Eggplant - Balm For The Heart

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Eggplant - Balm For The Heart
Eggplant - Balm For The Heart
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Eggplant is native to Southeast Asia, so it loves hot subtropical and tropical climates. More than 1500 years ago, eggplant was domesticated and grown in China and Central Asia. This vegetable spread thanks to the Arabs who brought eggplant to Africa and the European Mediterranean.

Eggplant, or dark-fruited nightshade (Solanum melongena) is a species of perennial herbaceous plants of the genus Solanum, a popular vegetable crop. It is also known as badrijan (rarely bubrijan), and in the southern regions of Russia, eggplants are called blue.

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Eggplant
Eggplant

Eggplants are not only of the usual dark purple color, but there are also absolutely white and almost black, yellow and brown among them. Their shape is also quite diverse - from cylindrical to pear-shaped and spherical.

Eggplant is a herbaceous plant with a height of 40 to 150 cm. The leaves are large, alternate, prickly-rough, in some varieties - with a purple tint. Flowers are bisexual, purple, 2.5-5 cm in diameter; single or in inflorescences - half-umbels of 2-7 flowers. Eggplant blooms from July to September.

The eggplant fruit is a large round, pear-shaped or cylindrical berry; the surface of the fruit is matte or glossy. Reaches 70 cm in length and 20 cm in diameter; weighs 0.4-1 kg. The color of ripe fruits is from gray-green to brownish-yellow.

Eggplant
Eggplant

When fully ripe, they become rough and tasteless, so they are used as food a little unripe. In unripe fruits, the color varies from light purple to dark purple. Eggplant seeds are small, flat, light brown; ripen in August-October.

Growing

Open ground

Eggplants are placed after early white cabbage or cauliflower, cucumbers, legumes and green crops. If the site is not sunny, provide reliable protection from cold winds by planting curtain plants.

In autumn, after harvesting the predecessor, the soil is shallowly loosened with a hoe to induce the germination of weed seeds. Two weeks later, it is dug to the depth of the bayonet of the shovel, without breaking the clods. For digging, add compost or peat (4-6 kg per 1 m²) and a mineral garden mixture or nitroammofoska (70 g per m²). Acidic soils are limy.

In early spring, the soil is harrowed with an iron rake and kept loose before planting. On the day of planting, they dig it up and apply fertilizers (400 g per well), if they did not have time to be applied in the fall.

Eggplants are best grown in insulated beds or ridges. In the middle of a bed 90-100 cm wide, a groove 20-30 cm wide and 15-20 cm deep is pulled out. Loose materials (humus, sawdust, sand, straw cutting, mixed with the ground) are laid in it and everything is carefully covered with earth. Plants are planted on either side of this groove. The roots, penetrating deeply, find nutrients and the oxygen they need.

In the non-chernozem zone of Russia, eggplants are grown through seedlings. Seeds are sown in greenhouses or greenhouses within 60 days of planting in the ground. In the Moscow region, this is the end of February - the beginning of March.

Sowing is carried out in boxes (with subsequent picking) or in pots (without picking). The composition of the soil mixture can be different, for example: sod land and humus (2: 1), sod land, peat and sand (4: 5: 1), peat, sawdust and mullein diluted with water (3: 1: 0.5) … Add to it (g per 10 kg): ammonium sulfate - 12, superphosphate and potassium salt - 40 each. The prepared mixture is placed in boxes and leveled. 1 day before sowing, it is poured abundantly with warm water.

Eggplant
Eggplant

If the seeds are not germinated, then the seedlings appear in 8-10 days, germinated in 4-5 days. Good illumination is created for the seedlings, and the air temperature is reduced to 15-18 ° C, so that the root system develops better.

After the appearance of the first true leaf, the seedlings dive one by one into pots measuring 10 × 10 cm. Strong, healthy, well-developed plants are selected. For 2-3 days, until they take root, the seedlings are shaded with paper from the sun's rays. Since eggplants poorly restore the root system, they do not tolerate picking well.

With a weak growth of seedlings, feeding is necessary. To do this, use a solution of poultry droppings (1:15) or mullein (1:10), fermented for at least 2-3 days (bucket per 1 m²), complete mineral fertilizer (50 g per 10 l of water). After feeding, in order to avoid burns, the plants must be watered with clean warm water from a watering can with a strainer or sprayed.

