Eggplant - Solanaceae culture. This is a very tasty and healthy culture. Proper cultivation of eggplants can provide a good harvest gardener. And after maturation, it is used for cooking, canning or selling. The article will describe in detail how to grow eggplants in the open field, ranging from seedling planning to harvesting and storage.
Features of growing eggplant
Like any other vegetable crop, eggplants require certain conditions for growth and development.
The ambient temperature should not fall below +18 degrees.
- The ambient temperature should not fall below +18 degrees during the growing season of the crop. Otherwise, growth stops.
- Return frosts, significant cold spells can destroy the entire crop. In particular, they are dangerous for young seedlings, as they are the weakest and subject to any changes in the weather.
- Light day should fluctuate within 8-12 hours. Southern varieties of light need more, because they are bred in the middle and northern regions. It is very important to control this moment, and here it is worth noting that it is the greenhouse cultivation of eggplants that simplifies the process, since it is easy to install artificial lighting in greenhouses.
- A culture grows on any land, but the greatest harvests are always collected exclusively from plants grown on fertile and light soil.
Compliance with all these conditions, or at least most of them, can provide a gardener with maximum yield.
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The first thing you need to decide when growing eggplant - a place. Usually gardeners do the site planning even in winter, just scribbling on a piece of paper - this autumn simplifies the task. Eggplants need a bright and drafted place if they are planted in open ground. For planting in a greenhouse you just need good soil.
For planting in a greenhouse just good soil is needed.
As mentioned above, eggplants love light ground, so they will grow on loam and sandy loam soil without problems. In all other cases, you need to use clever tricks.
- If the ground is heavy, it should be diluted with humus, river sand, peat. These substances loosen the soil.
- Sod and humus are usually added to peat land in equal proportions.
- The sandy ground is light, but not nutritious, so eggplant is not suitable. Improving its quality indicators can add peat, sawdust and clay earth.
Fertilizer in the ground for planting eggplant must be made very carefully. Fresh manure is allowed only for autumn plowing. In the spring you can take humus or mineral tuki.
Since this crop is usually grown by the seedling method even in hot regions, it is necessary to fertilize the soil in the fall, so that during the winter it will be well frozen and mixed with fertilizers. Drip on 30 cm deep, in addition to the manure, you can add superphosphate or potassium sulphate in the granules.
Cultivation of eggplants can be carried out near a tomato, sweet and bitter pepper, but after all these crops, as well as potatoes, they are not planted. But after carrots, onions, early cabbage, peas, watermelons, they grow well.
When to plant eggplants?
The term of planting eggplant is largely dependent on the place, climate, variety.
- In non-heated greenhouses, the term may fall in early May.
- In heated greenhouses, planting is carried out already in mid-April.
- It is worth planting in open soil in early May only in hot regions or under film.
- Closer to the beginning of summer, without fear and without shelter construction, plant eggplants in any climatic region and in any area (greenhouse, open ground). The temperature at this time for them is more than acceptable.
- If a gardener sows seeds in the ground, then this should be done when the topsoil warms to 15 degrees above zero.
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Growing eggplants in the open field, and sometimes in the greenhouse, usually begins with the harvesting of seedlings. It is prepared from the beginning of spring. It is not difficult to do it, but you need to carefully treat the sprouts, monitor their condition, so that if something happens, you can correct the situation in time.
Growing eggplant in the open field begins with the harvesting of seedlings
- The first thing you need to prepare seedlings - the soil. This can be a store-bought seedling mixture or specially prepared ground - humus, sand and turf in a ratio of 3: 1: 5. You can also add mineral fertilizers (potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen).
- Before sowing, seeds are treated with a weak solution of potassium permanganate for 30 minutes, and then kept in hot water (+50 degrees) for twenty minutes. After such hardening, they are placed on cotton fabric, wrapped and watered with warm water. After that, put a rag on a saucer, cover with foil and put in a warm place. After 1-2 days, the seeds will hatch, and they can be sown.
- Planting material is sown in single file, but not very thick. Between the rows keep a distance of 5-10 cm.
- When the seeds are sown, the box is covered with a film and placed in a room with a temperature of +25 degrees.
- When seedlings emerge, they are rearranged to a warm window-sill and the temperature is reduced to +15 in the daytime and to +13 at night for 5-7 days and then raised again to + 18 ... +25 degrees. It is at this temperature that eggplant seedlings should be grown before transplanting into open ground.
- Top dressing bring 2 times. The first time a solution of superphosphate, urea and potassium salt is added (but the solution must be very weak) after the appearance of 2 leaflets. The second time feeding sprouts 2 weeks after the first feeding with the same means.
