Friday, September 24, 2010

Spring Plantings and Garden Experiments 3: Eggplanting

The case of the eggplants in my garden is less of an experiment and more a mix of impulse buys, slow to germinate seeds and an obsession with marbled eggplants. Last year I planted a single eggplant, later in the season, and only because tomato seedlings were hard to get and seemed to just keep dying in my garden anyway. The tag said it was a prolific fruiter which I figued would be good seeing as his new home was going to be a pot. Well he fruited and fruited and I posted often on harvest Monday about my eggplants. Now for most people eggplants are an annual, dying off when the Winter hits. I thought my eggplant would do the same, and he did slow down the production in the cold weather, but he never truly came to a stop. In the frosty weather some of the leaves turned brown and he looked a little ill yet still the eggplants came. This just meant that I never pulled him out. Maybe it was his sunny position by the window but come Spring I already have 5 little though slightly damaged eggplants on this amazing bush.

I have decided to leave him in until he expires of his own accord though he has been moved to a different position to make way for a different sun loving plant.

By keeping the old plant in that meant I didn't have the larger space I thought I might have for my new obsession, the fairy-tale eggplant. It is a mottled pale purple and white, so pretty, and apparently so tasty. I set off to the nursery to find one, and even after visiting three separate nurseries could not procure a single seedling. I ultimately settled for another normal eggplant, though he didn't get the luxury of a large pot. You can see the size difference between him and the apple tree pots in the photo below. Despite the cramped space he seems to be growing up nicely.

I did have some caspar white eggplant seeds and decided it best to sow those if I wanted anything other than a generic eggplant in the garden. So far they are either invisible, or lacking germination. They are the pots at the front just behind the tomatoes. They are the pots with a whole lotta nothing in them. Infact the only thing to germinate was the white squash, the thing I was least keen on! I'm not holding my breath that any will germinate, but fingers crossed anyway.

A bit despondant about the white eggplant failure a few weeks later I was out at the nursery again, and low and behold I stumbled upon the fabled fairy-tale eggplant! In my excitement I bought not one but two seedlings, and reaching home realised I had a similar dilemma to the zucchini issue I wrote about yesterday - not enough large pots. One of them ended up in a bigger rectangle pot which should work well, while the other ended up in a slightly smaller round pot pictued below. I wonder how these will do in the balcony garden.

Now all I have to do is get the white ones to germinate and I can have a multicoloured eggplant garden, complete with the granddaddy eggplant from last year.

Do you have any favourite eggplants? When I was at the garden shop the old fellow next to me (who certainly wasn't staff) told me his favourite eggplant. It was the long lebanese eggplant. I might try that one next year, but for this year I think the garden is full!


thyme2garden said...

That's so neat that you got your eggplant to overwinter inside! I'm about to try that with my hot pepper plant, and hoping that it will do well. I hope the new plant will like its new home and become a part of the happy eggplant family in your garden! I didn't grow any eggplants during this first year, but hoping to add it to my collection next year.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Well done keeping your grand-daddy eggplant alive over winter (especially given the cold). I have also been chasing the marbled eggplant variety, to no avail. Do you mind letting us know where you finally found it? Much thanks, and good luck with the overfull nursery :)

prue said...

thyme2garden - actually it wasn't inside, I think the picture it a bit deceiving, I over Wintered the eggplant out on the balcony!

Anonymous - I got it at Poyntons in Essendon. Overpriced but healthy and good. Oasis list possible sellers on their website but they don't all carry all the stock. Good luck finding one!

Dan said...

I like the Rosa Bianca eggplants and those ones that go that black purple colour. Good luck with your spring planting!

Ivynettle said...

Eggplants are on my list for next year - when I just have to have my own flat with my own balcony so I can clutter it up with vegetables!