Eggplant is a popular vegetable, which can be used in various dishes, from vegetable chowder to eggplant Parmesan cheese. Although you can buy eggplant at the grocery store, nothing is better than harvesting eggplant grown at home. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.
If you are considering planting eggplant, the following is all the information you need to know about eggplant.
What is eggplant?
Eggplant, or eggplant, is a plant of the genus Solanum native to India and Sri Lanka. Egg shaped fruits are often used as vegetables in South and Southeast Asian cuisine. The planting of this plant has a long history. There is evidence that it was first planted in China more than 4000 years ago.
The scientific name of eggplant is a member of Solanaceae, which also includes tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. Eggplant is classified as a fruit, but is often used as a vegetable in cooking. Egg shaped fruit has smooth, shiny skin, which can be purple, black, white or green. The flesh is milky white and contains small edible seeds.
Eggplant is a warm weather crop that thrives in tropical and subtropical climates. It is a popular ingredient in South and Southeast Asian cuisine and is often used as a meat substitute. Fruit can be cooked or eaten raw, usually used for stir frying, curry and salad. Eggplant is also a popular ingredient for pizza and pasta.
Eggplant comes in various shapes, sizes and colors.
Eggplant is the most popular variety in the world, dark purple, about the size of an egg.
Other common varieties include Japanese eggplant, long and slender, and Italian eggplant, oval and dark purple. There are also white varieties of eggplants.
History of eggplant:
Eggplant is native to India and has been cultivated in other parts of Asia for centuries. In the 16th century, they were first brought to Europe and America in the 18th century.
Eggplant was first mentioned in writing in Marco Polo's Travels published in the 14th century. In this work, Polo described a fruit he saw in India, which was "as big as goose eggs".
Eggplant was brought to Europe by Spanish and Portuguese explorers. They were originally used as ornamental plants because they were believed to have medicinal value. Later, traders and colonists introduced eggplant to Africa and other parts of the world.
Nutritional value of eggplant:
Eggplant is a nutritious food with many health benefits. Eggplant has low calorie and fat content and high fiber content. In addition, it also contains essential vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, magnesium and vitamin C. In addition, eggplant is a good source of antioxidants
Eggplant skin is particularly nutritious. It contains a compound called nasonin, which is an antioxidant and has been proved to protect cells from damage. Nasunin is also considered to have anti-cancer properties. In addition, eggplant skin contains soluble fiber, which can help reduce cholesterol levels.
Eggplant is a good source of dietary fiber, which can help promote regularity and prevent constipation. They also contain a large number of antioxidants, including polyphenols and flavonoids. These compounds can help protect cells from free radicals and may also have anti-inflammatory effects.
Eggplant is a low calorie food and a good source of vitamins and minerals. A cup of boiled eggplant only contains 35 calories, but it provides more than 10% of the daily value (DV) of vitamins B6, C, copper and manganese. Eggplant also contains a small amount of other vitamins and minerals.
The health benefits of eggplant can be extended to the prevention and treatment of some chronic diseases. For example, observational studies have found that people who eat more eggplant have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These effects may be partly attributable to antioxidants and fiber in eggplant
Five tips for growing eggplant:
If you are considering planting eggplant in your garden, you should first understand some things, such as:
Eggplant is a tropical plant originating from India. It needs warm temperature to get the best growth. It is vulnerable to frost and will be killed when the temperature is below 50 ° F.
Eggplant grows best in long time; However, some varieties will bear fruit in a short time. The length of sunshine not only affects the number of fruits produced by each plant, but also affects the size of individual fruits. Long days lead to more fruits and smaller ones, while shorter days lead to less larger fruits.
Eggplant needs fertile soil with good drainage and pH value between 6.0 and 7.0. The recommended fertilizer application rate is 5-10-5 or its equivalent of 200-300 pounds/acre.
Eggplant is a heavy eater and needs to be fertilized frequently, especially when growing on sandy soil.
