Monday, May 14, 2012

Best for Containers- Eggplants

Eggplants in containers? You’ve got to be kidding me!” These, if memory serves me right, are the exact words I uttered when I'd first heard the idea of growing eggplants in containers. I’d chanced upon one of my not too friendly neighbors while out for a jog and had struck a conversation about vegetable gardening. I figured he was just pulling my leg or trying to slow me down- he was struggling to keep up with me. God! I was wrong! After having debated the subject for almost half an hour, I expressed my eagerness to check out his container garden. Hard as I’ve tried, I have, to this day, been unable to forget the disturbing, triumphant guffaw he’d let out as I gaped at that astonishing sight- gorgeous eggplants growing in a 3 gallon container!

It wasn’t too long before I took up the challenge myself. And to be honest, growing eggplants in a container turned out to be a surprisingly simple activity. Here’s an account of my own little success story.

I started eggplant seeds indoors about 8 weeks from the last frost date. I filled the tray with sterile potting mix and planted the seeds. Eggplant seeds should be planted shallow, with no more than ¼ inch of soil covering them. I covered the tray with a plastic sheet and placed it on top of the refrigerator. My main focus was on keeping the soil moist at all times. The seedlings emerged within 2 weeks of planting and I heaved a sigh of relief. I removed the plastic and moved the tray to a sunny window. I started fertilizing eggplants right after they developed a couple of pairs of leaves. I used a 5-10-10 fertilizer and decided to feed the plants every week. It turned out to be the right strategy- the seedlings were soon big enough to be moved to individual containers. I picked 5 gallon containers for my eggplants, spread them along the sunlit sidewalk and irrigated them on a regular basis.  

Growing eggplants from seed is a rewarding process, even for those with a limited growing space. Give it a go!