Growing Eggplant, The How To: From Planting To Harvest

Growing Eggplant

Are you interested in growing eggplant Look no further! This article will guide you through the process of planting and harvesting eggplants, ensuring a successful and bountiful harvest.

Eggplants are warm-season vegetables that thrive in temperatures between 70°F and 85°F. Whether you choose to start from seeds or purchase seedlings, providing them with the right conditions is key.

Find a sunny spot in your garden with well-draining soil and a pH level between 5.5 and 7.0. If needed, use black plastic to raise the soil temperature for optimal growth.

Supporting your plants with stakes or cages will prevent them from toppling over as they grow taller. Consistent watering during fruit set and development is crucial, along with a regular application of balanced fertilizer every two weeks.

To ensure larger fruits, pinch off extra flowers to restrict fruiting to five or six per plant. When the skin is glossy and unwrinkled, it’s time to harvest using a stainless steel knife for best results.

So let’s get started on this exciting journey of growing your own delicious eggplants!

Introduction to Growing Eggplant

Key Takeaways

– Growing Eggplants require high temperatures between 70°F and 85°F for optimal growth.

– They should be planted in a location that receives full sun for at least 6 to 8 hours per day.

– Consistent watering is important during fruit set and development.

– Eggplants should be harvested 65 to 80 days after transplanting when the skin is glossy and uniform.

Common Eggplant Varieties for Growing in Wisconsin

If you’re interested in growing eggplant in Wisconsin, there are several common varieties that thrive in the region.

Popular varieties for growing eggplant in Wisconsin include ‘Black Beauty,’ ‘Black Magic,’ ‘Purple Rain,’ ‘Early Bird,’ and ‘Black Bell.’ These varieties are well-suited to the growing conditions in Wisconsin and offer a range of flavors, textures, and colors.

‘Black Beauty’ is a popular choice and traditional variety that produces large, rounded fruits. It’s known for its rich flavor and tender flesh.

‘Black Magic’ is another popular choice with dark purple skin and a slightly bitter taste. It has a firm texture that holds up well in cooking.

‘Purple Rain’ is an attractive variety with vibrant purple skin and a mild flavor. It’s great for grilling or roasting.

‘Early Bird’ is known for its early maturity, allowing gardeners to enjoy fresh eggplants sooner. It has glossy black skin and a sweet flavor.

Finally, ‘Black Bell’ is a versatile variety with deep purple-black skin and a meaty texture. It works well in many different recipes.

Overall, these varieties offer plenty of options for Wisconsin gardeners looking to grow their own delicious eggplants.

Preparing your Garden For Growing Eggplant

Get your garden ready for growing eggplant by preparing the soil with compost or organic matter to provide essential nutrients and improve drainage. Eggplants thrive in well-draining soil that’s rich in organic matter, so it’s important to ensure that your garden soil meets these requirements.

Start by removing any weeds or debris from the area where you plan to grow your eggplants.

Next, work in a generous amount of compost or well-rotted manure into the soil. This’ll help improve its fertility and structure, providing a nutrient-rich environment for your eggplants to grow. Additionally, adding compost or organic matter will help improve drainage, preventing waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot.

After incorporating the compost or organic matter into the soil, consider performing a soil test to determine its pH level. Eggplants prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0. If necessary, adjust the pH of your soil by adding lime or sulfur according to the recommendations provided by the soil test.

Lastly, ensure that your garden bed receives full sun for at least six to eight hours daily, which is crucial for optimally growing eggplant.

Once you have prepared your garden in this manner, you’ll be ready to plant and nurture healthy and productive eggplants throughout the growing season!

Preferred Climate for Growing Eggplant

To create the perfect environment for your growing eggplants, you’ll want to choose a climate that offers warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. Eggplants are warm-season crops and thrive in temperatures between 70°F and 85°F. They need at least six to eight hours of full sun daily to grow and produce abundant fruit. So, selecting a location in your garden that receives ample sunlight is important.

Eggplants prefer a climate with consistent warmth, as they’re susceptible to damage from cold nights or hot days. If the temperature drops below 60-65°F at night or rises above 90°F during the day, it can hinder their growth and development. Therefore, it’s crucial to monitor the weather conditions in your area before planting.

In cooler climates where temperatures may not reach the desired range, you can use black plastic mulch to raise the soil temperature. This’ll help create a warmer environment for growing eggplants and promote better growth.

Remember to provide adequate water for your eggplants, especially during periods of fruit set and development. Consistent watering is key to ensuring optimal growth and preventing stress on the plants.

By choosing a climate with warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine, you’ll be well on your way to growing healthy and productive eggplants in your garden.

Days to Maturity for Growing Eggplant

For you to enjoy the fruits of your labor, it’s important to know that eggplants typically take around 65 to 80 days from transplanting to reach maturity, giving you ample time to care for and nurture them throughout their growth process. During this period, there are several factors that can influence the time it takes for eggplants to mature.

