Thursday, March 21, 2013




2013 EGGPLANT SAGA continues.
My Eggplants have out grown these homes.  Today I am moving them to larger quarters.
I don't know if you recognize the plants, they're the seedlings I potted on March 2nd.
This is 19 days growth.
The picture on the left is the March 2nd potting.  I was very pleased with the results using the Activia containers.  The roots did not get root bound.  The soil did not dry out quickly like it does in peat pots. The above picture is tattling on me.  It is telling  you I don't use sterile potting soil for my plants.  Some people would condemn me for it.  In fact when  we first started gardening we religiously used sterile potting soil.  We had the fear of God put into us that every plant would die of damp off.  The only thing I like to use sterile mixture for is when I am seeding.  I also am very particular to use a soil less mix.   The soil I used was from our compost pile which was left over from the year before.  It was laden with weed seeds.  Needless to say we have to weed our potted plants.
This is the root system which has developed.  They should not suffer much transplant shock.  (Eggplants are supposed to hate being moved from pot to pot).  When I put it into the new pot, I put it just a little deeper than it was originally.  It is not like tomatoes.  It will not grow roots on its main stem.  I put it a little deeper so that it will be able to support the growth of leaves which will be happening.  

The following picture shows the depth I put the plant at.   I bury it up to where the cotyledons are.

  You will notice I am reusing a pot that has not been scrubbed out.  This is another NO-NO. (It was rinsed out before it was stacked and put away for the winter, just not scrubbed).  As you can see the soil looks wet.  I water all plants well, the night before I plan to re-pot them.  It helps them to plump up in case they have trouble taking up water after they are transplanted.  Something to "tide" them over.

After the plants are settled in, they get a huge dose of Fish emulsion water.  Not only does it give them a nutritional boost it settles the dirt around the roots. 

I didn't mention it before, to my dirt mix which is the same as the first potting, I add ground  up eggshells.  Calcium helps with the growth of the plants.

Today all our egg plants went to their new quarters.  I did lose one.  Its stem had a weak place and when I picked up the plant it snapped at the weak section.  Of the above Melanza plants we ended up with 17 plants. 

We also have 9 Aswad plants, and 10 Diamond plants.  I am hoping for only one more move but think because the cold is hanging on here, I will be doing this job at least 2 more times before they finally get to the garden.  
These are our eggplants in their new homes.
Look closely at the base of the eggplants, the dirt is covered to the cotyledons.
MARCH 22:  It is very important to make sure your eggplants are in a consistently warm environment.  Chilling, stresses them and sets back their development.  Our eggplants are still on their shelf where they are closed in at night to keep the heat in through the night when the lights go out. We are prepared with a heating pad if needed (a person's heating pad, not a special mat for plants).  This is set on low and the plants are set on racks about 1 inch above it.  The temps stay at or around 75 degrees

They receive 16 hours of light.  (We have a timer).  The plants are 2 inches or less from the light source.  The picture on the left, is the day before the eggplants were re-potted.  you can see how close the plants are to the light source.  Our light source is an inexpensive "shop light" set up with two fluorescent bulbs. (We have a bank of 3 units for each shelf).  We try to keep one grow light and one regular bulb in each fixture.  But grow lights are expensive so if they burn out sometimes they are not replaced immediately.  We have seen no detriments to their growth.
Water or the lack there of, is extremely stressful to the plants.  They need to be consistently damp.  This needs to be checked twice a day, especially when the plants are nearing filling their pots with roots.  They consume lots of water and dry out quickly. 


 MARCH 31,
The above tray is the same tray as in the picture above.  It is just turned around to the other side.  The Dannon container is the only thing handy that I had for size comparison.  They have really grown the last 8 days.  They are still under the lights in the nice warm furnace room.  They are given a feeding of fish emulsion once a week.  Their roots are rapidly filling the pots.  I was hoping to have some reprieve before I had to repot them again.

Tomorrow I will pull one out of the pot and take a picture of the root systems.

Previous blog on the beginning of these plants:

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