” for a long time and the eggplants stop growing for 7–10 days.
Mulching a plantation when growing eggplants in open ground will save from drying out and greatly reduce the need for watering. But the mulch should be dark in color, especially at the beginning of growth, because under the light material the earth will not be able to warm up.
Mulch on the bed with eggplant will retain moisture in the soil for a longer period, will inhibit the growth of weeds
In the middle of summer, the soil is warmed to a great depth throughout the space and light mulch may turn out to be more useful than dark. It will protect surface roots from burning out in hot weather and increase the illumination of the lower tiers of the bushes.
The moisture content of the soil is checked every 5-7 days, when dried, watered (10 l per 1 m2). It is especially important to moisturize during the period of ovary and fruiting, this directly affects the yield.
Watering can be arranged in different ways: manually from a watering can or a jar from a bucket, drip irrigation. Watering with “turntables” is undesirable. Eggplant, like all solanaceous plants, has a “wet leaf - a sick leaf”.
When watering eggplant, you do not need to pour water on the leaves
In cold regions, eggplant needs to be grown "accelerated", which requires more intensive top dressing.
The main elements that eggplant needs are:
- nitrogen in moderation at the beginning of growth in order to build up sufficient green mass and ensure rapid growth and ripening of fruits;
- phosphorus for better survival of seedlings, root system development, ovary formation;
- potassium to increase plant endurance, resistance to temperature fluctuations and cold.
Manganese, boron and iron must be abundant, therefore, it is advisable to add these elements in addition.
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- with a lack of nitrogen, the bush grows slowly, and the leaves are pale;
- with a lack of potassium, the leaves curl up with a boat, and a brown border appears along their contour;
- with a lack of phosphorus, the bush acquires an unnatural shape - the leaves begin to turn upward, grow towards the stem.
Features of feeding eggplant:
- the main dressing can be applied to the soil for digging in the fall or spring. Ready-made complex fertilizers with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium content are used or a mixture of nitrogen (urea urea, ammonium nitrate), phosphorus (superphosphate, double superphosphate), potash (potassium chloride) is combined. Complex fertilizer is applied by scattering over the entire surface of the plot in an amount of 40 g per 1 m2;
- mineral dressing can be replaced by organic, making digging humus or compost in the amount of 10–20 l per 1 m2. Using fresh manure and bird droppings is undesirable. On a heavily manicured soil, any plant can begin to "fatten", that is, to build up a huge green mass of tops with a low yield;
- all feeding, except nitrogen, replaces the application of wood ash. This is the best potash-phosphorus fertilizer with a full content of almost all micro and macro elements. All substances are in compounds readily available to the plant. There is no nitrogen in the ash; it burns out when burning wood;
- the ash is also scattered for digging, introduced into the wells during planting, dusted foliage during the growing season (but after flowering) to scare away the pests. Ash significantly improves the taste of fruits;
- eggplant requires nitrogen to form the 10th true leaf. Then he needs phosphorus and potassium;
- during the growing season, top dressing is carried out with an interval of 10-15 days 2-3 times, or 3-4 times, if fertilizers were not applied for digging;
- the first feeding is carried out 18–20 days after transplanting. Earlier feeding may harm. Undeveloped roots will receive a dose of recharge and will not develop in search of nutrients.
These recommendations may not be mandatory, as there are fat fertile soils on which top dressing can be reduced or not carried out at all. For example, on chernozems and loams rich in humus, eggplants will have enough of everything if their predecessors were not solanaceous.
Pasynkovka and formation of a bush
This operation can be divided into two components - mandatory and optional:
- necessarily remove all shoots and leaves below the first ovary when the bush grows to 25-30 cm;
- necessarily a month before the approximate onset of cold weather at the bushes pinch growth points, cut off the side shoots and tear off the entire small ovary. She does not have time to ripen, but only in vain will use up the strength of the plant.
In open ground there is no need to form a bush in one stem, letting it in height to save space, as in greenhouses. You can let the plant grow naturally without injuring it or leaving open wounds through which infection can enter. Only damaged, unpromising July and later shoots that do not have time to produce a crop are removed.
With proper pinching, the plant is not excessively peeled, but without extra shoots
Further it is possible:
- get 6-7 large fruits from the bush, then all the other ovaries and part of the shoots must be removed;
- leave all the ovaries and shoots, receiving 15–20 smaller fruits.
