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June 2, 2010 / Malcolm Dalebö

Discover Aubergines

  • The eggplant, aubergine, melongene or brinjal (Solanum melongena) is a plant of the family Solanaceae (also known as the nightshades) and genus Solanum. 
  • Aubergine bears a fruit of the same name, commonly used as a vegetable in cooking. 
  • As a nightshade, it is closely related to the tomato and potato and is native to Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
  • Aubergines need light, sunshine and a long growing season to be fully successful in the UK.
  • The southern regions are probably best suited for growing Aubergines, but Aubergines are being increasingly grown well ‘up North’ as the climatic changes dance around the country!
  • Aubergines are a little slower growing than their near relatives the Tomatoes & Peppers.
  • The key point is to start them off with some heat and then either transplant out (after all danger of frost) or grow on in a greenhouse/polytunnel (depending on your local climate).
  • Grow your Aubergines in a sheltered sunny position – against fence or wall is good.
  • Start them from seed early – in a heated propagator or elsewhere indoors. Late February to early March. Consider buying young plants of Aubergines if not, in April/May from the garden centre nursery.
  • Harden them off well before planting out after all frosts are finished.
  • Pinch out the top of the plants once they have got to 15in tall. This will turn them into bushy plants.
  • Feed your Aubergine plants well with Tomato Fertiliser throughout the growing season – but not after end of August.
  • Look out for greenfly and whitefly.
  • Look up some Aubergine recipes – they are more versatile than many realised!
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