How To Grow Aubergines
How To Grow Aubergines
Growing Aubergines – Aubergines are one of the more exotic vegetables that are grown in the United Kingdom, and predominantly they have to be grow indoors even in the South West Of England, Summer temperatures in the evening can drop down to a level whereby you wake up to find a plant that looked great the day before, wilting over night due to the cold temperature. Even Aubergine plants that seem to have been “Hardened” up fully can suffer this fate.
However, if you grow Aubergines successfully then they can be very rewarding and bursting with flavour, and ideal if you love making Mousaka. Whilst you can buy plug plants to jump start your growth, Aubergine seeds are readily available and germinate in around 14 to 21 days after planting them in moist compost.
A bit like tomatoes you are advised to plant two seeds per pot. And note I did mention per pot, not per seedling tray section, as Aubergines do not like being pricked out and moved to another pot. You can plant them in small seedling pots, but they will not like being moved at all, trust me on that bit.
This means that you will need to plant your Aubergines into pots at least 8 inches wide (The larger the better). Pinch out the weaker of the two seedlings in each pot when the larger one reaches around a foot high (Note: only one may germinate anyway). You can then begin to gradually harden them off by leaving the Aubergine plants outside during the day, I would not however leave them out overnight except in the height of Summer, as I mentioned earlier a slight cold snap seems to adversely affect them resulting in a dead plant within days.
Keep the compost in the pot moist but not overwatered, however as the fruit begins to grow they will obviously need more water, and they will also need supporting with a stake or frame, as the Aubergines can weigh a lot as they grow near to full term.
For the best crop then thin out the weaker fruit to ensure that you aim for four to five Aubergines as a maximum per plant. They are ready to pick at around 15 cm in length, whilst the skin is still very shiny. They will be ready to pick in eight to ten weeks depending on your climate. Although personally I do like to keep my Aubergine plants inside my conservatory. If you have any problems see Aubergine Pests And Diseases