Here is the detailed information on how to grow black beauty eggplant and capsicum at home, in your garden. You will also find the dietary and nutritional value of eggplants, which will motivate you more about this plant.
Whether you have experience growing vegetables or simply love the idea of trying your hand at a home garden, growing eggplants can be a very rewarding experience! Eggplant is a delicious vegetable that is part of the nightshade family.
Yes, we frequently associate the terms “deadly” with “nightshade,” and this is because the leaves and blooms of plants in the nightshade family are frequently toxic.
Therefore it’s important to remember that you can only use the “fruit” from the plant, which is the eggplant, as you would purchase it in a store.
Eggplant seeds should be planted in the early spring. A good time to shoot for would be after the ground has had a chance to warm up and there are no more chances of frost. This is because it allows your seeds to take root and become sturdy before the fruiting season comes along.
If you are a first-time vegetable planter, you may want to germinate your seeds indoors about eight weeks before the last frost. Basically, you need a small pot—about four inches big—for each seed. Plant the seeds about half an inch into the soil and add a bit of water. Place this on a window sill or another area where the seed will get plenty of sunlight.
After about a few weeks, you should notice a sturdy little seedling popping up from the soil. You can now transplant this into its permanent place in the garden.
To begin your eggplant patch, you will need to pick an appropriate planting spot in your garden, which I explained in more detail below.
When choosing this spot, you must bear in mind that eggplants and capsicums have to have full sunlight, or they simply won’t thrive. Any spot that gets about eight hours of full sun (meaning no shady plants or structures nearby to block the sun) would do well.
The size of the area is another thing to take into consideration. Each eggplant seedling should be spaced a minimum of 18 inches apart from one another. If you want to plant them in rows, the rows need to be spaced at least two feet apart. Be prepared to mix fertilizer or compost with the dirt as you’re tilling and planting your eggplant patch.
A good ratio to shoot for is about 20% manure/compost to 80% soil.
It is not necessary to put the seedlings too deeply in the earth. It’s OK to use just enough dirt to cover the roots. Give the seedlings a little water once they’ve been transferred, and then let them grow.
Research the many types of eggplant before deciding which to plant since some of the wider varieties may require a stake to provide support as they mature. You may want to add a little mulch to the top of the soil to help keep soil in. This isn’t a necessity, but it can be useful in areas that get quite warm or are prone to drought.
Harvesting is undoubtedly the best part of growing your own crops. After about sixty days, you should notice the fruit popping up on your eggplants.
Most people like to select eggplants when they are approximately one-third of their potential size since they are the tastiest when they are young. It’s entirely up to you when you pick your eggplant fruit. When the fruit’s “skin” becomes glossy, it’s usually ready to be plucked.
You’ve waited too long to pluck the fruit if the skin has become brown. Take note of how many eggplants you planted and whether the harvest was too large or not enough for your family.
This will help you make adequate changes when growing eggplants in the future so that you end up with just the right amount of eggplants for your family.
Finding the best location for eggplant and capsicum
Eggplant and capsicum are warm-season plants, and because you grow them for the fruit, they need lots of suns to grow well. Study your growing spaces to be sure your eggplant and capsicum patch gets the most sunlight possible.
You can warm up your growing spaces by planting in a northern orientation and against a south-facing light-colored wall. If you have a balcony only and are growing in pots, you may need to move the growing containers at certain times to maximize the sun.
Make sure your growing area gets good airflow, as mold can be an issue for capsicums.
If you are using pots, have a reasonable size pot to support the plants growing into bushes and giving space for you to plant some useful companions around them in the pots. With garden beds, each plant needs about 0.8m diameters, and the plants should not touch each other.
I normally have garden beds about 0.8-1m width and will plant them in a zigzag pattern along the bed as this increases the number of plants you can put in the bed and also creates more usable space for companion plants. Depending on the varieties, eggplants can be from 0.4m to 1.5m high and capsicums up to 1m tall.
Best to have separate beds for each main crop, thus 1 bed for capsicums and 1 bed for eggplants; however, if you choose to grow only 1 or 2 of each plant, then dot them within your beds of other plants, see Companions and crop rotation below for extra tips.
Eggplants and capsicums prefer soil that tends to be a sandy loam with a reasonable balance of organic matter and a PH range of 5.5-7. Wood ash in the soil is very helpful as its potassium promotes healthy root development, so be sure to use this before planting.
