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Is my eggplant ripe?

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
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by cookinmom on June 06, 2006 07:54 AM
I need help again! I have an eggplant on my plant, and it's kind of big. It doesn't seem to be getting any larger, so I think it's done with that part. The variety is Black Beauty, so I'm assuming it will be really dark when it's ready to pick(?) It seems like it was darker when it was newer though. I think the color is getting lighter. But there is a little bit of greenish color around where the blossom was.

When should I pick it? [Roll Eyes]

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Real women don't have hot flashes -- we have power surges!
by shanbear on June 06, 2006 09:44 AM
Good Afternoon! [flower]

A Black Beauty Eggplant will be ripe when it is large and glossy with deep purple skin. The typical crop time for this plant is approximately 85 days. When harvesting the eggplant, it should be plump and firm. Cut the eggplant from the stem.

Your concern is the discolouration your eggplant is showing... it would be best if I could see a picture to best determined, but without a pic, I would think it close to being ripe, maybe hold off a bit longer until the green turns to purple. Often I have seen Black Beauty Eggplants start off the deep purple colour when small but as they grew to the appropriate size, they changed colour (often to a yellowish colour) When this happens, it may in fact be overmature. And if so, it will be bitter. If your plant isn't show any other signs of discolouration other than a bit of green- and definitely not the yellowish' stated above, I would think it is still growing.

Oh' and for future harvesting... Eggplants are often picked when smaller in size (with the proper colouration) to encourage more fruits for future growths. Typically you can expect to see up to 6 to 12 fruits on each plant. Picking all fruits when ripe (not waiting to see if it gets any bigger) helps to increase yeilds.

Mmmmm Eggplant [Smile] Let me know what you do!

Sincerely,
Shanbear
by shanbear on June 06, 2006 09:47 AM
May I see a picture of your eggplant?
by shanbear on June 06, 2006 09:48 AM
Oops. It's a Monday, sorry- didn't mean to click the post button. (*LOL!*) [Big Grin]
by Deborah L. on June 06, 2006 11:20 AM
Shanbear, I liked your post since I was wondering about eggplant too.
Thanks for such great detailed info ! [thumb]

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by cookinmom on June 06, 2006 01:46 PM
Thanks for all the good info! It's definitely not yellowish, but it is VERY fat. I probably should have already picked it. It came from a really huge flower. None of the flowers since have been as big and none of them have set fruit either.
I can't send a picture though. My daughter is out of town with the digital camera.
I think I will pick it and eat it!
I'll let y'all know how it was, and if it's good, I'll think about all you fried-eggplant-lovers out there while I eat it! The rest of the family would rather have their arms broken than eat eggplant, so no sharing...
[tears]

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Real women don't have hot flashes -- we have power surges!
by lakegran on June 07, 2006 01:37 AM
OOOH I am sooo jealous. I love eggplant. I had my first garden last year and had one plant ( which produced about a dozen ) I picked them a little on the small side, I couldn't wait on the first one. It turned out to be a perfect size for the grill and was nice and firm and yummy, so I just kept on picking at that size. It seemed that as soon as I picked one the next one began to grow, 2 or 3 at differant stages of growth on the same plant. They were 6 to 8 in. long and the bottems were about the size of a tennis ball. This year I planted Japanese eggplant too, Good luck with yours. [clappy]

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by shanbear on June 07, 2006 11:24 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Deborah L.:
Shanbear, I liked your post since I was wondering about eggplant too.
Thanks for such great detailed info ! [thumb]

[thumb] Thanks, Deborah! I got into the whole eggplant thing a while back when I first tried one grown by a friend- it was wonderful! Since then, I've done a lot of research and have grown my own. Are you growing some on your own? If not, you'll have fun doing so, it has so much character when growing. If so, enjoy! And I hope some of my thoughts helped!

Take Care & Happy Eggplanting! [wavey]
by Deborah L. on June 07, 2006 11:31 AM
I'm thinking about getting just one plant, I'm a container gardener.
I had one with blossoms, and when I was outside, saw one of my wild rabbits sitting next to the eggplant, which was stripped bare.
She was wearing a cute expression, like, "Hey, what's the problem?"
I laughed and said that I could spare a friend some salad.
Next time I'll plant one in a pot that I can set up high on a fence post. Which will probably make good bird food.... argh.... !

