Eggplants began to be cultivated in India, Central Asia, the Russian climate is considered too cold for this southern culture. But, despite the fact that eggplants were brought to Russia only at the end of the nineteenth century, they are already grown everywhere with great success, even summer residents from Siberia can boast a good harvest of blue ones.
How to grow eggplants in a temperate climate of the middle zone, and will be discussed in this article. Particular attention should be paid to transplanting eggplant seedlings, since it is at this stage that inexperienced gardeners "lose" a large number of seedlings.
What is the peculiarity of eggplants
It is believed that growing eggplants in the dacha, or even in a greenhouse, is somewhat more difficult than coping with other crops, such as cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers.
There are several reasons for this:
- For many plants, the optimum temperature of the soil is 12 degrees. Whereas for eggplants, for normal development, the earth is needed, warmed to +18 centigrade.
- No less important is the temperature of the day and night. First, there should be no sudden changes in daily temperature. Secondly, eggplants love a warmer climate, for them the optimal range is from +18 to +26 degrees.
- Frosts are not at all permissible for eggplant - the plants will simply die.
- When the temperature drops to +13 degrees, the bushes of eggplants shed ovaries, flowers and leaves.
- It is much safer to grow eggplants in greenhouses, or at least use film temporary shelters for fragile seedlings.
- Eggplant does not like shade, this plant needs the maximum amount of sunlight.
- Planting should not be thickened, it is also impossible to plant eggplants near other tall plants or fences, fences - the culture needs space and air, the leaves should be well ventilated.
An important factor is the long growing season of eggplant. If in warm countries this crop can develop normally in the soil and be grown from seeds, then in the temperate climate of Russia, eggplants are planted only in seedlings, giving preference to greenhouse plantings.
Important! The growing season of eggplant ranges from 100 to 150 days. For the domestic climate, early-maturing varieties are more suitable, where fruits ripen in 100-120 days.
How to grow eggplant
So, to grow eggplants in Russia, you have to do the preparation of seedlings. The first thing to do is to calculate the seed time. To do this, you need to know the ripening period of the fruit, this information is easy to find on the package with seed material.
The second factor - in the ground or greenhouse seedlings are planted, usually at the age of 70-75 days.
If we consider that in most regions of the country, the land in the beds will warm up to the required 18 degrees only by the end of May - the beginning of June, it is possible to determine the optimal date for sowing eggplant seeds - the end of February - the beginning of March.Attention! In unheated greenhouses, eggplant seedlings are planted earlier - around mid-April. Therefore, the seeds need to be sown a month and a half earlier, approximately in January.
If the cottage or garden is located in a cold region, where stable temperatures are rare, it is better not to risk it and plant eggplants in the greenhouse.
It can be a heated capital construction, glass, film or greenhouse made of polycarbonate, heated by sunlight, or at least a temporary shelter made of dense polyethylene or special agrofibre.
Having decided on the method of landing, you can proceed to the next stage.
Preparing a place for eggplant seedlings
This step depends largely on where the seedlings will be planted. If it is a greenhouse, the soil in it will begin to be cooked about three weeks before the intended planting of the eggplants. Plots of open ground need to be prepared for the "reception" of eggplant in the fall.
First of all choose a suitable site. This must be a place:
- constantly illuminated by the sun;
- protected from drafts and strong winds;
- located on a hill or on level ground;
- with light, fertile soil;
- where greens, potatoes, beets, carrots, beans or peas grew in the current season.
It is clear that not all the dacha plots of Russia are located on loamy soils. This is not scary - the composition of the soil can be "adjusted" to meet the requirements of eggplant:
- to increase soil moisture capacity will help rotten sawdust, peat or pulp manure (these supplements contribute at the rate of two buckets per square meter of land);
- too dense clay lands are loosened with half-rotted sawdust, coarse-grained river sand, peat, or rotten compost;
- soils with sandy composition diluted with peat, compost, sawdust;
- The prevalence of peat in the ground can be “softened” with turf soil and compost.
When the soil on the site is "balanced", and its composition is close to ideal, you can begin to apply fertilizer. Urea, wood ash, superphosphate or potassium sulphate is used in this quality. The required amount of nutrients is applied to the soil, after which the area is dug at least 30 cm.
In the spring, best after rain, when the earth is wet, the site is re-dug up and all weeds, roots and excess garbage are removed.
For seedlings of eggplants, you need to make high enough beds - the optimum height is about 30 cm. The distance between the rows should be at least 90-100 cm. It is best to plant the eggplants in a staggered manner - this way the seedlings will get more air and light, and it will also be easier look after.Attention! You should not plant the blue ones on the place where tomatoes, Physalis, tobacco or Bulgarian pepper grew in the past season.
Before sowing seedlings, you must select seed. The best eggplant seeds are those that are two or three years old. Last year's seeds are better not to use, they give poor germination, besides, the germination of such seeds is twice as large as, for example, two-year seeds.
Selected eggplant seeds need to germinate. For this it is better to take cotton wool or cosmetic cotton pads. It is not recommended to use cheesecloth, as in its “cells” tender sprouts can get stuck and be damaged.