Firstly, the specific variety of eggplant you choose will determine its days to maturity. Different varieties have different growth rates and fruit development times. For example, some early-maturing varieties may start producing fruit as early as 65 days after transplanting, while others may take up to 80 days or more.

Secondly, environmental conditions play a crucial role in the growth and maturity of eggplants. Temperature fluctuations and sunlight exposure can affect the rate at which the plants develop. Eggplants prefer hot temperatures. Inconsistent watering or extreme weather conditions can also slow down or accelerate their growth.

Lastly, proper care and maintenance throughout the growing season are essential for optimal fruit development and maturity. Consistent watering is important during fruit set and development stages, along with regular fertilization every two weeks using a balanced fertilizer. Pruning suckers at the base of the plant encourages more fruitful production.

By understanding these factors and providing appropriate care, you can ensure that your eggplants reach their full potential within the expected timeframe of 65 to 80 days from transplanting.

Preferred Soil for Growing Eggplant

The ideal soil for eggplant is well-draining sandy loam or loam soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0, providing the necessary conditions for healthy growth and fruit development.

Here are some key points to consider when preparing the soil for your eggplant:

– Ensure that the soil is well-draining to prevent waterlogged conditions, which can lead to root rot and other diseases.

– Sandy loam or loam soils are preferred because they have a good drainage and moisture retention balance.

– Test the pH of your soil using a testing kit or by sending a sample to a local extension office. Eggplants thrive in slightly acidic to neutral soil.

– If your soil pH is too low (acidic), you can raise it by adding lime according to the recommendations provided by your test results.

– Incorporate organic matter into the soil, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve its structure, fertility, and moisture-holding capacity.

Following these guidelines can create an optimal growing environment for your eggplants. Remember to provide consistent watering, adequate sunlight, and regular fertilization throughout the growing season to ensure a bountiful harvest of delicious eggplants. 

Tips for Planting Eggplant

Now you are ready to plant your eggplants. Two great options are direct sowing or transplanting seedlings into the garden. Timing and climate are factors in this decision as we discussed above. In cooler climates with possible late frost, I have found either starting seeds indoors or buying young seedlings from your local nursery is the best choice. Looking to start your own seeds indoors? Great! Take a look at this article for a complete guide for seed starting.

When to Plant Eggplant Seedlings

When growing eggplant successfully, you’ll want to know the best time for planting. Eggplants are warm-season crops that thrive in high temperatures between 70°F and 85°F. It’s important to wait until all danger of frost has passed before planting your seedlings or seeds outdoors.

In most regions, this means waiting until after the last spring frost date. You can also start eggplant seeds indoors about six to eight weeks before the last spring frost date and transplant them once they’ve grown into sturdy seedlings. It’s important to provide your eggplants with a sunny spot that gets at least six to eight hours of full sun each day.

By timing your planting carefully, you can ensure optimal growth and yield from your eggplant plants.

How To Plant Eggplant Seedlings

When growing eggplant, it’s important to consider the spacing and depth at which you plant them. Place your eggplant seedlings in a sunny spot with well-draining soil. Ensure they are spaced 24 to 30 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart.

If you started them from seeds in your indoor green house, remember to harden them off, prior to planting into your garden. Check out this article for the step wise process to harden off your seedlings.

Dig holes that are deep enough to bury the seedlings up to their first set of true leaves. This will promote strong root development.

Spacing and Depth to Plant Eggplant Seedlings

For optimal growth and beautiful eggplants, it’s important to consider the spacing and depth when planting these delicious vegetables. Here are some guidelines to follow:

1. Space eggplant plants 24 to 36 inches apart in rows that are 36 to 48 inches apart.

2. Dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the seedling’s root ball.

3. Place the seedling in the hole, ensuring it’s planted at the same depth as it was in its container.

4. Gently firm the soil around the seedling and water thoroughly.

Water and Fertilizing Needs for Eggplants

Consistent watering and proper fertilization are vital for eggplants’ successful growth and development, ensuring a bountiful harvest of flavorful fruits.

Eggplants have high water needs, so it’s important to provide them with regular moisture throughout their growing season. Water deeply, making sure the soil is evenly moist but not waterlogged. Avoid letting the soil dry out completely between waterings.

In addition to watering, fertilizing is crucial for supplying the necessary nutrients for healthy plant growth. To improve fertility, start by incorporating organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, into the soil before planting. Once the plants are established, apply a balanced fertilizer every 2 weeks during the growing season.

Choosing a fertilizer high in phosphorus can help promote flower and fruit production. Look for a fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 5-10-10 or similar. Apply according to package instructions, taking care not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of fruit production.

Remember that each eggplant plant should be limited to producing five or six fruits for optimal size and quality. Pinch off any additional flowers to redirect energy towards developing larger fruits on your chosen specimens.

