Eggplant requires a sunny, but relatively short day, medium-warm temperatures without sweltering heat, enough moisture, but without flooding the root system. Providing such conditions in the open ground of most regions of Russia is quite difficult. Therefore, before eggplant was grown only in protected ground, where artificially created the conditions necessary for this culture. With the development of selection, it became possible to grow eggplants in open ground not only in the southern regions of Russia and the CIS countries, but also in the middle lane.How to grow eggplant in open ground
Read also our material Eggplants in a greenhouse - growing rules and the best varieties.
With the correct use of agricultural techniques, your beloved “little blue ones” will please gardeners with a crop even in eggplant unfavorable climatic conditions and regions of Russia, including the Northwest of the European part: Leningrad Oblast, certain regions of Siberia and the Urals.
Preparing an eggplant bed
The best predecessors of eggplant are early cabbage, legumes, cucumbers, carrots, onions of various kinds, melons, zucchini, and beans. It is impossible (due to the same diseases and pests) to grow eggplant after nightshade (tomatoes, potatoes). Culture needs temporary isolation, that is, returning to its former place of cultivation no earlier than 3-4-5 years later.
Loams or sandy loamy soils are optimal for eggplant. The culture will grow on heavy soils if it is fluffed up by constant application of fresh manure, agro-vermiculite, sand, humus, overexposed sawdust (not coniferous) or other materials that increase the air and water permeability of soil.
Under eggplant, you need a plot in a cultural turnover with good lighting. Shading by high crops or vegetables on a trellis (cucumbers, beans) is not allowed.
Eggplants with a crop take out a large amount of nutrients from the field, so the soil under this crop is thoroughly seasoned with organic and mineral fertilizers.
For autumn "refueling" use autumn sowing of green manure and their subsequent seeding or contribute to 1Q. m area of 6-10 kg of humus, mature compost. 200-250 g of wood ash and 50-60 g of nitrophoska are added.
Read our material. What green manure to sow in the fall?
The soil is dug up on a full bayonet of a shovel in order to remove the firm sole (for the delicate roots of eggplant), the sole formed during constant shallow digging (15-20 cm). It is more practical to dig in the late autumn. With late digging, part of the bear nests wintering in the soil is destroyed.
Spring soil preparation for eggplant
If, due to the circumstances, they have not managed to fertilize the plot since the fall, green manure can be planted on the future bed with eggplant in the spring.
Read our article What siderata to sow in the spring?
Or, instead of green manure, make humus with the addition of mineral fertilizers in the same doses as in the fall.Planting seedlings in open ground in the southern regions is not difficult.
Planting seedlings in open ground
About growing eggplant seedlings read our detailed material Growing eggplant seedlings.
When to plant eggplant seedlings in open ground?
Planting eggplant seedlings in open ground in the southern regions is not difficult. The soil, warmed up to + 17 ... + 18 ° С in the root-inhabited layer by mid-third decade of May, and the air temperature within + 18 ... + 24 ° С create optimal conditions for young seedlings of seedlings.
The age of eggplant seedlings can be 65-70 days. By this period, they will have a well-developed root system - 5-8 developed leaves and 1-2 buds.
In regions with a temperate climate, additional measures are needed to prepare the beds for planting eggplant seedlings. If the soil is cold, then the beds are raised by 30-40 cm with bulk soil. In autumn, it is advisable to lay half-ripened turf and other materials in the garden, which, when decomposed, will increase the temperature of the soil.
Eggplants in the middle lane are planted in open ground in the first decade of June, and sometimes later. You can use for planting (unlike other vegetables) seedlings 70-75-80 day, with at least 3-5-7 developed leaves.
How to plant eggplant seedlings?
So that the plants do not obscure each other, it is more practical to use an ordinary planting pattern, placing seedlings in a row after 45-60 cm, and in rows between rows after 60-80 cm, depending on the habitus of the future bush.
A handful of wood ash and a tablespoon of superphosphate are mixed in holes 10-15-18 cm deep. Seedlings, in order not to damage the delicate fragile roots of eggplant, are planted with a lump of moist soil. The roots in the hole should not break.