Seedling care consists of regular watering, loosening of weeding and top dressing. Irrigation protects plants from premature lignification of the stem, which ultimately causes a sharp decline in yield. But you should not overmoisten the soil too much: this negatively affects the condition of the plants and the future harvest. In addition, high temperatures and high humidity pamper plants. Watering and feeding is best done in the morning.

Two weeks before planting, the seedlings are prepared for open ground conditions: the irrigation rate is reduced, and intensively ventilated. 5-10 days before transplanting, the plants are sprayed with a 0.5% solution of copper sulfate. On the eve of disembarkation, atypical, weakened and sick are rejected. Seedlings are watered abundantly. Properly grown seedlings should be short, with a well-developed root system, a thick stem, five to six leaves and large buds.

Seedlings are planted in open ground when the soil warms up to a temperature of 12-15 ° C and the danger of the last spring frosts has passed. This usually occurs in early June. But if you protect the plants with film frames (they are installed on the beds a week before planting), then eggplants can be planted at the end of May.

On the beds, eggplants are planted with two-line ribbons (distance between ribbons 60-70 cm, between lines 40, between plants 30-40 cm). On the ridge, planting in one row (distance between rows 60-70 cm and between plants 30-35 cm). On light soils, eggplants are planted on a flat surface according to the scheme 60 × 60 or 70 × 30 cm (one plant per hole) or 70 × 70 cm (two plants per hole). Wells 15-20 cm wide and deep are prepared in advance. Before planting, they are deepened, the bottom is loosened and watered.

Seedlings with a clod of earth are carefully freed from the seedling container. In peat pots, the bottom is broken for better development of the root system after planting. Seedlings are planted vertically, deepening to the first true leaf. The soil around the plants is well compressed and watered immediately.

Seedling eggplant
Seedling eggplant

When planted in cloudy weather, the plants take root better. Seedlings, planted on a hot day, are shaded daily (from 10 to 16 hours) until the plants take root. A week after planting, new ones are planted in place of the fallen plants. When cold weather returns, the plants are covered with insulating materials at night.

Protected ground

Eggplants grow best in greenhouses, where favorable conditions are created for them.

The soil must be loose and permeable. In the spring, the soil is dug up, compost or humus (4-5 kg ​​per 1 m²) and a garden mineral mixture (70 g per 1 m²) are introduced. After that, the soil is leveled and watered.

Seedlings are grown in pots with a diameter of 10-20 cm or in plastic bags (two plants each). It is planted in heated greenhouses in late March - early April at the age of 45-50 days, in unheated ones - in early May at the age of 60-70 days.

Seedlings are planted in beds (which is best), ridges or a flat surface. Plants are placed with two-line ribbons (distance between lines 40-50 cm, between outer rows 80, between plants 35-45 cm).

After planting, eggplants are immediately tied up on trellises, like tomatoes. Care consists of dressing, watering, loosening, weeding, protection from frost.

The first feeding is carried out 15-20 days after planting the seedlings, adding urea (10-15 g per 10 l of water). At the beginning of fruiting, eggplants are fed with a solution of fresh mullein (1: 5) with the addition of superphosphate (30-40 g 10 l of water). Every two weeks, top dressing is applied with a solution of wood ash (200 g per 10 liters of water) or mineral fertilizers (grams per 10 liters of water):

  • ammonium nitrate - 15-20,
  • superphosphate - 40-50,
  • potassium chloride - 15-20.
Eggplant
Eggplant

After fertilizing, the plants are watered with clean water to wash off the remaining solution.

Eggplants are watered abundantly, at the root, since a lack of moisture reduces yield, increases the bitterness and ugliness of the fruit. But waterlogging is also unacceptable. After each watering, the soil is loosened to a depth of 3-5 cm. Weeds are systematically removed.

Greenhouses are regularly ventilated to prevent overheating and high humidity: this contributes to the reproduction of aphids. In May, it is possible for the Colorado potato beetle to enter the greenhouses, therefore, the lower part of the leaves is regularly examined and the eggs found are destroyed. The eggplant yield at a high level of agricultural technology reaches 6-8 kg per 1m².