By providing consistent watering and appropriate fertilization, you’ll ensure that your eggplants thrive and produce an abundant harvest.

Staking Your Eggplant

Eggplants can become quite large and heavy, therefor it is recommended to stake or place in an eggplant cage to provide the plant more support as the eggplant as it produces. Consider using a dedicated cage or cone as these provide 360 degrees of support to the stems and branches as well as several levels of support as your plant grows taller. Do not forget this step, as eggplants can spoil quickly if left touching the ground as they mature.

Harvesting Eggplant

Now that you’ve watered and fertilized your eggplant plants, it’s time to talk about the exciting part: harvesting! Harvesting eggplants is a rewarding experience that allows you to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Here are some important things to know about harvesting eggplants:

– Timing: Eggplants should be harvested when they reach their mature size and color. The skin should be glossy and unwrinkled. Depending on the variety, this usually occurs around 65 to 80 days after transplanting.

– Tools: To harvest eggplants, use a sharp pair of shears or pruning scissors. Cut the fruit from the plant, leaving about 1 inch of stem attached.

– Handling: Eggplants are tender and can be easily pierced or damaged, so handle them gently during harvest.

– Frequency: Continue harvesting ripe eggplants regularly as they become ready for harvest. This’ll encourage the plant to produce more fruit throughout the growing season.

– Storage: After harvesting, store freshly picked eggplants in a cool place away from direct sunlight. They can be kept at room temperature for a couple of days or stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Harvesting your homegrown eggplants is a satisfying experience that allows you to enjoy their delicious flavor in various culinary creations. So get ready to savor the taste of success as you bring these beautiful purple gems from your garden to your kitchen!

List of Common Pest and Diseases of Eggplants

To effectively treat and prevent diseases and pests that commonly affect eggplants, there are several key points to keep in mind.

Firstly, removing and destroying infected plants promptly for diseases such as bacterial wilt or fusarium wilt is crucial.

Secondly, practicing crop rotation can help prevent the buildup of soil-borne diseases. Avoid planting eggplants in the same area year after year.

Lastly, for common pests like aphids or flea beetles, using insecticidal soaps or organic pesticides can effectively control and minimize harm to beneficial insects.

Treatment and Prevention of Common Pest and Diseases of Eggplants

Protect your precious eggplant plants by promptly treating and preventing any diseases or pests that may threaten their growth and yield.

One common pest that affects eggplants is the flea beetle. To control them, you can use row covers or apply insecticides labeled for flea beetles.

Aphids are another common issue, which can be controlled by spraying the plants with a strong stream of water or using insecticidal soap.

Spider mites can also be problematic, especially in hot and dry conditions. Regularly misting the leaves with water can help prevent infestations.

As for diseases, fungal infections such as early blight and powdery mildew can affect eggplants. Treating them with fungicides labeled for these diseases can help prevent their spread.

Additionally, practicing good sanitation by removing infected plant debris and providing proper air circulation can reduce the risk of disease outbreaks in your eggplant garden.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent my eggplant fruits from becoming bitter?

To prevent your eggplant fruits from becoming bitter, make sure to harvest them when they are ripe. Ripe eggplants have firm, smooth, and glossy skin. Avoid over-mature or dull-colored ones, as they can be bitter.

Can I grow eggplants in containers, or do they need to be planted in the ground?

Yes, growing eggplant in containers is very possible. Choose a large pot with good drainage and fill it with well-draining soil. Place the container in a sunny spot and water regularly. They will require more frequent watering than discussed above for in-ground gardens, and this frequency is highly dependent on your climate and weather conditions. Remember to provide support for the plant as it grows.

What are some common pests that attack eggplants, and how can I control them?

Common pests that attack eggplants include aphids, flea beetles, spider mites, and tomato hornworms. To control them, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil, spray plants with water to dislodge pests or introduce beneficial insects like ladybugs.

How do I know when my eggplants are ready to be harvested?

Harvest eggplants when the skin is glossy and unwrinkled. Use a stainless steel knife to cut them, preventing discoloration. Clip the fruit with shears, leaving about 1 inch of stem. Handle gently as they can be easily pierced.

Can I save the seeds from my harvested eggplants to plant them in the next season?

Yes, you can save the seeds from your harvested eggplants to plant them in the next season. To do this, simply remove the seeds from the mature fruit, dry them thoroughly, and store them in a cool, dry place until you are ready to plant again.


In conclusion, growing eggplant can be a rewarding experience for any gardener. You can ensure a successful crop by starting seeds indoors or purchasing transplants. Remember to choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil and provide support for the plants as they grow.

Consistent watering and regular fertilizing are crucial during fruit set and development. Harvest your eggplants when the skin is glossy and unwrinkled for maximum flavor.

Be aware of common pests and diseases affecting your plants and take necessary measures to protect them. You’ll be enjoying delicious eggplant dishes in no time with proper care!

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