It has been a challenge to catch up on the huge backlog of sowing and planting after going away, but I am slowly making headway. I am also behind on posting & will be trying to catch up on that over then next couple of weeks - getting back on track in the garden, of course, has to come first otherwise I would have nothing to write about!
I started some eggplant, another new addition to the garden this year, back in mid-March. I wasn't a huge fan of eggplant growing up, but then again, I think the only way we ever ate it was fried in a parmigiana sort of dish. I now consider it one of my favourite veg, especially when roasted & in curries.
I decided to grow only long, slender eggplant for two reasons. Firstly, they appear to be easier to grow in short season areas like mine. Secondly, and more importantly, this is the type that I use almost exclusively in the kitchen. I find them to be less bitter, the skin is more tender (so I rarely peel them) and they have far fewer seeds than the traditional large, oval variety commonly seen in stores.
Ping Tung Long (66 days, Pinetree)
|Photo Source: Pinetree|
Slim Jim (60 days, Pinetree)
|Photo Source: Pinetree|
As with peppers and tomatoes, I decided to pre-germinated the seeds instead of sowing them directly. I need 2 plants for each variety, so I started with 4 seeds each.
Slim Jim was super easy to start. The seeds took only 4 days to germinate & I had 100% germination, with all of the seeds germinating on the same day (which makes it very convenient for sowing). I sowed the seeds in 4” pots, 2 seeds per container...just in case. I am using rather large pots as I have read that eggplant is very sensitive to transplanting. My plan is to keep them in this pot until they are transplanted outdoors, with no potting up. After 3 days on the heat mat, the Slim Jim seedlings started to poke their heads out of the soil.
Ping Tung was much more finicky. One seed germinated after 6 days, but the next one took almost 14 days to sprout. In fact, after 10 days, I started to get a bit nervous, so I started 4 more Ping Tung seeds. Just like the first round, one of the seeds germinated after only 4 days, while the rest did nothing. Even though I didn't need any more germinated seeds, I kept the other seeds going for a few more days, just to see if anything happened, and they did get a bit plumper, but none of them actually germinated.
One interesting thing to note is that there were colour variations in the Ping Tung seeds - some of the seeds were a medium yellowish colour, while others were darker. Both seeds that germinated quickly were lighter in colour. When I checked the Slim Jim packet, which gave me 100% germination, almost all of the seeds were a lighter yellow.
|Colour variations on the eggplant seeds|
|Eggplant Seedlings - From 1.5 to 3.5 weeks|
|Thinned to One Seeding|
Difficult to do but necessary
|Eggplant Seedlings - From 4 - 6 weeks|
Till next time...