Friday, February 15, 2013


This blog will be updated with each change in the Eggplants we are growing (sprouting through their first transplanting).  I will add any information which is helpful in raising Eggplants Organically as it becomes available.
I am growing four varieties of eggplants this year.  Hopefully this will be the year I convince my hunny eggplant is delicious,
 not just beautiful.

LEFT:   Eggplant flower

Feb 16,  Feb 21, Feb 22, Feb 24, Feb 26, 
Feb 27 
The eggplants we'll be growing this year:
La Semiorto Sementi (New England Seed) Produced and packed in Italy.  2007. This is the only eggplant seed I proofed because of it's age.  Put to proof 20 seeds February 3, 2013, Two sprouted February 14, today 02/15 one more sprouted.   I am planting 40 seeds.  I hope I get at least 4 plants.  This is a fantastically flavored eggplant with very few seeds. (There were several 100 seeds in package pd $3.49)

ROSA BIANCA:   Gurney's Seeds 2013  I think this is probably the same eggplant as the above.  I ordered it because at the time I placed my order I had not proofed my seeds.  The package says seed was grown in the USA.     Planting 6 seeds, I want 4 plants. (package said 30 seeds and that is what I received, pd $2.99).

ASWAD:  Baker Creek Seeds, 2012.  Never planted this variety.   Last years seed, planting  12 seeds I would like to have 6 plants (Package said 25 seeds, I received 70+ seeds  pd $3.00)

DIAMOND:  Baker Creek Seeds, 2012.  Never planted this variety.  Last years seed, planting 12 seeds would like 6 plants. The package states this is a mild dark purple 6"-9" x 2"-3" slender fruit of superb flavor and firm flesh.  (package stated 25 seeds, I received 69 seeds, pd $2.00) 


FEB 15          DATE       DATE       DATE        DATE       DATE       DATE        DATE       DATE
                     FEB 21     Feb 22        Feb 24       Feb 26        Feb 27       Mar 2 
DI ROSA                                            7/40          17/40         19/40        21/40

BIANCA                                                               0/6            0/6      

ASWAD         7/12       8/12               8/12           9/12          9/12           9/12

DIAMOND    4/12                             5/12           4/12          9/12           10/12

February 21, 2013:  I didn't check the seeds last night (they had been checked at 6 AM on the 20th).  This morning they were already an inch high and very lacking in chlorophyll.  They have been put under a light source to start manufacturing it.  I am using a goose neck lamp with a 60 watt bulb right now.  It's too early to run down and stick them under the grow lights in the barn. 

Six days and they sprouted.  The seed is 2 years old and eggplants.  I didn't expect anything for at least 10 days.  The temp in the propagation box was a steady 80 degrees for the last 4 days.  The first two days it was 75 degrees.  I couldn't get the temps any higher, I switched to a smaller Styrofoam containers so there would be less room for the yogurt maker to heat.  The heat from the bulb, not just the light, will be beneficial in their growth.  Egg plants do not like to be cold.  It stunts their growth. 

When I put them under the grow lights I will put a regular people heating pad under them on low so they will have heat coming up from below.  The room is only about 65 degrees.  They will not be set directly on the mat they will be on a cookie cooling rack that I filched from the kitchen.  Sitting on the mat the heat would be concentrated and too warm even if it were set on the lowest setting.  Yes, heat mats for plants are available but I have a heating pad.  I just have to be more attentive, monitoring how hot this one gets because it doesn't have a thermostat to turn it off or down.

Stress of cold, uneven watering, even transplanting can cause eggplant to be stunted resulting in decreased production.  You want the plant to be growing quickly, keeping a nice green stalk.

February 22, 2013:  Slow but sure.  I sure hope the other two sprout soon.   Just in case you are not reading the blog about broccoli: 
I will post about a change in procedure I am using.  Yesterday  I discovered a better way than using the plastic wrap for wrapping the trays.   There is a zip lock bag which has a glide closure and the bottom of the bag is a box flap.  The zipper allow easy access to the bag, and the box bottom allows for three of my plastic trays to fit in a gallon size.

The chlorosis cleared up after 10 hours under the lights and they didn't get any leggier.

February 24,  2013:  Being I was planting so few seeds I decided to divide the containers and plant two varieties in one tray.  I had not taken into account that different varieties germinate at different times.  Then you add into the equation the age of the seed and you have a totally different circumstances.  I placed the Bianca in with the DI Rosa.  The older seed has surprised me and sprouted first.  My new seed from Gurney's has not sprouted at all.  I thought the new seed would have sprouted before the other one. I did not proof the new seed but I did proof the DI Rosa because it was from 2007.  See above seed description at top of blog.   These planted in the soil less mix have started sprouting in 9 days.  I am so pleased with the results and the longevity of this seed. 

The problem I have now is the Gurney seed has not sprouted.  The tray has to be out so the other  side can get light.  I am having to keep the surface more moist so they have the best possible chance to germinate.  They also are only about 72 degrees not the 80 in the propagation chamber.

If we don't have any catastrophes I have enough of the Aswad and the Diamond sprouted.  If any more sprout they will be more than welcomed, but if they don't we will be fine.  Especially if I can't get Hunny to consume them.

February 26:  The Gurney seed still hasn't sprouted.  It has been eleven days.  Some sources say up to 21 days for germination.  But you can see the other varieties have sprouted. I have plenty of plants of the other varieties but wanted to try the Bianca to see if it was the same as the Di Rosa.   I've had an admirable showing from the New England seeds which are already 6 years old.  We are almost to 50% germination.  (the proofing showed just under 50%)  I will be saving this seed and proofing it again next year.  Proofing will tell me the viability of the seed and how many I have to plant to get the number of seedlings I need.

