Sunday, June 1, 2008

Transplanting Eggplant

Today is the first of June, the day I chose to plant my eggplants. During June the weather usually stays above 70F (21C) during the days and doesn’t go below 50F (10C) at night. I checked the weather report just to make sure. I have a set of very healthy eggplants. They are four weeks old, but already too crowded for their space. The eggplant in the middle is the biggest and its roots are a little bit root bound. I planted only four of the five plants since that is all I have space for. I have about a 4’x 3’ area. So they are 18” apart in one direction and 2’ in the other. I’m a little worried about the spot. It used to be a spot in full sun, but this last year the oak trees in my neighbor’s yard must have grown taller. Now it only gets full sun later in the day. I hope it is enough for them. They are planted in black plastic under a plastic hoop tunnel. I’ll open the edges on the few hot days, but won’t take it off until our nights get warmer. I’ve never grown eggplants before, but everything I’ve read about them says they hate cool weather and if it gets below 50F at night they get stunted and won’t fruit. The average lows in our area won’t go up to 60F until July.

The variety that I picked was Slim Jim. It is an early Italian type eggplant and its fruits are small. Which is good since my family won’t eat eggplant and it will be small enough for me to eat. Of course the problem with that is that I don’t eat eggplant either. Hmm why the heck am I growing eggplant? I think because I’ve never grown it before; it was from Pinetree so the seeds are inexpensive; and it is such a pretty plant. Everyone tells me they taste better if picked early from your own garden, so I’ll try it. If not my neighbors will enjoy it. It certainly won’t go to waste.

After planting I checked out the garden. Everything is growing so well (except my Asian greens). The Sungold tomatoes (hybrid orange cherry) are a foot tall and have not one but two sets of blossoms already. Their stems are very stocky. Nights have been below 55F (13C) recently, which is low enough to kill tomato pollen, but I hear that Sungold is more cold tolerant than most tomatoes. Our forecast is for lows in the mid to upper 50Fs most of this coming week, so they should be ok either way. My Orange Blossom tomato (hybrid orange early determinate) is not doing as well. It was beat up by flying row covers in one of our 50mph wind storms of the spring. It’s recovering nicely, but still it was very unhappy for a while. My Aussie tomato (indeterminate heirloom beefsteak from you guessed it, Australia) is doing quite well too. It is a bit shorter right now than the Sungolds and you can just see the blossoms start to form.

My cucurbits are also doing well. The direct seeded pumpkins and cucumbers are just getting their first leaves. The zucchini plant is doing better than the yellow summer squash. You can already see its first little female blossom starting to form and a ton of male blossoms. The transplanted cucumbers (Diamant pickling cuke) are just starting to run. They were short and squat until a couple of days ago. Now they are getting taller. Soon I’ll have to take the row cover off of it to let it climb the trellis. It is parthenocarpic (sets fruit without pollination) so I don’t need to take the row cover off for the bees. It also has both male and female blossoms already. I think it is much closer to blooming than the zucchini though.


  1. I'm growing Sungold tomatoes too. They were outstanding last year and the taste was exceptional.
    Good luck with your vegetables - they are looking very healthy.

  2. Thanks so far they are doing quite well. There are flee beetles that are on it, but very few and I've found that black plastic keeps them down later in the year.