- 14 days before planting seedlings in open soil or greenhouse, the planted land is hardened. They need to be taken out on the balcony, the street during the day, and left the window leaf at night.
Transplantation to a permanent place is made only when the shoots will have 5 true leaves, and when they reach 10 cm in height. However, if the threat of recurrent frosts has not passed, it is worth delaying the landing before the onset of warm days.
Preparing the beds for planting eggplant
The land for growing eggplants is usually fertilized in the fall, as mentioned above, but if for some reason it was not possible to do this, the procedure is postponed to spring. 2-3 weeks before planting seedlings, they dig up the earth, adding urea, superphosphate and humus to it. The quantity depends on the quality and type of soil. Usually all the necessary proportions are indicated on the fertilizer packages.
After digging, the ground needs to be loosened, leveled, and smashed all the big bumps. This is done about 1 week before planting the culture or 2-3 days (as far as time permits).
The beds are made 30 cm high and up to 1 meter wide. Between them there should be about 30-40 cm of free space.
The beds are made 30 cm high and up to 1 meter wide. Between them there should be about 30-40 cm of free space. Thanks to such a height, the roots of the seedlings will not freeze, and the culture can develop faster. The length of the beds is allowed any - it all depends on the preferences, the needs of the gardener and the size of the site itself.
After determining the boundaries, you need to level the ground once again and pour abundantly on it with "Effecton" fertilizer. Instead, you can use a hot solution of mullein. However, if the soil was fertilized in spring, you should not use fertilizer, because the soil will be fertile without that.
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Planting eggplant in open ground
The day before the transplant procedure, the seedlings are watered as best as possible with water. Also, watering is done right before taking the sprouts out of the container (this simplifies the procedure).
The day before the transplant procedure, the seedlings are watered as best as possible.
Growing eggplant in open ground or greenhouses is carried out in the pits. In the garden pits are made with a gap of 40-50 cm. The smaller the bush is, the less distance can be made. Each hole is watered with water and in this dirt you need to plant one germ. After planting, the earth is compacted, you can immediately lay a layer of mulch (peat, chopped straw) around the seedlings.
If the gardener uses the seed method of growing eggplants, then this can be done by the lower case method and then thinned seedlings. The second option is to plant the planting material immediately at a distance of 10-20 cm and after the sprouts appear and grow, plant them 40-50 cm. Only this way you can ensure a good filling of the area set aside for culture, because many seeds will not germinate, and some germinated can wither.
How to care for eggplant?
Growing eggplants involves constant care for them. Otherwise, plants sensitive to changes in climate and conditions will wither away, and the farmers will not harvest.
- If eggplants grow in the open field, it is worthwhile for the first time to stretch a transparent film over them or white agrofibre on wire arcs. Such a shelter is harvested around mid-June, but throughout the summer one should watch the weather and, with a significant cold snap, construct a shelter for eggplants again, even if the fruits already ripen on them.
- To sprouts grow faster, they are often loosened. It is loosening that promotes rapid growth of eggplant in the first 14 days after planting in a permanent place. Loosening is carried out all summer, about once a week.
Growing eggplants means taking care of them.
- Watering begins 2 weeks after transplanting into a greenhouse or open ground. After the plants have taken root, they need to be watered so that the ground is a little wet all the time. The lack of moisture can lead to the deformity of the fruit and premature wilting of plants, and, that is, a reduction in yield.
- The first feeding is done 7-10 days after planting the seedlings. Instead of watering at this time, spraying is carried out in the evening. Urea can be added to this water, it will feed weakened sprouts. The second time fertilizing when growing eggplants do 20 days after the first, mineral fertilizers or a solution of manure (bird droppings). The third dressing comes at the beginning of fruiting, and for this you can use the same solution of bird droppings, manure or complex mineral fertilizers.
- An important point of care is the removal of weeds, since it is through them that diseases and pests are most often transmitted to cultivated plants.
- An additional point of care, but not the main (it can and not hold), is hilling. Thanks to hilling, eggplants develop adventitious roots from an early age, and the crop rises 1.5-2 times.
When to harvest?
Harvesting ripe fruits can be done 30 days after flowering.
Proper cultivation of eggplants in the open field or greenhouse can provide a gardener a great harvest. Harvesting ripe fruit can be done 30 days after flowering. By this time they should reach impressive sizes, become glossy, acquire the color of the rind natural for one sort or another.
If eggplants overripe, they will get a different color and their taste will deteriorate significantly. It will become more bitter, and the skin will be very rough. Eggplants are harvested by simply cutting them with a knife or shears together with the stem, although they are often simply torn off - they usually break well, like sweet peppers.