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by shanbear on June 07, 2006 11:32 AM
quote:
Originally posted by cookinmom:
Thanks for all the good info! It's definitely not yellowish, but it is VERY fat. I probably should have already picked it.
[Smile] The more I read as you wrote your last post the more I thought it was time to pick! Sometimes a little green happens- amount of sunlight is a huge factor. Othertimes it seems as if Eggplant has a mind of it's own and just does what it wants to do! [nutz]

MMmmmmm enjoy your Eggplant though! And that's GOOD that you don't have to share. *GOBBLE* The more for you! [Wink]

Remember, the more often you pick, the more that will grow!

Sincerely,
Shanbear
by shanbear on June 07, 2006 11:36 AM
quote:
Originally posted by lakegran:
OOOH I am sooo jealous. I love eggplant. I had my first garden last year and had one plant ( which produced about a dozen ) I picked them a little on the small side, I couldn't wait on the first one. It turned out to be a perfect size for the grill and was nice and firm and yummy, so I just kept on picking at that size. It seemed that as soon as I picked one the next one began to grow, 2 or 3 at differant stages of growth on the same plant. They were 6 to 8 in. long and the bottems were about the size of a tennis ball.
Lakegran:

[grin] This is exactly what Eggplant does- it seriously has a mind of it's own! "2-3 different stages of growth on the same plant" that's what I mean by character! I think Eggplant is a lot of fun to grow because it mixes it up a little. Plus, their yummy! [thumb]

Happy Growing! You seem like you're on a roll!
by shanbear on June 07, 2006 11:46 AM
Deborah!

Lol. Thanks, a laugh is always good! I have Jack Rabbits where I'm from- they are seriously the size of small dogs (think a Miniature Schnauzer size) And if you see them eating your garden, they look at you and keep munching! It's like their grinning thinking "so... want a bite too?" It's funny. I've lost quite a few plants to this. [Big Grin] Their cute though!

I think high up on your fence might work.... Hmmmm.... can you give me a day to post and I'll come back tomorrow with a few suggestions on where to grow your Eggplant. (Container wise.) I know a few ways but I just want to double check.

As for only buying one plant- good idea. Some plants grow up to 12 eggplants so you'll have plenty! [thumb]

Take Care & I'll See You Tomorrow!
by Deborah L. on June 07, 2006 04:07 PM
That'll be great, Shanbear !

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by shanbear on June 08, 2006 10:14 AM
Good Afternoon, Deborah: [flower]

Thank you for being patient! Yesterday was a busy day. Here is some info that I've collected for my own records the last couple of years. Please forgive me if you know some of this information already:

Vegetable Gardening in Containers

A window sill, a patio, a balcony, raised on a fence, or a doorstep will provide sufficient space for a productive container mini-garden.

Almost any vegetable that will grow in a typical backyard garden will also do well as a container-grown plant. Vegetables which are ideally suited for growing in containers include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green onions, beans, lettuce, squash, radishes and parsley. Pole beans and cucumbers also do well in this type of garden, but they do require considerably more space because of their vining growth habit. These are recommended to been grown near a fence or to have a "cage" built around them.

Specific eggplants that are ideal for growing in containers are as follows: "Florida Market, Black Beauty, & Long Tom". Deborah, depending on which varity of eggplant you prefer the taste of, I would definitely select one of the above mentioned because they are the best to grow in containers. Also, further to yesterdays conversation, selecting just one plant can produce serveral eggplants so you'll have more than enough!

For growing eggplants, tomatoes, and peppers, a 5-gallon container would be the most suitable size.

Regardless of the type or size of container used, adequate drainage is a necessity for successful yields. It is advisable to add about 1 inch of coarse gravel in the bottom of the container to improve drainage. The drain holes are best located along the side of the container, about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch from the bottom. (*Mmmmm Eggplant*) [grin]

Let There Be Light...

Nearly all vegetable plants will grow better in full sunlight than in shade. However, leafy crops such as lettuce, cabbage, greens, spinach and parsley can tolerate more shade than root crops such as radishes, beets, turnips and onions. The root vegetables can stand more shade than those which bear fruit, such as cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and eggplant. One advantage to container gardening is mobility. Container gardening makes it possible to position the vegetables in areas where they can receive the best possible growing conditions.

