Eggplant (50 to 70 days)
Eggplant originated in India. There are dark purple varieties and white varieties and combinations of the two in different sizes shapes and colors. Eggplant requires cool temperate weather. It is sensitive to heat and to cold and needs precise watering. Plants are available in nurseries at the same time as tomatoes and peppers. For most gardeners it is the most difficult of the three to grow. Look for faster maturing hybrids in Southern states where warm temperatures arrive earlier.
Prepare and spade your soil well and add five pounds of Nature's Guide Tomato and Pepper Food and five pounds of Nature's Guide Dried Enriched Molasses per 100 square feet mixed well into the soil.
Set the plants twelve inches apart and water with a solution of 2 oz. of Nature's Guide Root Stimulator per gallon of water.
To plant early when there is still a chance of frost, push a bamboo or metal stake firmly into the ground next to the base of the plants without disturbing the root ball. Cut the bottom from a one gallon milk bottle and slide the bottle over the stake to cover the plant. Firm the bottom of the bottle into the ground creating an instant greenhouse. It keeps the plant safe from even a hard frost and provides a head start on the growing season. Remove the bottles on warm sunny days to prevent scorching. The bottles are easy to remove and replace and the stakes prevent them blowing away on windy days.
After danger of frost, remove and recycle the bottles. Keep the stakes in place to support the plants as the heavy fruit develops. Apply an two inches of Nature's Guide Organic Compost or Nature's Guide Mushroom Compost around the base of each plant.
Eggplant are particularly tasty to beetles which can be prevented by dusting with Nature’s Guide Diatomaceous Earth. In hot weather spider mites can colonize on the bottom sides of the leaves. Prevent them by removing damaged leaves and spray with Nature’s Guide Tomato and Pepper Spray. The compost around the base of the plants will insulate the root system, hold in moisture, add humus and nutrients to the soil to extend the growing season.