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How to Grow Eggplant : Eggplant Cultivation Farming Techniques

Gomani, is an Agribusiness Consultant who studied Agribusiness Management

Eggplant Cultivation

Eggplant Cultivation

Eggplant Cultivation Farming

Eggplant is known to be a member of the Solanaceae family, which is cultivated and used as a vegetable. It has low calories and fats, and is a good source of Vitamins and minerals. Examples of Solanaceae family include; Tomato, Potato, Sweet Pepper, Chili among others. It is one of perennial crop, but is grown commercially as annual both by small and medium scale farmers. The vegetable is also grown in large scale by large agribusiness farmers who are in commercial farming. This article will take you in detail on how to grow Eggplant, both for commercial and home use purposes.


Common Varieties

The following are the commonly grown Eggplant varieties:

1. Black beauty

This variety becomes mature in 100 days after transplanting and gives an average yield of 4,500 kg per acre. It has a good shelf life, but this variety is unsuitable in cold weather areas. It is almost black with oval to heart shape glossy purple.

2. Long purple

This variety has a maturity period of 70 to 80 days from the day of transplanting and its fruits are dark purple with an elongated shape.

3. Florida high bush

This variety has a maturity period of 85 days from the day transplanting has occurred and it produces large, dark purple and egg like shape fruit. It is an old variety bred in Florida a couple of years ago.

4. Ravaya

This variety is commonly grown for commercial purposes and is mostly exported. It is an early maturing variety and has high yielding potential. Its fruit is slender and purple in colour.


Adaptability

Climatic requirements

Eggplant performs well in a warm temperate area as it is known to be a warm season crop and do not do well in frosty areas. It performs well in a temperature of 26 °C (day temperature) and requires a night temperature of 20 °C. It requires about 80 days for the transplanted crop to mature. Slow growth is observed when the temperature falls below 17 °C or is above 35 °C. Cooler temperatures reduce the fruit. The optimum temperature for growing Eggplant is known to be in a range of 26 °C to 29 °C.

Soil requirements

Eggplant gives optimal results in a well drained loam to sandy loam soils, however it also performs better in a wide range of soils. The optimum soil pH for growing Eggplant is known to be in a range of 5,5 to 6,5. Make sure you grow your Eggplant in a fertile soil and its root will grow into a depth of 90 to 120 centimeters.


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Cultivation Practices

Soil preparation

Make sure you prepare the soil through tillage or ploughing. You can prepare your field manually with the help of a hoe or mechanically using a tractor. The aim is to create a good growing conditions for the Eggplant seeds or transplant, which results in high yield. It is recommended that soil preparation should be done to a depths of a range of 200 to 400mm. Growing Eggplant in ridges it is also recommended.

Planting period

This will vary from country to country, but make sure you plant your Eggplant during early rain. Make sure Eggplant planting is done when the soil and air temperatures at least have met the minimum growth requirements.

Seedling Production

Raising seedlings

You can sow your Eggplant seed in a nursery and later transplant to the actual field. Similarly, you can also sow your seeds directly in the field, the two will give a similar result. The seed rate for Eggplant is known to be 200g per acre.

Nursery site selection

When choosing a nursery site, make sure the site has not recently been planted a member of the Solanaceae family for the last 3 years as this would result in low yield. Make sure the site is located close to a water source and is flat and is under the shade.

Nursery establishment

Make sure you sow Eggplant Seeds thinly in rows having a space of 15 cm apart. Apply 3 to 5 kg manure per square meter

Management of Nursery

Make sure the site has right moisture content all the time and is not waterlogged as this can be the source of diseases. Make sure you slow down water application about 1 to 2 weeks before transplanting. Always ensure that your nursery is free from weeds.


Plant Population and Spacing

Eggplant plant population should be between 20 to 25 000 plants per hectare and should have a row spacing of 1.8 to 2.5 meters.

Transplanting Seedings

Eggplant seedlings are transplanted in 3 to 4 weeks after sowing in a nursery at which the height of the seedling is about 10 to 15 cm. Make sure you conduct this transplanting early in the morning or in the evening. Make sure each Eggplant transplant is spaced at 60 to 75 cm between rows and the field has an Eggplant plant population of a range of 8,888 to 16,666 per acre.


Irrigation

It is recommended to supplement water whenever soil moisture content is low and this can be achieved through Irrigation. Make sure you irrigate your field at a right amount of clean water to prevent it from waterlogging which would also mean water wastages.


Harvesting

Make sure you start harvesting your Eggplant in a range of 60 to 90 days after transplanting and the harvesting can be done manually by the hand picking. Usually you harvest 8,000 to 10,000kg per acre depending on the type of variety and other factors.

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