Compost or other organic matter shall be added to the soil before planting to improve its water holding capacity and nutrient retention.
Eggplant is sensitive to several soil borne diseases, including verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, nematode and root knot. These problems can be minimized by rotation, selection of resistant varieties, and use of clean seeds.
Eggplant needs stable water to get the best growth and fruit yield. Drought stress during flowering leads to poor fruit setting, while drought stress during fruit development leads to poor color of small fruits. Irrigation is needed during drought.
Now you have understood the requirements of eggplant. Here are five tips for growing high-quality eggplants:
- Start with healthy plants.
- Give them enough space.
- Keep warm and damp.
- Water regularly and fertilize monthly.
- Collect when the fruit is ripe.
Keep these tips in mind, you will be well placed to plant rich eggplant crops, and you can enjoy the whole season.
Tip 1: Start with healthy plants
Eggplant is relatively easy to grow, but it is important to start with healthy plants. If you want to buy seedlings, look for seedlings with strong stems, green leaves and healthy leaves. Avoid anything that withers or leaves turn yellow.
If you start with seeds, plant the seeds in a sterile potting mixture about six weeks before the last frost date in your area. Keep the pot in a warm place to keep the soil moist but unsaturated. After seven to ten days, the seeds will begin to germinate.
Once the seedlings have two sets of true leaves, thin them so that only the strongest plants remain in each pot. When all frost hazards have passed, transplant the seedlings into the garden.
Tip 2: Give them enough space
Eggplant needs enough space to grow and produce good fruit crops; There should be about two feet of space around each plant. If you are planting multiple varieties, plant them in different areas to prevent cross pollination.
When you transplant seedlings into the garden, please dig a hole large enough to hold the root ball. Now gently loosen the root and place the plant in the hole so that the top of the root ball is even with the soil surface. Backfill the hole and pour the well.
Tip 3: Keep warm and wet
Eggplant is a warm season plant. It likes the temperature between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They also like high humidity, so if you live in a low humidity area, you may need to provide some additional moisture.
One way to increase the humidity around plants is to cover them with organic materials (such as straw or chopped leaves), which will help keep water and keep the roots cool.
You must spray the plant with water regularly or set a humidifier near the plant. Just make sure not to put it too close, as it may cause the leaves to fall.
Tip 4: Water regularly and fertilize monthly
Eggplant needs continuous water to produce good fruit. Water them regularly, especially during drought. Try to keep the soil moist, but do not soak it.
Use balanced fertilizer (e.g. 10-10-10) to fertilize eggplant every month. Eggplant is a heavy eater, so you may need to adjust the amount of fertilizer used according to the soil test results.
Tip 5: Harvest when the fruit is ripe:
When the fruit is hard and shiny, the eggplant can be harvested. When you press it with your thumb, the skin should be slightly better. According to different varieties, eggplant will be ready for harvest within 60-90 days after planting.
If you wait too long to harvest, the eggplant will begin to shrink and the skin will become brown. The taste of fruit will also decline.
Use a sharp knife or pruning scissors to cut the stems and harvest, leaving a short stem attached to the fruit. Eggplant can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
After harvest, store eggplants in a cool, dark place until they are ready for use. If properly stored, eggplant can be kept for up to two weeks.
When preparing to use eggplant, please wash it thoroughly under cool running water. Cut off stems and any bruised or damaged areas. Eggplant can be eaten raw, boiled or pickled. They can also be used in various recipes, such as vegetable chowder, eggplant Parmesan cheese and Babaganush.
No matter how you choose to enjoy eggplant, they will definitely add delicious to your meal.
Eggplant plants are easy to care for and can provide delicious fruits for harvest. In order to ensure the health of the crops, please water the plants at the base rather than above, use row covers to drive away insects, and trim the plants regularly.
Eggplant can be harvested when the fruit is hard and shiny, and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy eggplant raw, boiled or pickled!