Other things are diluted liquid manures in preparing the soil before planting, such as comfrey tea and cow manure tea. Diluted chicken manure tea helps with flowering and fruiting as it adds phosphorous to the soil.
Once the plants are growing, you can stimulate healthy leaf growth using soil additives; I tend to use biodynamic preparations: cow pat pit and BD500 as these improve the earthy aspects. When they are reaching flowering/fruiting, BD 501 is very helpful with enhancing the fruiting process.
Planting capsicum and eggplant
Once you have prepared the soil and moistened it on a new bed, lay a light mulch on the soil, create planting holes for your eggplants and capsicums, fill the holes with compost, and then plant the seedlings. I suggest using seedlings rather than planting seeds directly.
The ideal times of the year for planting relative to your climate can be found in our subscriber planting calendar, in addition to optimum days of the months for working with fruiting plants in relation to planetary influences. Ensure you always plant in the afternoon and don’t plant when you have extreme weather or too much moisture.
With our warming climate, I have found more opportunities to grow these warm-season crops each year, so long as you become more observant of climate and ideal times. Our planting calendar is a big help.
Companion plants and rotation considerations
Spring onions, lettuce, and warrigal greens all grow well in between and under eggplant and capsicums. Flowering plants such as coriander and nasturtiums are productive and edible and also great to distracts pests.
Do not follow eggplants and capsicums from one planting to the next in the same beds and also avoid following them after other crops of the same family such as potato and tomato.
Eggplant disease management
Capsicums can be challenging in a humid climate and, if too moist, will become moldy inside the fruits. You could harvest early to avoid this problem.
Other things to prevent mold are light mulching rather than heavy mulching, watering in the early morning rather than evening, creating good airflow and if there is intense moisture and humidity on the way, use BD501 to hold back the impact of high moisture and reproduction (mold spores).
In more sub-tropical climates, fruit fly can be a common problem as well, and you can use traps for these, or you could also harvest early.
Keeping up productivity
Make sure you water the plants well when they are flowering and fruiting. Never spray them with anything toxic. Accept that some birds will eat some of them, and if the birds really are a big problem, you may need to resort to netting.
We used the net until we started using biodynamic preparations on our whole block, and the birds mostly leave them alone now.
The Black Beauty Eggplant – Facts
The Black Beauty eggplant is an heirloom variety introduced by Burpee Seed Company in 1902 and is the favorite eggplant variety of many gardeners and cooks.
The Black Beauty eggplant is the most commonly marketed variety in the country today, and it first became popular due to its ripening much earlier than many other eggplant varieties.
While not usually regarded as a tropical plant, the eggplant behaves as such, requiring warm weather to produce well, and is a plant that is not at all tolerant of frost. Most eggplant varieties are not particularly hardy at temperatures below 40 degrees F, becoming very susceptible to injury at such temperatures.
If it is safe to plant tomatoes, it is probably safe to plant eggplants, even though the latter is the least hardy of the two. Those who do not grow eggplants commercially often grow them in pots, where they are easier to manage and keep protected.
Although it’s usually recommended that eggplants be purchased as seedlings and transplanted, they can be started from seed as long as the soil is warm.
Eggplant seeds require a temperature of around 70 degrees to germinate, so they are usually started inside and taken outside for transplanting once the weather warms sufficiently. A standard tomato fertilizer works about as well as anything, and eggplants require plenty of water.
Eggplants are about the size of most hot pepper plants, perhaps a bit taller, but Black Beauty eggplants require staking because of the size of the fruit. A typical plant will provide around 4 eggplant fruits.
No Bees? Get A Q-Tip
Black Beauty eggplants are not self-pollination, so if there are no bees around, it may be necessary to hand pollinate. If the blossoms are not pollinated, they will simply die back and not produce fruit, or any fruit which may develop will drop off prematurely.
The flowers are pollinated by transferring pollen from the male blossom to the female blossom. The latter has a small fruit between blossom and stem, while the male blossom does not. A Q-tip usually does the job.
Over-fertilizing can also result in fruit drop, especially if the fertilizer is too high in nitrogen, in which case one can expect lush foliage at the expense of fruit.
When To Harvest Eggplants?
Black Beauty eggplant fruit is larger than that of many other eggplant varieties and best harvested when 6 to 8 inches long and still glossy black in color. If eggplants are harvested too early, they tend to be tough-skinned and somewhat bitter tasting.
