Saturday, March 2, 2013


You will find the edits shown in the colors of the dates.
Our Eggplant seedlings were in desperate need of new living quarters.  The picture on the left is not eggplants, it is just to show you the tools of our trade.  (The seedlings are Broccoli which were transplanted yesterday.)  The picture is to show you, you do not need fancy store bought pots to start your seeds in.  The clear plastic tray is from Chocolate Covered Graham Crackers.  An Activia cup gets the collar cut off.  I used  6" fiskars squeeze handled scissors.  Then I used my printer to make the labels and glued them on with a kids glue stick.  I used a fondue stick to poke two holes, in the raised section in the bottom of the activia cup, for drainage.  I was now ready to transplant any of my seedlings. 

We have three varieties of eggplants this year. 
You can find information on starting the seed in the following blog:
There is information about proofing of seeds here:
We proofed a very old package of eggplant seed.  The Romanesco.  The last time I grew it we were impressed with the production and the taste.  We wanted to make sure it had some viability.  If it didn't we wanted to buy more.  If it was low we would just plant more seed than we needed.  Instead the test came back with 50% viability.  The one thing we noticed is the seed took longer to sprout than the newer seed did.  So I planted lots thinking maybe my testing was flawed.  What did I get?  I got 50% again.  I planted 40 and 20 sprouted.

These are the Romanesco seedlings which "hatched".  They are in a shallow dish of luke warm water.  They are soaking to loosen the soil less mix from around their roots.  You don't want to tear any of the entangled roots from each delicate plant.  These plants are so crisp it takes nothing to snap their stalk.  When you are handling them do it gently.  I do not recommend using tweezers or any instrument to hold them with.  It will cut into their "skin".  Eggplants are very sensitive to temperature and to how they are handled.  Stress sets them way back. 
We use the Activia cups because they are deep and narrow.  They do not require a large amount of our soil mix.  What is our soil mix.  We mix one part soil with one part peat moss, with 1/2 part sand, 1/2 part of our dried manure from goats/sheep/cow and one part rice hulls.  When this is well mixed we add a quart of Epsom salts and a quart of bone meal to a large wheel barrow of the mix. This is then stored to use for potting. 
We take equal amounts of this and our soil less mix  and mix them together.  This is what we use for the first transplanting.  We fill the cups half full and then tamp it down and hold the transplant over it while we gently put our mix around the Seedling.   The cup with a seedling in it is put on a tray and watered with fish emulsion.  We use 3 Tablespoons of fish emulsion to 1 gallon of water. 
 The photo above is the eggplants in their new homes.  You can see another recycled item we use.  This is a Styrofoam tray from raw Chicken.  BTW, Looking at this picture reminded me of something.  Do not try to remove the Activia paper from the cups.  There are two reasons:  One, the cup is very flimsy without it.  Two, it is very difficult to get your labels to stick on the plastic with the glue stick.
Through the years we have found, you should give each of your pots ID, even if the tray is all the same variety.  You never know when someone will move a pot and set it with another variety.  Another hint, a red sharpie on white plastic labels washes off or fades worse than any of the colors. 
The above eggplants are now under lights and are covered in a plastic tent to keep in the heat from the lights.  They like to be kept at 75 degrees or warmer.  Our house is chilly and I don't want them to get chilled. (Now I need to think of where all the extra plants are going.  I really only wanted less than a dozen)
MAR 2   Melanzana  Roamanesco 20 plants
MAR 3  Diamond 10 plants
March 3 Aswad 9 plants
The Aswad and Diamond are eggplants we have never tried before. 
MARCH 6:  The Transplanted plants are hail and hearty.  We haven't had any expire. 
MARCH 7:  I watered the plants this morning and can't believe how they love the transplanting.  They have doubled in size.  The ASWAD has trippled in size.   I just checked the statistics and the plants can be from 24-36 inches in height.  They are racing to get there.


I took this picture this afternoon.  Look at the size difference between the two varieties (which were planted the same day and potted the same day).  If the growth pattern stays the same, the Melanzana will be at least 1/3 smaller than the Aswad.  You can see the lights above them.  I put the transplants within an inch of the light sourse.  The picture of the tray of Melanza, it was taken March 2, this is the 9th.  the plants have literally jumped up in a week. 
This blog will be updated with each change in Plant growth.  I will be forwarding any information I have found beneficial to us.

March 19:  The shelf the eggplants are on to keep them warm.  I don't know if you can tell the White plastic under the boards but that is keeping cold from coming up.  There is a heating mat on it for times when it is too cool for the plants.  The plastic also surrounds the whole shelf.  There is a flap to pull down to keep the heat in through the night when the lights are off.  The boards are to raise the plants to the proper height to keep them close to the lights without touching them.  They will not get leggy if they are close to the lights.  (the small plants on the right are red cabbages in the front and some pepper plants in the back.)

This picture is some of the Aswad and Diamond eggplants.  The Breyers container is there to show the size of the plants.  We use the ice cream containers to measure our soil supplements with and to collect eggs.  As you can see we use the styrofoam trays for drain trays.  The plants in this picture were potted in these containers on March 3.  I slid one out of the container and they are not root bound but they have plenty of roots.  I will be moving them to new homes this week.
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