Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eggplant Enters the BG

I meant to post a little earlier about the additions and subtractions to and from the Balcony Garden but essay marking, parental visits and a return to the PhD thesis got slightly in the way. While I'll weigh in on the tomato situation in a different post (8 out, 3 in, with more to go shortly methinks) I thought I'd write a post about another impulse buy - the eggplant.

Two tomatoes and some carrots were originally in this pot, a sturdy large square self watering pot. Unfortunately the wilt came early, even before flowers could set so the Flame tomato and Aunt Ruby's German Green had to go.

I cleaned the pot and intended to start the process again, albeit with store bought seedlings of any yellow and any green tomatoes I could get my hands on. Unfortunately the seedling choice was, well, abysmal! Some were so leggy they could be olympic high jumpers, others had yellow leaves wherein I wanted yellow tomatoes, and some, well, you just knew their days were numbered. I did manage to find 3 adequate specimins which I'll post on later, but the ones for the square box just could not be sourced. I am not a patient person (sometimes, othertimes I'll wait hours/months/years for people, it's a situational thing I guess) and I wondered what else could fill that sunny spot. Then I stumbled upon eggplant!

Yes eggplant. I had actually toyed with the idea of growing eggplant this year, from seed. I had some white eggplant seeds and had intended to give them a go. But calls from friends about how fickle eggplant growing can be, and seeing the troubles some bloggers went through I decided to double the cucumber production and ditch the eggplant. However, with a free pot and a seedling in my hand I knew I had to give it a go.

He is just a normal eggplant, no lovely white uniqueness here. But the label said he was a vigorous grower which would work well given the slightly late start. Plus being my first eggplant it would be good to go with something a little more idiot (inept) proof. I'll update when the flowers set but in the meantime he seems to be happy except when his leaves become snail dinner! I've planted some sunflowers around him, less for protection and more because I am starting a new obsession with them.


Jamie said...

Never grown eggplant, Prue (but have eaten a zillion, love them!) so I'm no help, but I do know their level of difficulty is high. They really like things to be warm.

However, one thing I have learned recently with leggy tomatoes is this, and it's cool to know. Bury them deep. If you have a leggy tomato seedling, apparently you can bury them deep so the first couple of 'branches' can actually go under soil level. Cut off the lower branches of course, but these bits, when buried, apparently then form roots (instead of branches) and the plants will steam ahead.

prue said...

Hi Jamie, indeed that is what I did with the three tomato seedlings (I went for the leggy over the yellow.) The pot wasn't quite deep enough but judging by their growth it was adequate. Thanks for the encouragement though :)

Jamie said...

Just working on an eggplant story and it seems that bees can find it hard to pollinate eggplant flowers. So the recommendation is a bit of hand pollination using a paintbrush, wiggling it into flowers and going from flower to flower. Might be worth a try!