How to Grow Egg Plants or Aubergines
Start the plants by sowing the seed about the middle of February in the greenhouse, at a temperature of 60° F. (16° C). Sow three seeds 3/4 in. deep in the centre of a 3-in. pot firmly filled with Eclipse No-Soil or John Innes seed compost, and thin down to one plant per pot a fortnight later. Grow the plants on in the pots on shelves as near as possible to the top glass of the greenhouse to prevent them from being dwarfed. About the third week of May transfer them to a cold frame, with a protecting glass light overhead, and then gradually open up the light as the days get warmer and longer. About the middle of June, remove the frame light altogether, and a week later put the egg plants out in the warm spot in thewhere they are to grow.
Carefully knock out the plants from their pots, so that the root balls remain intact. With a trowel, make holes big enough to take the balls of without disturbing the roots. Plant firmly in rows 1-½ ft. apart, with 15 in. between the rows, pinching out the top inch of each plant to encourage branching. If more than six fruits form on one plant thin them down to this number, always leaving the best on the plant.
As egg plants are often attacked by red spider, which cluster on the underside of the leaves and suck the sap, thus causing the foliage to turn brown, spray the underside of the leaves with water every day and put on the surface of the ground a 1 in. layer of damp sedge peat for 6 in. round each plant. In bad cases syringe with liquid derris.
Pick off the fruits when they are the size of a large hen’s egg or, in the case of the longer varieties, when they are about 4 in. long and 2-½ in. across.
Blanche Longue Chine, produces a long white fruit.
Blue King, bears rich, tender round fruits.
Melanzana, produces round red-violet fruits.
Noire de Pekin, produces long, dark violet fruits.