If you wait too long, they become pulpy and seedy. Fruit that has turned from black to brown is overripe and will not be good eating. The other parts of the plant, especially the leaves, are poisonous.
Eggplant fruits are generally not very good keepers. The Black Beauty eggplant is no exception in this regard and should be eaten within a very few days of harvest, with same-day preparation for eating preferable.
Other Eggplant Varieties
There are several other popular varieties of eggplant. The relatively sizeable oval fruit features,
- Black Bell,
- the tear-drop-shaped Epic,
- Ghostbuster, and
- the Burpee Hybrid.
Ghostbuster has white skin and is among the sweetest of the eggplant varieties. Some eggplant varieties such as Ichiban, Slim Jim, and Little Fingers have elongated fruit. Easter Egg is an egg-shaped and egg-sized eggplant, which turns from white to yellow when mature. Though edible, Easter egg is often grown strictly as an ornamental.
If you’ve never tried eggplant, you might consider purchasing a couple of plants, to begin with, two plants so you’ll have a backup if something goes wrong.
A half dozen plants will usually provide enough to feed a family unless the family happens to be eggplant crazy. A plant or two, and a recipe, such as can easily be found on the Internet, should get you off to a good start.
The Dietary and Nutritional Value of Eggplants
Despite all the press, you may still not be fully aware of the tremendous nutritional value of eggplants. Not only is it great for overall health, but it can also help you lose weight.
1. Anti-Oxidant Properties
Studies have shown that eggplant has anti-oxidant solid functions. Eating eggplants can help you reduce the level of free radicals in your system. When released into your system, free radicals are unstable molecules that, when released into your system, can cause harm by oxidizing with other cells and making them unstable.
Physicians believe this process may leave your cells vulnerable to cancer-causing agents.
2. High in Dietary Fiber
The top nutritional value of eggplants is perhaps the high concentration of dietary fibers. These fibers help you if you are on a diet because they both make foods move more quickly through your digestive system while at the same time making you feel full faster.
This is a double benefit for someone who is dieting because it makes them eat less and leaves less time for the fats in foods to enter their bodies.
For those of us not concerned with losing weight, eggplant helps lower our cholesterol levels. Therefore, eggplant is well noted as a heart-healthy food. (Although, we should mention that a Brazilian study found an only minor and inconclusive benefit to heart sufferers when including eggplant as part of their diets.)
A further benefit of fiber is to those with diarrhea and other forms of irregularities when it comes to bowel movements. Fiber also adds bulk to the diet and makes it so that stools are fuller and easier to manage for this reason.
3. High in Potassium
Potassium is another element of the nutritional value of eggplants. Potassium plays a role in lowering blood pressure and in the prevention of stroke.
However, if you have chronic problems with your kidney, you want to make sure to consult with your doctor before you increase your potassium intake, as this can cause problems in those in the last stages of renal failure.
4. High in Vitamin C
As you probably know, vitamin C is one of the very best vitamins for helping to strengthen the body. The high in vitamin C in eggplant probably explains its great ability as an anti-oxidant and as a reducer of hypertension since vitamin C plays a role in both of these. Finally, the vitamin C in eggplant may also lend general support to the immune system to help it fight off illness.
5. Low in Saturated Fats
Not only do eggplants contain elements that will help you lower your cholesterol and blood pressure but it also lacks other types of elements that will heighten them. Namely, eggplant lacks the sort of saturated fats that may harm health.
Studies have implicated saturated fats in the increase of cholesterol levels and the incidence of breast and prostate cancer. Because of the low levels of saturated fats, even in cooked eggplant, you have a food that keeps you from getting both of these silent killers.
6. Other Benefits
In addition to the positive aspects of eggplant named so far, eggplant is also high in thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorous, and Vitamin B6. At the same time, it is also low in sodium.
Therefore, eggplant is the sort of food that a nutritionist would create in his fantasy world.
Eggplant is, of course, not perfect.
Although there are no widely accepted studies, you can find many people who claim to have had allergic reactions when brought into contact with eggplant. The typical complaints are skin irritation and a certain amount of swelling in the throat. Whether eggplant can cause a severe allergic reaction is unclear; however, one should be on the lookout, just in case.
Overall, however, the positive benefits of eggplant for dieters and those who want to keep a healthy lifestyle remain clear. So be sure to include eggplant as part of your diet. The internet will show you that you can do lots more with eggplant than just make eggplant parmesan.
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