Eggplant (Solanum melongena var. esculentum)
Germination Soil Temp:
Days to Germinate
Date to sow Indoors:
Date to sow Outdoors
4 - 6 weeks before last frost
5.5 - 7.0
80 - 90 Degrees
Moderate N, High P and K
Do not follow Tomato
Follow Bean or Pea
Eggplants are members of the nightshade family. They are warm-season, tropical plants. Fruits are white or purple with smooth skin. They are named for their oval or egg shape.
Soil should be well-drained and organically enriched. It is recommended that compost be added at incorporation and as mulch. Soil for eggplant needs to be rotated every year.
These plants benefit from composted manure or from 3 pounds of 6-12-12 or 5-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square foot that is incorporated into the soil before planting. Over fertilization can cause excessive foliage growth, which will reduce fruit production.
Plants should be placed 2 feet apart in 3 foot rows. They do best if they are seeded indoors or if they are purchased as transplants. Planting should be done on May 1 or June 20.
Eggplant benefits from mulch. Depending on the fruit size, a cage or stake may help support the plant. Plants need to be monitored for beetle damage. Use row covers to exclude insect pests. Plants do not need to be pollinated by insects.
Basil, dill, marigolds, cosmos, bush bean, pea, pepper
Black Beauty, Burpee Hybrid, Easter Egg, Little Finger, and Ichiban
Fruit is ripe when the finger has resistance as it slides down the fruit. If the fruit is soft, then it is overripe.
Eggplant provides fiber, magnesium, copper, manganese, folic acid, niacin, and vitamins B1 and B6
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Source: UT Extension, PB1578 - Tennessee Master Gardener Handbook