If you do not know about proofing seed I blogged about it here:

In your reading about Eggplant culture I don't know if you have learned about the importance to keeping eggplant plants warm during their growing out.  In fact through their whole life.  We baby our seedlings to the point where we make a small "green houses" inside our green house and put a heat source on the bottom so the roots stay warm.  This is like a playpen for the plants.  (A playpen would be fabulous to use if you could find one at a garage sale..all you would have to do is put a heat pad in the bottom and make a rack above it to sit the plants on and then throw a sheet of plastic over it to keep the heat in.)  We just use a wooden pallet to sit the plants above the heat source and make sides from what ever resource we have and cover it with plastic. 

February 27:  When I watered the seedlings last night I notice I have some new sprouts.  I was thrilled the oldest seed was nearing 50% germination.  (the only problem with this is I will have to find homes for the ones I can't use).   The other two seeds, which were from last year,  are at 75% germination.  I am very disappointed that the new seed from Gurneys is not germinating and it has been given an ideal environment.  I just called Gurney's and they were extremely nice.  I explained my predicament and they took care of the situation.

MARCH 2:  Today is moving day.  Will be writing a separate blog for the seedlings.  Only the Rosa Bianca did not grow I am pleased with the other seeds.  This is the new blog about the repotting:

 Baker Creek packages stated the following: to sew seeds indoors 8-12 weeks before last frost. Most species are from Africa or India. They can be surface sewn. ( I have always planted them 1/4 inch deep.)  The seeds could take up to 3 weeks to germinate. Other sources say Germination is 7-14 days.  In my propagation chamber it is usually is closer to 7 days for eggplant.
This eggplant was very prolific.  The eggplants were small usually around 4 inches long or less.  flavor very mild. I found the skins very tough.

The eggplants here were  grown in our green house in 2007.  It was a very successfully endeavor..


Clockwise from 12 o'clock:   Roll of plastic wrap; wax paper sheets; scissors; glue stick, plastic container; notebook, glasses, pen, chop stick;  bag of moistened seeding mix; paper towels select-a-size

Center:  ultra fine point sharpie, tweezers, (the wax paper cut into sheets and folded into pockets)

I can't stress enough how important it is you make a paper chart while you are working.  Record pertinent info and maybe even info you don't consider relevant. 

When I open a packet of seeds I count them.  Then I put them in a wax paper pocket on which I have written on the outside with the ultra fine point sharpie the package info (the variety, the company, the year, and the number of seeds left after I use them.)  Then I put the little packet inside the package which they originally were in.  This keeps seeds from falling out of the package. 

We use all sorts of plastic inserts for planting, even the covered take out containers (the ones with clear lids).  The only prerequisite is they be deep enough to allow space when the seeds sprout. You don't need much room above the dirt, maybe 1/2 inch to an inch. 

February 27:  While planting my peppers I found the ideal container for starting a few seeds in.  My "activia " containers with their edge cut off.  5 seeds fit comfortably in them. 

Before you fill your container make sure you make a label and attach it to the container. At the same time record all information ( I.E. planting date, variety, seed company, seed age, how many seeds planted)

Press the wet soil less medium into the bottom of the plastic containers.  Then use the tweezers to pick up and lay the seeds on top of the medium.  After your seeds are in place go back with your chop stick, which has been marked with the proper planting depth,  and poke the seeds into the medium.

February 27:  While reading through this blog after I wrote the seedling additions I realized I had never explained the importance to starting your seeds in a soil less mix.  There are many bacterias and fungus present in regular soil.  The germination temps are high for eggplant and this encourages the growth of these critters as well as your eggplants.  They love to establish homes on little plants.  You could use regular soil but are taking a chance on raising the plants to maturity.  Another draw back to soil is it packs and the seeds have to fight their way to the surface.  It is also difficult to keep consistent moisture  on the surface.

After the seeds are pressed into the medium I use the other end of the chopstick and lightly tamp the soil less mix over the seeds.  Next I cover the container with plastic wrap and put it in our propagation chamber.  In the following blog I explain how we made our propagation chamber.  Scroll down about half way on the blog.

February 27:  Another thing I have found that is a big help is the use of those zippered bags with the box bottoms.  They accommodate my containers well, and it is easy to open the bag to check for germination.

Our Propagation Chamber ( a 28" x 18" x 16" Styrofoam cooler) has two yogurt makers in it.  I only have one on and the temperature is staying right at 80 degrees F with the lid closed.

Eggplants we have grown in the past:

ROSITA:  fruits are about 1 - 1 1/2 cup size.  the flesh is pure white.  They are usually a little pinker than this.  The flea Beatles seemed to enjoy them more than the other varieties.  They were not as prolific as other eggplants we have grown.  We will give them a second chance because they were so delicious.
BRIDE:  for us these were a very lackadaisical in taste eggplant.  The flesh was firm with hardly any seeds.  They were prolific.  The largest eggplant was maybe 6 inches long and 2 inches wide.
KAMO: wow what an eggplant.  The only problem with it is it isn't large enough.  it has extremely firm flesh with a slight green coloring.  very very mild.  Seemed less susceptible to the flea beetles.  It grows on extremely large 3+ feet plants.
PING TUNG:  The flavor of this eggplant was okay.  The plants were scrawny, not very leafy.  It wasn't very prolific.  when cooked the flesh went to mush immediately, and the skins were tough.  They were a couple inches long to 7 inches long and were only an inch through.  We won't be planting these again.

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