Eggplants work well in greenhouses (nine plants are planted under the frame). They are also grown on balconies. Seedlings are planted in late May - early June in large pots with a diameter of 10-40 cm and a depth of 30 cm.

Care

The plant is heat-demanding and moisture-loving. Seeds germinate at temperatures not lower than 15 ° C. If the temperature is above 25-30 ° C, then seedlings appear already on the 8-9th day. The best temperature for growth and development is 22-30 ° C. If the temperature is too high and the humidity of the air and soil is insufficient, the plants shed flowers. If the air temperature drops to 12 ° C, then the eggplants stop developing. In general, they develop more slowly than tomatoes.

Water them abundantly. The lack of soil moisture reduces the yield, increases the bitterness and ugliness of the fruit. But waterlogging is also bad, in prolonged bad weather, for example, eggplants can suffer from diseases.

Eggplant
Eggplant

The best soils for this vegetable plant will be light, structured, and well fertilized.

It was noticed: with a lack of nitrogen in the soil, the growth of tops slows down, and this promises a decrease in yield (few fruits will be tied). Phosphorus fertilizers have a beneficial effect on the growth of roots, the formation of buds, ovaries, and accelerate the ripening of fruits. Potassium promotes the active accumulation of carbohydrates. With a lack of potassium in the soil, the growth of eggplants stops, and brown spots appear on the edges of the leaves and fruits. For the plant to be healthy, microelements are also needed: salts of manganese, boron, iron, which are required to be applied per 10 m2 0.05-0.25 g each.

For tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, the best root dressing from ready-made soil mixtures with a high content of humus and organic matter; macro-, microelements, growth stimulants - this is "Signor Tomato", "Fertility", "Breadwinner", "Bogatyr" vegetable - "Giant".

For extra feeding on plants - "Impulse +". Fertilizer promotes the formation of ovaries, increases plant resistance to fungal diseases, accelerates the ripening of fruits.

Varieties

In the traditional sense, eggplant is an oblong purple fruit. But breeders have long since departed from tradition and create new varieties, surprising us with color, shape, size and yield.

  • F1 Baikal is a mid-season and vigorous (1.2 m plant) hybrid, recommended for film greenhouses. Just like F1 'Baron', seedlings are sown at the end of February, and planted in a greenhouse at the end of May. Fruits are pear-shaped (length 14-18 cm, diameter 10 cm), dark purple, glossy, weighing 320-370 g. White pulp, with a green tint, without bitterness, medium density. The yield of one plant is 2.8-3.2 kg.
  • F1 The most delicate - a novelty of the "Yummy" series. A distinctive feature of the new hybrid is the white color of the fruit. Ripening period is average. Plant height 50 cm, fruit length - 18 cm, average weight - 200 g. The pulp is dense, white, without bitterness, with a low solanine content. The yield of one plant is 2 kg.
  • F1 Sadko - this hybrid is distinguished by the original color of the fruits - they are purple, with white longitudinal stripes. The plant is medium-sized (50-60 cm), mid-season. The shape of the fruit is pear-shaped (length 12-14 cm, diameter 6-10 cm), average weight 250-300 g. The pulp is of medium density, without bitterness, excellent taste.
  • F1 Baron is a hybrid with a height of 70-80 cm with an average ripening period. The seedlings are sown at the end of February, and at the end of May, the seedlings are planted in a greenhouse. Fruits are cylindrical (length 16-22 cm, diameter 6-8 cm), dark purple, glossy, large - 300-350 g. The pulp is of medium density, yellowish-white, without bitterness. The yield of one plant is 2.8-3.1 kg.
  • Albatross is a high-yielding, mid-season, large-fruited fruit. Pulp without bitterness. The color in technical ripeness is blue-violet, in biological it is brown-brown. Stores well.
  • Ping-pong is mid-season, high-yielding. The fruit is spherical (90-95 g). In the phase of technical ripeness, it is white, slightly glossy. The pulp is firm, white, without bitterness.
  • Lunar - early, fruit 300-317 g. The pulp is firm, yellowish-white.
  • Bibo - mid-season, snow-white fruits (300-400 g).
  • Sailor - early, fruit with lilac and white stripes, weight 143 g, without bitterness. The pulp is white.