Some specifics about eggplant:

  • Eggplant will take about 8-12 day to germinate.


  • Amount of time for optimum
    age for transplanting is about 6-8 weeks.


  • Remember, using a 5-gallon or similar (Large) container size is best suited for eggplant.


  • Eggplants like sun! [grin] Ideally an eggplant would LOVE 5 full hours of direct sunlight each day... and they would think it was wonderfully greedy if they actually got a full 8-10 hours a day! [Big Grin]


  • Approximate number of days from seeding to harvest... 85- 120 days.


Your concern, Deborah was that you have little tiny bunnies that love to eat your plants... a concern on the fence might be birds...

A few things I would suggest would be (if you have a back yard- I'm not quite sure by your posts) is to have the container with your eggplant raised a bit off the ground; like ontop of a box or crate. High enough up from the rabbits. I really don't think that birds would be too attracted to eggplant if it were planted on the fence - I've yet to have this problem. But if you see them starting to fly around, (whether your container is on the fence, raised above the ground... or anywhwere for that matter) you may want to consider caging it in. Not too pretty of a sight but if you just want to eat your yummy eggplant, this might be a solution.

My ideal suggestion would be for you to plant one (1) Eggplant raised just above the ground (if you have the room, if not, place on a fence.) This will keep the bunnies away for sure. You'll have to monitor to find out if birds become a problem. While I don't think they will, you're in a different location than me so you never know! If birds do become a problem, I would cage. Again, not too visually stimulating but it might be worth it that very first bite!

I hope I helped, Deborah! Please feel free to PM me if you ever want more help or a problem arises! I'll for sure lend a hand! [thumb]

Take Care & Let Me Know What Happens! I'd Love To Find Out! [wavey]

Sincerely,
Shanbear
by Deborah L. on June 08, 2006 04:53 PM
Shanbear ! What a fabulous post ! Thanks for all the great info !
I think the way to do this and still get some fruit, is like you suggest, up high but not too high.
I'd freak out to have eggplants on the plant !
Is eggplant something that could be eaten raw, like chopped in salad?

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by cookinmom on June 09, 2006 07:16 AM
Well, my eggplant has been consumed... by me! I definitely left it on the plant too long; the seeds were kind of hard, and didn't really soften up much during cooking. And the flesh was kind of green, so it looked unripe, but I know those seeds would have been softer sooner. It's kind of like it was going in reverse!

But, most importantly, it was delicious. I fried it up last night and ate a couple pieces then, and made rest into E. Parmesan for lunch.

There are more blooms on the plant now, so hopefully some will set fruit, and this time I'll pick them when they're smaller.

Thanks for all the wonderful eggplant info y'all!!!

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Real women don't have hot flashes -- we have power surges!
by shanbear on June 09, 2006 09:13 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Deborah L.:
Is eggplant something that could be eaten raw, like chopped in salad?
Good Afternoon, Deborah:

I love our little chats! It's nice to see your reply when I come here in the afternoons! [Smile]

As for eating eggplant raw, you just wouldn’t want to. It doesn’t taste good & the mushy texture is even worse when raw. A Did You Know Fact... [critic] Uncooked eggplant contains solanine; a toxin that can cause gastrointestinal difficulties. [shocked] Ewww! [Razz] And just not worth it!

Wait until it's ripe... only then can you truly enjoy it. If you would like to know some wonderful recipes however, I'll be more than happy to share!

Until next time! [wavey]

Sincerely,
Shanbear
by shanbear on June 09, 2006 09:20 AM
Valerie!

I'm happy it tasted good for the most part! Eggplant can be tricky if you don't watch it... like said in a previous post, the amount of sunlight is a HUGE factor. If it didn't get it's minimun 5 hours a day of direct sunlight, stuff like green spots happen. Picking on the smaller side is just smart; you're making sure the fruit will be the tastiest plus more growth in the future... nothing but good can happen. Thank you for posting your orginal post, I think a lot of people learned from it!

Take care & keep in touch ok?!

[wavey] Shanbear [wavey]

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