Eggplant seeds are laid out on a cotton pad, which is well moistened with warm water. Best of all, for these purposes, use rain or melt water - this will accelerate the process of "spitting" sprouts.
Cotton pads should be constantly wet, every day they must be further wetted. After 5-6 days, eggplant seeds should swell, resulting in fragile sprouts.
Seeds are collected and placed for several hours in a container with a solution of manganese or in a thermos with well hot, but not boiling, water. This step contributes to the decontamination of seed, which subsequently will help the seedlings to resist diseases.
Now is the time to prepare the containers and soil for seedlings. At this stage, it is necessary to take into account the utmost fragility of the root system of eggplants - these plants do not like transplant very much and do not tolerate it well. In order to minimize the stress on eggplant, it is recommended to sow their seeds immediately in individual containers. However, this is not always convenient, for example, when there will be a lot of seedlings, or the gardener has not yet managed to purchase small containers.
Peat cups are considered to be the best container for blue seedlings. These containers are 70% peat, which is always recommended to add to the soil for this crop. The remaining 30% is cardboard, which also easily decomposes in the soil in 30 days, without causing any harm to its composition.
The ground for eggplant seedlings should be:
- compost, sand and turf soil;
- peat, commercial mix for seedlings, sand;
- manure, turfy land, compost;
- peat compost
Any of these formulations are great for growing eggplant seedlings. About two-thirds of the capacity is filled with soil, a small depression is made and watered with warm water.
A seed is put into each notch and sprinkled with a thin layer of soil. No need to compact the soil in the cup, the seeds must have access to oxygen. The containers are covered with glass or polyethylene and placed in a warm room, the temperature of which is constantly at the level of 25-26 degrees.
After half of the seedlings appear, the film or glass needs to be removed, otherwise the seedlings will rot and spoil. All seeds must germinate no later than two weeks after planting.
Tip! In individual tanks, as a rule, planted in two seeds. After two leaves appear on the seedlings, a stronger seedling should be selected from them, and the second one should be removed, neatly cut at the root with scissors.
Eggplant Seed Transplant
If the picking of a seedling cannot be avoided (for example, the weather fails, there is no stable heat for a long time, and the seedlings already “outgrow” the capacity), then this should be done with the utmost care.
A few hours before picking, seedlings are poured with plenty of water. Carry eggplant seedlings need with an earthy lump, trying not to damage the stem and seedlings roots. Blue dive bikes should take root in a new place, they should not be watered for about 5-7 days. But after this period, it is recommended to feed the seedlings with organic or mineral fertilizer and more frequent watering.
Before planting in a greenhouse or open ground seedlings must be hardened. To do this, eggplant every day for several hours carried out into the open air. The time of "walking" seedlings should increase gradually - from 10 minutes to 2-3 hours. Seedlings are placed on the leeward side where the sun shines.
Transfer eggplant seedlings to the ground
On the day of transplantation, beds are prepared for blue ones. These should be high ridges with wide aisles between them. The planting scheme for seedlings of eggplants is as follows: 40-45x90-100 cm, that is, there should be no more than three plants per square meter of land.
Eggplant transplants usually take place at the beginning of summer when the weather returns to normal. On the prepared beds make indentations about 15-20 cm deep.Attention! At the time of transplantation, seedlings should be about 30-35 cm in height, on each stalk - from 7 to 10 true leaves.
The wells for the seedlings are watered with water, 1-3 liters of warm water are poured into each of them. Transfer the seedlings to a lump of earth, and better, together with a disposable peat cup. The stem is always deepened stronger than it was deepened before. It is better to close the ground stalk seedlings to the level of the lower leaves.
If the seedlings are transferred to the greenhouse, the whole earth between the bushes must be moistened with a spray bottle - eggplants like increased humidity.
After 10 days, the transplanted eggplant must be fertilized, for this you can use any fertilizer (mineral or organic) or their complex.
In general, blue ones should be fertilized often: after the second, fifth, seventh and tenth leaves (during the development of seedlings) and another three times during the flowering period, the formation of ovaries and fruit ripening.
Features care for eggplant
We can say that eggplant is not a vegetable for every summer resident. Only those who can pay enough attention to their garden can rely on the harvest of this whimsical and thermophilic plant.
After the seedlings are planted in the garden, a gardener needs to regularly:
- Water the eggplants, as they are very fond of moisture.
- Help pollinate flowers, if the natural conditions in the greenhouse or on the site for this is not enough.
- Fertilize seedlings several times a season.
- To form plants, pinching the top and side shoots, tearing off excess flowers, deformed fruits, removing dried or infected leaves.
- Time to pick eggplants in the stage of technical maturity. If you wait for the full ripening of the fruit, you can significantly reduce the overall yield of the bush.
- Monitor the condition of the leaves and fruits, as the blue ones are a “tidbit” for many insects and diseases. If necessary, spray the bushes with special solutions.
- Loosen the beds at least five times over the summer, trying not to damage the roots close to the surface.
Transplanting eggplant seedlings is more difficult than doing the same procedure with seedlings of other plants. This culture is very pretentious and capricious, all stages of growing blue ones require maximum return from the gardener. Therefore, eggplants are not suitable for those summer residents who do not have the time or the opportunity to pay attention to their garden every day.