The total weight of the crop in both cases will be approximately the same.
Outdoor garter is rarely required. Eggplant forms a strong bush and holds stems with fruits well. But there are some varieties that require garters when the eggplant touches the ground and can rot. In this case, sometimes it is enough to spread the mulch under the bush. If necessary, the bushes should make additional support.
Eggplant shoots and fruits sometimes require extra support
Video: eggplant in the open ground
Fancy Growing Methods
Sometimes eggplant is grown in separate containers - bags, containers, barrels with a volume of at least 5-10 liters. This allows you to keep the plant in greenhouses until the onset of stable heat, and then take them out into the open air, making room for other crops. In such a volume of soil, eggplant does not drain the earth in anticipation of heat. And it can be grown until the end of the season without transplanting, and if desired, transplanted by digging planting pits according to the size of the soil and roots in the bags. In this case, the plant does not get sick and calmly continues to grow.
Eggplants can be grown in separate large containers
The advantage of this method is that the soil in the container warms up much faster than in the garden and greenhouse after winter, and this is important for eggplant.
- the method is more time consuming and costly than conventional cultivation;
- the soil dries much faster than in the array, so constant watering is required.
Eggplant in the greenhouse
Even in a simple greenhouse without heating, eggplants grow and bear fruit 2-3 times better than in open ground in the most favorable year. Due to the accumulation of solar heat, the soil warms up to a depth of 30–45 days earlier than on the street, the enclosed space protects against return cold, there are no street pests, and acid rain and cold dew, hail and strong winds cannot harm. At night without the sun, the air temperature in the greenhouses drops sharply, but the soil cools slightly.
Eggplant seedlings can be planted in unheated greenhouses already in mid-April, and they can grow until mid-September. The greenhouse provides 150 days of vegetation at a favorable temperature even in the North-West, the Far East, the Central zone, Ukraine and Belarus.
The requirements for outdoor and greenhouse care are almost the same, with the exception of watering. Humidification is 100% artificial. Do not forget that in a greenhouse in clear weather in summer without airing, overheating of plants is possible.
A greenhouse is a relatively expensive construction, but good crops can ripen under the simplest shelter
Pests and diseases
Eggplants have virtually no pests and diseases unique to them. Misfortunes threatening the culture may appear on other plants:
- blackleg. Fungal disease. The first symptoms are the appearance of a black belt at the bottom of the stem, near the ground. Then the fungus occupies the entire plant, a gray coating appears on the leaves. And if the fungus affects the plant completely, it dies;
A black leg can kill a plant
- gray rot. It begins to appear as spots of an unnatural watery color for the leaf, then they become gray-white, the leaf tissue begins to rot and the plant may die.
These fungal diseases develop in protracted, damp, cold weather. In the sun, spores and fungal tissues dry out. When hot sunny weather is established, the development of the disease in the first stages can stop.
To combat fungal diseases, there is a group of special preparations - fungicides recommended for use in small gardening:
Apply folk remedies:
- dusting with wood ash, which dries the sheet;
- spraying with a solution of 1 liter of dairy products (kefir, whey, fermented baked milk), 1 tbsp. l pharmacy tincture of iodine in 10 liters of water. The same tool can stop late blight and prevent the development of mosaics.
An effective preventive measure is the soaking of seeds before planting in a pink solution of manganese and other disinfecting compounds. This ensures that the pathogenic flora is not transmitted to the plant with the seeds.
But the most dangerous disease vectors are insects. Damaging the plant, they leave open wounds - the "gateway" for infection, weaken the plant and reduce its immunity. The main pests of eggplant in the open ground are the Colorado potato beetle, spider mite, aphids, ants, slugs.
Колорадский жук — настоящий бич баклажанов в тот период, когда картошка на соседних огородах только начинает всходить, а рассада баклажанов уже высажена. Тогда жуки собираются на кусты со всей округи и могут быстро уничтожить их. Если количество рассады небольшое, её защищают следующим способом:
- У 1, 5-литровой пластиковой бутылки обрезают дно и горлышко.
- Полученный цилиндр разрезают на две части.
- Цилиндр одевают сверху на высаженную рассаду, немного углубляют в землю. Баклажан растёт за круглым пластиковым «забором», по которому не может подняться ни один ползающий вредитель.
Баклажаны можно спасти от колорадских жуков с помощью пластиковых бутылок
Возможна обработка баклажанов инсектицидными препаратами против колорадского жука, но только в открытом грунте и один раз за сезон.
