Fruiting Planting Days in Mid Summer – Eggplants at Last!

by Linda on January 15, 2014

eggplants

I’m very proud of these.  Eggplants are one of my difficult crops. In my garden they are prone to attack by flea beetles.  The flea beetles themselves are a nuisance – they chew holes in the leaves – but not critical.  But they spread virus diseases and the nightshade family (that eggplants belong to) is very prone to virus diseases.  And I live in an area where wild tobacco (Solanum mauritianum) is a  prevalent weed so it is impossible to break the cycle of disease by just having a break from all nightshades.

I’d love to be able to put my finger on exactly what I did right with these.  The seedlings were bought – something I rarely do, and only because I hadn’t planted seed (too disheartened after last year’s dismal eggplant harvest), and then succumbed.  They are “Little Finger”, a variety I’ve tried before, but maybe this is a particularly strong cultivar?  They were planted late in the season – usually I try to get them started in September but these didn’t go in until well into October.  They were planted in a bed that has been well chooked – that bed had the chooks on it at the peak of my crazy busy time and they were there for much longer than usual.  But the bed had tomatoes in it before that, and they’re the same family… ?

My best theory is that they are companion planted with Thai basil on all sides, and the Thai basil was well advanced when the seedlings went in.  Because the bed is very fertile, the Thai basil has really grown big and leafy, but it wanted to bolt to seed a bit so I’ve been breaking off  the seed heads and dropping them as mulch around the eggplants.

I’m going to be sure to save seed from these, and try to remember to run the Thai basil experiment again next year.  But meantime, I’m relishing the idea of Smoky Eggplant and Pomegranate Dip with the pomegranates just coming into season too.

I know in many parts of Australia you are coping with frizzle weather, and my fingers are crossed that there are no fire catastrophes.  But here it is cool and overcast with occasional showers – jealous? So I’ve planted another round of beans – Red Seeded Snake Beans and Rattlesnakes this time, just a couple of metres of fence with each.  I’ve planted zucchini and squash and cucmbers and potkins, just a couple of each.  I won’t plant any more tomatoes – I want to save some spots for next year and I’ve learned to be very careful to rotate tomatoes.  I’ll plant out just two more advanced capsicum seedlings, and I’ve planted another dozen sweet corn.

With any luck we won’t get your heat wave this time, I’ll be able to keep water up to them and they’ll survive, but if they don’t, at least it’s only this one batch of successional planting that I miss.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate January 15, 2014 at 6:54 pm

yes I have eggplant envy and I’m jealous of your rain. But I know you have had some very hot weather also.

Scott January 15, 2014 at 7:35 pm

We’re copping it big time with those pesky flea beetles, all of the leaves on the eggplants look like slotted spoons. We are going to introduce guinea fowl, hope it helps. Linda, what species are the ones that are a bit like wild tobacco, but are as spiky as hell? Around here we call them ‘devils fig’. We’ve had the clouds, but very little rain here on the Goldie

Linda January 15, 2014 at 7:42 pm
Scott January 16, 2014 at 6:33 am

Thats them, I will read up on them thanks.

rachel January 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Gorgeous photo! Our eggplants are yet to fruit, but they are big and covered in flowers. We plant ours in containers and they always grow though we don’t get as many fruit as you have. Fingers crossed today’s 46 degree temperature doesn’t harm them!

Linda January 16, 2014 at 12:48 pm

I am feeling for all you gardeners coping with the heat wave this week!

Fiona January 20, 2014 at 8:58 am

Gorgeous eggplants Linda! I am feeling rather envious of your rain. It is so dry and hot here (central west NSW). Although we have plenty of water, our garden is really suffering and I’m just focusing on having a few tomatoes, potatoes, corn, beans, pumpkin and zucchini. Actually, just writing all those things down, it doesn’t seem too bad, and now I think about it, there are herbs and flowers and rhubarb too. Actually, it’s therapeutic to stop and do a stocktake! As yet, only the beans are producing fruit but I have high hopes for a big zucchini glut in another few weeks.
A question on flea beetles, do they eat the fruit as well as the leaves? Some of my underripe tomatoes had so many holes eaten in them that i decided to pull them off and not waste plant energy ripening them. But I can’t actually see any beetles or grubs on my plants so I’m not sure what’s eating the fruit.

Linda January 20, 2014 at 9:09 am

Flea beetles only eat the leaves, and they’ve never attacked my tomatoes. Just eggplants and potatoes. Could it be birds?

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