Growing Brinjal / Eggplant / Aubergines in Pots
The Brinjal / Egg plants / Aubergines grows very easily and is a very low maintenance vegetable to cultivate. Brinjal fruit is a great source of iodine and is recommended by many physicians. Due to its not so deep root system, brinjal can be grown in container easily. Below are the tips for growing brinjal at home. In Hindi it is called as ‘Baingan’.
The best option may be to start your own eggplant seedlings from seed. Brinjal can be started from march to June. Sow seeds in seedling trays or small plastic container to make transfer of seedlings easier into larger pots later on. Use a watering can to water the brinjals seeds thoroughly after sowing. Brinjals seeds take about ten to fourteen days to germinate. After germination the brinjal seedlings will require a further five weeks in the seed trays before they can be transplanted. In those five weeks the brinjals seedlings would have grown as high as the knuckle of your index finger. At this stage the brinjal seedlings is ideal candidates for transplanting into a garden bed or even a container, depending on where you plan on cultivating your brinjals.Plant the brinjal seedlings slightly deeper than it stood in the seedbed or seed tray where you are transplanting them from. Buy high quality vegetable seeds with 80% germination rate.
Container / Pot
Choose a large pot to house your mature eggplant. The pot must have a 5-gallon (20-liter) capacity, at minimum, and each eggplant should have approximately 1 foot (30.5 centimeters) of space to grow. As a result, you may wish to plant only one eggplant per pot.
Opt for a clay pot. Eggplants love heat, and clay pots retain heat better than plastic. Select an unglazed pot if you can remember to water your plants frequently, but go with a glazed pot if you have a history of forgetting to water your plants. Unglazed pots dry the soil out more quickly than glazed pots, so eggplants living in unglazed pots will need more frequent watering. Clay pots are also heavier than plastic pots, making it easier for them to support the weight of a mature eggplant.
Read Also : How to grow Spinach / Palak in container at home.
Read Also : Vegetable sowing chart
The pot should also have large drainage holes to help balance out the moisture level of the soil. Drainage holes will allow excess water to leave the pot, minimizing the risk of root rot.
Brinjal grows best in well drained clay loam, silt loam or loamy soil. Soil should be loosely placed into the containers, but it should not be compressed.
Sun / Temperature
As it is a warm season crop, so it would require a good amount of heat and sun exposure. Set the pots or trays out on a warm, sunny windowsill. Choose a window in full sun, meaning one that receives direct sunlight for at least 8 hours a day. Full sun provides enough light and warmth to spur growth.
Add a liquid fertilizer once every one or two weeks. Use a water soluble fertilizer and water your eggplant before adding it to the soil, rather than adding it to dry soil. Follow the directions on the back of the label to determine an appropriate amount. If the leaves of your eggplant begin to pale, you may need to add more fertilizer. A boost of 5-10-5 fertilizer should help significantly if a lack of nutrition is your plant’s only problem. A fertilizer with a higher number, meaning a higher percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, may prove too strong.
Also you can use liquid manure or compost tea every three weeks during their growing season.
Most seedling pests can be controlled organically with insecticidal soap. If you’re concerned about damping off, try watering your eggplant seedlings regularly (about once per week) with a chamomile tea solution. Keep an eye for pests. Cutworms are one of the most common pests that attack eggplants, but they can usually be driven away by placing a cutworm collar over the plant. You may also consider an organic pesticide to drive away cutworms and many other pests.
Always use secateurs to cut off the brinjals when harvesting. The brinjals can be harvested when the fruits are still glossy. Do handle your home-grown brinjals with care as they bruise easily. Once picked, the fruit should not be stored too long. The brinjal fruits do not have to be fully grown to harvest. Test the brinjal with your finger and if it gives just a little and it has filled in good and is shiny, then by all means, you may harvest your brinjals. Usually after about three months or twelve weeks harvest the brinjals regularly. The more you harvest brinjals the sooner more fruit-bearing flowers will develop. The young plants provide the most bountiful crop.
Brinjals, Egg plants or Aubergines way too small when matured
Snip out the growth points and the excess of the flowers that forms to produce quality brinjals instead of quantity.
Brinjals, Egg plants or Aubergines not available long enough
You may harvest brinjals anytime (depending on the weather conditions and consequent growth) from the twelfth week after transplanting them. Harvesting can occur over several weeks. However do not wait too long to harvest else the brinjals may become overripe and bitter.
Brinjals, Egg plants or Aubergines too few
Brinjals should preferably be planted as an annual as the new plants are the best performers when it comes to providing many fruits. You plants may be a bit too old to be prolific providers.
Read Also : How to grow chilli in pots.
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