Diseases and pests

Pests

Aphids are the most dangerous pest of eggplant, which causes great harm. Aphids appear on leaves, stems, flowers and feed on plant sap.

Control measures: Treatment of plants with rapidly decomposing insecticides. Spray before and after flowering. During fruiting, it cannot be processed. From folk remedies, the following solution is used: 1 glass of wood ash or 1 glass of tobacco dust is sent to a 10-liter bucket, then it is poured with hot water and left for a day. Before spraying, the solution must be stirred well, filtered and added 1 tbsp. spoon of liquid soap. Spray the plant in the morning, preferably from a sprayer.

Eggplant
Eggplant

The spider mite sucks the juice from the underside of the eggplant leaves.

Control measures: prepare a solution for which they take a glass of minced garlic or onions and dandelion leaves, a tablespoon of liquid soap is diluted in 10 liters of water. They filter, separating the pulp, and spray the plants at any stage of development.

Naked slugs not only eat eggplant leaves, but also damage the fruits, which then rot.

Control measures: keep the planting clean, pollinate the grooves around the planting bed with fresh lime or a mixture of lime, ash and tobacco dust. When watering, try not to pour water into the grooves. In hot, sunny weather in the daytime, it is necessary to loosen to a depth of 3-5 cm. Loosening of the soil is accompanied by pollination with ground hot pepper (black or red), at the rate of 1 teaspoon per 1-2 m², or dry mustard (1 teaspoon per 1 m²).

Diseases

Blackleg is especially pronounced at high soil and air humidity, as well as at low temperatures. With this disease, the root stalk of the eggplant is damaged, it softens, becomes thinner and decays. Often the disease develops during the period of growing seedlings due to the thickening of crops.

Control measures: adjust temperature and watering. In the event of this disease, the soil must be dried, loosened and sprinkled with wood ash or the dust of crushed charcoal.

Wilting disease is manifested in the dropping of leaves. The cause may be fungal diseases: fusarium, sclerocinia. If you cut a piece of the stem near the root collar, then brown vascular bundles are visible.

Control measures: diseased wilted plants are removed and burned, the soil is loosened, watered rarely and only in the morning. The next year, pepper and eggplant are not planted in this place.

Eggplant
Eggplant

Premature yellowing of leaves in eggplant most often occurs due to non-observance of the temperature regime, insufficient watering.

Control measures: You can use the drug "Emerald", which prevents premature yellowing of the leaves.

Useful Tips

Insufficiently complete pollination of flowers can be the reason for the appearance of non-standard (crooked) fruits. To prevent this, it is necessary to apply artificial additional pollination of flowering plants, that is, in hot, sunny calm weather, light shaking of the plants is done.

Lack of moisture in the soil, high air temperature cause lignification of the stems, dropping of buds and leaves in both pepper and eggplant.

In open areas, it is necessary to protect eggplant plantings from the wind with the help of curtains - plantings of tall crops, which are planted in advance with seedlings around the garden (these are beets, beans, Swiss chard, leeks), and best of all they bear fruit under a film.

Eggplants are not only thermophilic and water-demanding, but also very photophilous. Therefore, shading causes a lag in plant growth and flowering.

Since the root system of eggplants is located in the upper layer of soil, loosening should be shallow (3-5 cm) and be accompanied by obligatory hilling.

Fresh manure is not added to the garden before planting eggplants, as they will give a strong vegetative (leaf) mass and will not be able to form fruits.

Eggplant
Eggplant

Young eggplant seedlings planted on a garden bed cannot withstand a low above-zero temperature (2-3 ° C), and autumn fruit-bearing plants can withstand frosts down to -3 ° C. This allows you to keep eggplant plants in a greenhouse or garden until late autumn.

Eggplant is especially beneficial for the elderly. They should be recommended for edema associated with weakening of the heart, with gout.

Nutritionists recommend including eggplant dishes in the menu of those suffering from liver and kidney disease.

Thanks to copper and iron, eggplant helps to increase hemoglobin, so eggplant dishes are recommended for children and pregnant women with anemia.

The trace elements contained in them are perfectly balanced, they contain vitamins B1, B2, B6, B9, C, P, PP, there are also active substances that have a positive effect on the activity of the cardiovascular system and kidneys.

We hope our tips will help you grow these wonderful vegetables!

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