Plant Magazine of Botanical-online September 2017

Natural remedies

Cultivation of eggplants

CULTIVATION OF EGGPLANTS

eggplant
Photo of eggplant with the fruit (Solanum melongena L.)

Eggplant - characteristics

Plant family of Solanaceae from 30 to 70 cm. Stems erect and hairy. Leaves entire, pubescent gray-green oval with the presence of spikes in the vein of the same. Flowers purple up to 4 cm in diameter, solitary or clustered in groups with chalice covered with bristles.

The fruits are berries usually elongated, purple color with white bands, although we find very different varieties of color, even color completely white or completely black varieties. Its size can reach over 30 cm but there are varieties that produce very small fruits that do not exceed 2 cm in length.

Its origin is usually located in Southeast Asia. Some will focus on India. Today it is cultivated in most regions of the world.

Varieties of eggplants:

Among the most interesting varieties we can mention the following:

Early Varieties:

- Black beauty (black beauty): It produces abundant fruits, great-tasting, black bright purple. It fruits very early so it has great advantages when selling.

- Black prince (black Prince): Even earlier than the one before and very dark.

- Long purple (long Purple): It is also an early variety with tasty dark purple fruits.

- Black barbentane (Black Barbentane): It many bright black fruit early as 30 cm in length.

- Moneymaker (producer of money): One of the early varieties with best flavor.

- Thai Long Green (Long green of Thailand): From Thailand, it fits very well in temperate climates of Europe or America. It produces fruit and long curved pale green very attractive. Its flesh is creamy white and very soft. (Eastern varieties have thin skins and meat softer than the American varieties)

Half early Varieties:

- Rotonda bianca sfumata di rosa (Round white faded pink): it produces rounded fruits of white with pink accents, ages 12 and 15 cm in diameter.

- "Listada" from Gandía: It produces fruits whitish with purple bands, oval-rounded. Its pulp is white and tasty.

Varieties for cold climates:

- Diamond Eggplant (Aubergine diamond) from Ukraine, produces mild-flavored eggplant and dark purple with a length of between 15 and 20 cm. The meat is very soft and no bitter. It is a very productive plant

- Bonica (Pretty) very vigorous plant that produces fruit black or very dark purple oval between 12 and 17 cm. It is a very productive variety, ideal for difficult weather locations. You can stand very well in containers to protect the inside and get outside when the weather is milder.

Eggplants - irrigation

Eggplants need an abundant irrigation. They must be watered especially during the time when the fruits grow so that they have a proper development. During the warmer seasons, it is estimated that every day these plants need a quantity of approximately six liters of water per m 2.

Eggplants are suitable for growing in pots or containers. In this case we must bear in mind that watering should be very abundant and consistent so that the pot does not dry. It is important that the pot has good drainage underneath so the water does not accumulate in the roots.

Eggplants - uses

The eggplant is a plant that is cultivated for its fruits

Eggplants - environment and exposure

Eggplants are plants of tropical and subtropical origin. They require a sunny position, requiring 10-12 hours per day. If grown in warm, grow as perennials. If grown in cold areas should be grown as annuals. (In the latter case, eggplants produce fruit until the cool fall stops growing or when the plant has exhausted its reserves)

In cold places better grown in the greenhouse interior. The ground is frozen when the temperature reaches 0 degrees C and stops growing when it is between 10 and 12 degrees C or when it is above 40 or 50 degrees C. In warmer places its cultivation is done outdoors.

In temperate locations, they will require exhibition well protected, next to a sunny wall.

The lack of light in the eggplants produced an exaggerated increase of the plant that adopts an elongated shape and lanky. In low light this plant produces virtually no flowering and the fruit produced does not have a good aspect or a pulp of good quality.

The ideal temperature for cultivation is centered on 22 and 27 degrees C during the day and 17-22 degrees C overnight. The ideal temperature for flowering is between 20 and 30 degrees C. Although it is a plant belonging to the same family as tomatoes or peppers, it needs much more a high temperature to be able to grow and to produce abundant fruits.

In order to be able to grow, they need a minimum temperature among 13 and 15 degrees Cº.

Although the eggplants need an abundant irrigation, they do not tolerate a very high or very dry environmental humidity. The suitable humidity range would be between 50% and 60%. The excess of humidity or an excessive dryness of the atmosphere can be the main cause of numerous fungal diseases, as well as of the lack of development or the fall of the flowers.

Eggplants - Sowing and planting

Eggplants are obtained from seeds. Eggplant seeds can be stored for five or six years. Planting the seed takes place in late winter (in cold areas protected seed) or early spring, about late March or early April (Sow outdoors in warmer places)

Before planting, it is necessary to put the seeds in water at a temperature of about 21 degrees C. This facilitates germination.

