How To Grow Eggplant

Plant Type: Annual
Scientific Name: Solanum melongena var. esculentum
Light: Full sun
Soil Type: Well drained loam
Soil Temperature: 70°
ph Range: 6.0 – 6.8
Watering: Never allow to dry
Plant (Payson): May 15
Planting Method: Seed or transplant
Germination (days): 8 – 10
Transplanting: when soil and air temperatures are warm
Maturity (days): 85 – 150
Common Pests: Flea beetles, tomato hornworm, red spider mites, striped Colorado potato beetle
Common Diseases: Verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, fruitrot, tobacco mosaic

Eggplant is native to tropical Asia. It requires both heat and moisture to thrive. A purple black shiny vegetable, it has a mild flavor and is sometimes served in place of meat. Eggplant is in the Nightshade family along with tomatoes, potatoes and peppers and should not be planted in the same spots each year.

Add ample compost and rotted manure to the planting bed and till in
to produce a loose, rich planting medium.



Eggplant can be purchased at nursery centers and is ready to go into the garden when soil and air temperatures are 70° F or more. Place seedlings 18-24 inches apart. Water with alfalfa tea if available, or manure tea.


Seeds should be planted indoors 6-8 weeks before the expected last frost date. Do not place outdoors until all danger of frost is past. Soak seeds overnight, then sow ¼ inch deep in fine seed starting mix. They have to have a soil temp between 80°-90° F to germinate. Keep transplanting into bigger containers as needed until the outdoor soil and air temps are 70° F or above.

eggplant seeds


Eggplant likes it hot. Black plastic mulch is recommended for early season planting to keep soil warm.


Keep the soil evenly moist. Don’t allow it to dry out.


When planting place a bit of Glenn’s elixir in the planting hole and water in with alfalfa tea or manure tea. When blooms begin and monthly, fertilize with alfalfa tea or a side dressing of Glenn’s Magic.


The black plastic should discourage weed growth. If some weeds do sprout, remove them right away.


Verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, tobacco mosaic, anthracnose, fruit rot


Flea beetles, striped Colorado potato beetle, tomato hornworms, spider mites


Eggplants turn shiny when ready to pick. Check for ripeness by pressing the skin. If it springs back, the fruit is not ready. Young fruit is best as it has smaller seeds and firmer flesh.


Eggplant will keep for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. It is great when peeled, sliced, dipped in egg batter and sautéed in olive oil. Drying or freezing slices work also.

 Helpful Links

To aid in your gardening success, here are some useful, trusted links for more information on eggplant.

8 Tips for Growing Eggplant - Growing in the Garden

Eggplant Seed Preparation: Tips for Growing Eggplant Seeds - Gardening Know How

8 Eggplant Growing Mistakes to Avoid (and Solutions) - Gardening Channel

Please remember Payson Community Garden is an organic garden. Some of these sites may contain recommendations for non-organic products. Please see this website or Plant Fair Nursery website for a list of recommended products
that meet the organic standards of Payson Community Garden.

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