Eggplants

Kathryn Fontenot, Singh, Raghuwinder, Strahan, Ronald E., Lewis Ivey, Melanie, Sidhu, Jaspreet, Brown, Sebe, Sexton, Mary  |  7/7/2017 4:51:20 PM

The eggplant is believed to be a native vegetable of the Far East. Nutritionally, it is a good source of fiber and is high in Vitamin B and K. Eggplant fruit is also a good source of antioxidants. Eggplants are commonly stuffed, fried or cooked as a casserole.

Eggplant is a warm-season vegetable that tolerates hot weather. For best growth, eggplants require more warmth than many other vegetables commonly grown in Louisiana. They are very sensitive to low temperatures and frost.

One of the most common problems encountered in growing eggplants is transplanting them into the spring garden too early. Early season soil and air temperatures are generally too low for eggplant. These low temperatures tend to harden eggplant and stunt their growth. Since stunted plants recover very slowly, transplants should be set in the garden after the average daily temperature is 70° F. Start seeds 8 to 10 weeks before the desired time of transplanting. Gardeners in north Louisiana should start early transplanting in mid- to late April; those in south Louisiana from mid- to late March. If the weather has been continuously warm, most varieties will reach their first harvest in 80-85 days. Since eggplants will bloom and set fruit under high temperature conditions, seed can be planted through June or transplanted in early to mid-July.

A constant, rapid growth is important for quality fruit production from young eggplants. Spring-planted eggplants that are well-cared-for will produce throughout the summer and into the fall.

Varieties

Eggplant fruit ranges from extra-large to golf ball size. Eggplant fruit is extremely diverse, ranging in color, size and shape. Skin color of the fruit ranges from dark to light purple, light to dark, variegated, violet, green, yellow, black or white. Several varieties are consistently good producers. The varieties listed here are recommended for Louisiana.

  • Early, small-to-medium hybrids are Epic, Rosita, Calliope, Night Shadow, Black Bell or Dusky. Large-fruited hybrids are Santana or Classic.
  • All-American Selections (AAS) are Fairy Tale and Hansel.
  • Large, open-pollinated varieties that hold fruit high above the ground are Florida Highbush and Black Beauty.
  • Green eggplants produce fruits that are oval, cylindrical or long, depending on the selection. The green-skinned fruit generally resist the bitterness that summer heat can bring. An example is LA Long Green.
  • Oriental types are long and thin, like Ichiban.
  • White culinary eggplants that are medium and cylindrical are Casper and Ghostbuster.

    See pdf for more details.
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