It is appropriate to plant the seeds in pots to be kept under cover at a temperature between 18 and 20 degrees C. A drawer in a greenhouse or a windowsill is the perfect place to get them to germinate and grow seedlings, which usually requires about 25 or 30 days or so.

When seedlings have reached a sufficient size to be manipulated, are chiming in small pots to be placed under no bells in warm climates. When these plants reach about 10 cm in height shall be transplanted to their final place, where environmental conditions are appropriate.

In cold final planting will not take place until the soil has warmed. To facilitate their heating, you can cover the ground with bells a few days before planting. In hot do not need to be careful.

The plantation was carried out on rows 60 cm apart from each other. Each plant is placed in the middle of distant ridge between 50 and 70 cm from the next plant.

Eggplants - Type of land: preparation and fertilization

Eggplants prefer fertile and deep soil, fitted with good drainage. They do not tolerate clay soils that facilitate the accumulation of water in their roots and are responsible for decay and development of many diseases, although it thrives very well with clayey-sandy.

Its pH is 6.5 but may favorite thrive at a pH of 7. Do not hold saline soils.

Before planting we prepare the land. This task is performed in winter. You have to remove the land well for this can be well shredded. During this task we will have to provide the manure that would be very necessary for good production. An approximate amount of 450 kilos per 100 m 2 would be appropriate.

This amount of manure should be added 500 g of nitrogen, 1300 g of phosphorus and potassium 2700 g per 100 m 2.

In addition to this basal dressing, it would desirable to discharge the surface two or three times during its entire productive process, with a quantity of 350 g of nitrogen in each application 100 in February.

Eggplants grown in pots is better proportional light soil made from a mixture of sand and peat.

Eggplant-Care

Among the main tasks of maintenance, we can mention the following:

- Staking: Like most vegetables, eggplant should be guided on rods, ribbons or other guardians to rise above ground and not to be subjected to moisture problems. On the other hand, placing the fruits and leaves most high allows plants to have greater ventilation. Eggplants should be tied to canes from the main stems when they reach 60 cm in height. We need to review either side shoots as they grow to tie these to them.

- Elimination of leaves: It is important to remove diseased or dried leaves and the excess inner leaves and lower leaves. This achieves better ventilation, a greater amount of light and greater ease of collection and treatment of the fruit. It is important to perform this task during the days of low humidity and before watering, when the soil is somewhat dry. Otherwise, the wounds of the cuts could become infected.

- Pinching: when they reach 60 or 70 cm, trim the tops to encourage lateral development and give them a bushy appearance.

- Thinning of the fruit: It is important to clarify the fruits do not produce too many, which would limit the size and quality. Usually tend to leave a maximum of five fruits per plant. This removes excess flowers and leaving only about 5 at the time that the fruit of them begins to swell.

- Weeding: The work of removing weeds is very important to prevent these resource-consuming cultivation, such as water and nutrients. This work can be done manually or by using herbicides.

- Maintaining soil moisture: This should be watered when needed. One way to ensure that soil moisture is more constant is padding it.

Eggplants - Harvesting and conservation

The fruit harvesting is done between 110 or 170 days after sowing, when they are mature without being passed. This can be known because they have a shiny and smooth, with full color and smooth. If you pick green, no flavor, whereas, if passed, become bitter.

At the time of pick-up must take into account that they are delicate fruits, very sensitive to shocks or abuse. Any impact is manifested by the appearance of skin spots.

Should be collected by hand, cutting with a sharp tool and clean it, leaving a free stalk a couple of fingers. Once cut will be stored in boxes, properly protected with paper backing and with the stems upward.

Before taking them to market, they can be kept in cold storage for a week or week and a half at a temperature of about 4 or 5 degrees C.

At home it can be frozen in the refrigerator.

Eggplants - Pests and diseases:

The main pests that affect the eggplants are almost the same as those that affect tomatoes.

In addition to these diseases, it should also consider the following:

- Etiolation: This occurs due to lack of light accompanied by a humidity too high during the growth phases. This plant produces very developed, lack of flowers and fruit deformity.

- Potato beetles: (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) they are beetles about 10 mm, characterized by the 4 yellow background black bands covering their elytra. The larvae have a round shape and orange. Both larvae and adults eat the leaves of the plants on which they live (mainly of potatoes, but also other plants of the same family as tomatoes or peppers).

To control this, insecticides or use other more environmentally friendly procedures can be used, such as collection of adult beetles or the use of modified genes from the bacterium Bacillus thuriengiensis.

In the latter case, the Bt gene of this bacterium is modified to incorporate into the plant. Once the genetically modified Bt gene, the plant develops toxins that are ingested and attack the predator's digestive system which is designed for without affecting other creatures, including humans.

punto rojo More information on the properties of the eggplants in the listing above.

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