Brinjals (also known as eggplants or aubergine) is one of the easiest plants to grow in your garden with the added bonus of being a high producer. Just follow these easy tips and you’ll soon have a garden full of the gorgeous glossy vegetables!
- Brinjals love hot weather while cold and wind can slow growth. So choose a spot in your garden that receives lots of sunshine and is protected from wind. Avoid the rainy season and if the night gets too cool, cover the plants with a bucket to protect them.
- Brinjal needs lots of calcium to grow properly. So, it is advisable to add lime to the soil before planting. The soil should also be well-drained and well-composted/well-manured.
- Sow seeds shallowly in soil about 1 ½ feet apart from each other to give them space to grow. If you are using seedlings, add a shovelful of compost or manure into the hole before setting the plant in.
- Set in stakes to keep the fruits off the ground and avoid rot and disease.
- Although brinjals do not suffer from many diseases, take steps to keep them pest-free! Place a paper collar around each plant to keep away cutworms.
- Fertilise. Spray plants with compost tea or fish emulsion three weeks after transplanting and side-dress (add fertiliser to the soil beside a plant) monthly with a balanced organic liquid fertilizer.
- Brinjals need about an inch of water a week but do take into consideration the amount of rainfall you’re getting. Too much water can cause root rot.
- Remember to mulch as this prevents evaporation and soil erosion. Mulching also prevents weeds from growing and competing for nutrients with the brinjals.
- Weed regularly but do not dig too deeply as brinjals have a shallow root system.
- Brinjals take about 55 – 70 days to mature. Start picking as soon as the first fruit reaches a desirable size and continue to harvest to encourage more fruit to grow. Leave them on the stem for too long and they get brown and hard.
- Practice good gardening by rotating your crops. Avoid planting tomatoes or bell peppers (capsicums) because they come from the same family as brinjals.
Now enjoy the fruits of your labour! Grill them with some salt and pepper, stir-fry with some Szechuan sauce or make a vegetable lasagna with some tomatoes and peppers.
Things you may not know about the brinjal: 1. It is actually officially classified as a berry 2. Brinjals come in a variety of colours including white, pink, lavender and violet! 3. Salting eggplant will reduce the amount of oil absorbed in cooking.