Колорадский жук — злейший враг баклажана
Чтобы не было тли, надо уничтожить все муравейники, расположенные неподалёку. Муравьи расселяют тлю по растениям и затем используют продукты их жизнедеятельности как корм, поэтому муравьиную тлю придётся выводить неоднократно, в отличие от других видов тли. К тому же муравейник под корнями может полностью погубить куст.
Ошибки при выращивании баклажанов
Иногда баклажаны растут явно плохо:
- куст не наращивает зелёную массу, цвет листвы бледный, с желтизной;
- опадают цветы;
- появляется, но потом опадает мелкая завязь;
- плодов мало и они мелкие.
Нужно искать причины в нарушении правил ухода, качестве грунта, в симптомах болезней и наличии вредителей. Также надо помнить, что причиной проблем могут стать холода. Нормальная температура для развития баклажана — 25–30оС. При ночных 8–10оС и дневных 14–16оС выжать урожай из зябнущего баклажана не удастся.
Также нужно избегать следующих ошибок:
- посадка в тени, загущённая посадка, более 4–5 кустов на 1 м2. Куст плохо освещается и не проветривается, затенённая листва желтеет, плоды не становятся фиолетовыми, загнивают, высок риск грибковых заболеваний и возникновения плесени;
- неравномерный полив. Обильное увлажнение после значительного пересыхания почвы приведёт к тому, что на плодах появятся трещины, они перестанут расти и начнут портиться. Недопустим полив холодной водой;
- избыток азота в грунте (навоз, азотные удобрения). На момент высадки рассады это приведёт к тому, что растение будет гнать зелёную массу (жировать) при маленьком урожае;
- неподходящая земля. Баклажану нужен рыхлый плодородный грунт, на тяжёлых плотных суглинках и на скудных песчаниках он растёт плохо.
Harvesting and storage
Первые зрелые плоды могут появиться уже через 25–40 дней после цветения. Затем следующая часть урожая может подходить каждые 4–7 дней.
У плода крепкая плодоножка, её обрезают секатором, крупными ножницами или ножом, в крайнем случае скручивают руками, вращая вокруг оси до облома ножки. Ножку оставляют длиной 3–5 см.
Баклажаны срезают ножом или ножницами
Сухие плоды хранятся хорошо в прохладе и тени, потому что у них твёрдая кожура. Раскладывают их в 1–2 слоя. Через 2–3 недели такого хранения баклажаны можно перебрать, отбраковав подпорченные и мягкие, остальные расстелить по слою сухой соломы или стружки в прохладном месте, можно в сухом подвале. Так баклажаны в свежем виде смогут храниться ещё 2–3 месяца.
Баклажаны при хранении всегда нужно закрывать от света сухой тканью, потому что на свету они вырабатывают вредный соланин, такой же, как в позеленевшей картошке. Но при высокой влажности и температуре плоды долго хранить не удастся, и в течение 2–3 недель после сбора их нужно переработать.
Какие сорта баклажанов только не пробовал выращивать. Не растут, не нравится им уральский климат! Но наконец — удача! Сорт Монгольский карлик начинает плодоносить одновременно с самыми ранними помидорами. Знаю, что в Костромской области растёт в открытом грунте.
Я лично ничего не делаю с баклажанами. Правда, у нас в Астрахани лето тёплое и все баклажаны вызревают хорошо, а к тому же в большом количестве не нуждаемся. Я вообще стараюсь обрывать молоденькие, неперезрелые баклажанчики, чтобы семян было поменьше. Куст не формирую. Обрываю только нижние листочки, чтобы на земле не лежали. Снимаю баклажаны небольшими, поэтому силы у куста хватает, чтобы вызревали все плоды.
В последние 4 года у нас очень большой популярностью пользуется баклажан Валентина. Вот уж правда классный сорт! Я выращивала. Обильное и постоянное плодоношение при любых погодных условиях. Буквально начиная от всходов Валентина утвердительно заявляет о себе. Сильно выделяется на фоне своих собратьев. I advise you to try.
Today, even in the cool climate of the central zone, from seedlings of February sowing, it is possible to grow medium in open ground, and in greenhouses - full-fledged eggplant crops, as in the south. Moreover, this does not require heroic efforts, you just need to know the experience accumulated recently by our gardeners and correctly apply it.