Sprinkle the hole with the seedling soil, easily crush (without effort) and watered with warm (+ 18 ... + 30 ° C) water, you can - a weak solution of potassium permanganate. Watered eggplant planting must be mulched with any small dry mulch (peat, 2–3-year-old non-coniferous sawdust, humus, etc.).Eggplants love bright sunlight, the duration of which should not exceed 12 hours in the first month.
Open Eggplant Care
Eggplants love bright sunlight, the duration of which should not exceed 12 hours in the first month, and later - 12-14. With a 12-hour daylight, eggplants quickly switch to flowering and fruit formation. With a longer daylight, they can be limited to the development of the vegetative mass without flowering and fruit setting.
Therefore, you always need to have covering material on hand to limit the access of light to this culture.
Eggplant is very demanding on the temperature regime of soil and air. The soil should be warmed not lower than + 16 ° С, its optimum temperature fluctuates within + 17 ... + 18 ° С. Air during the day - up to + 18 ... + 24 ° С and at night within + 15 ... + 18 ° С.
There are varieties that develop normally at an average daily air temperature of + 15 ° C.
Cold prolonged drizzling rain adversely affects the development of eggplant. A decrease in air temperature to + 12 ° C during the flowering period causes the discharge of flowers and ovaries, and a further decrease leads to the death of the culture. Protection from this - watering with heated water, temporary shelters.
Irrigation is always carried out with warm water warmed up in the sun (in the south), and in regions with a temperate climate and cold soil, irrigation water is heated to + 25 ... + 30 ° С. Eggplant is only watered under the root. When water gets on the leaf surface, the leaves become sick, photosynthesis decreases, the plant stops developing.
The first watering is carried out 10-12 days after planting in open ground. If the weather is dry, hot, then after 7-9 days. The soil should be constantly moist, but not more than 65-70% (the root system of the eggplant does not tolerate flooding and high soil moisture).
From the flowering phase and the formation of ovaries, the irrigation rate is increased, soaking the soil to 15-20 cm of the layer, and watering is carried out once a week (after 5-7 days).During the growing season spend root dressing eggplant 1 time in 2-3 weeks.
During the growing season spend root dressing eggplant 1 time in 2-3 weeks. Between them, during flowering and the formation of ovaries, plants are additionally treated by spraying with boric acid, a set of microelements and other solutions for foliar top dressing.
The first feeding of eggplant is carried out 10-12 days after transplanting seedlings in open ground (landmark: the appearance of a new leaf on the emerging bush). Given that the first month eggplants gain vegetative mass very slowly, top dressing is carried out with nitrogen-containing fertilizers - Kemira, Kristallin, Rastvorin, Effekton at the rate of 30-40 g / 10 l of water (1.0-1, 5 liters under the bush).
If there is no such fertilizer, then you can make a solution of ammophos at the rate of 150 g of fertilizer per 10 liters of water.
The second feeding of eggplant in 12-15 days is carried out with a mixture of wood ash, which will replenish the root layer with microelements, and complete fertilizer (nitrophoski or nitroammophoski) at the rate of 20-25 g per bush or 40-50 g / sq. m. area.
In the second top dressing, you can add, instead of the proposed mixture, an extract from bird droppings. 2-3 kg of bird droppings insist 2-3 days in 10 liters of water, strain, dilute in 10-15 liters of warm water and pour each bush under the root at the rate of 1.0-1.5 liters.
In the phase of the beginning of flowering, for the feeding of eggplants in open ground, it is effective to use nitrophos, diammophos or nitrophoska of 35-40 g / sq. square meters and foliar spraying with a solution of boric acid (dissolve 1 g in 5 l of hot water, cool and sprinkle the plants).
In the phase of flowering and fruit setting, foliar top dressing with microelements or solutions of fermented herbs can be repeated.
With the beginning of fruiting of eggplant, top dressing is carried out with a phosphorus-potassium mixture (superphosphate and potassium sulfate) at the rate of 40-50 g / sq. m. area.
Harvesting eggplants is repeated and, in order to support fruiting (especially on low-fertile soils), after the first or second harvest, one more fertilizing with phosphorus-potassium fertilizers can be done.
Currently, the fertilizer market offers a large selection of nutrients to maintain and increase soil fertility, and therefore, to provide vegetable crops with nutrition (complex, complex, organo-mineral, etc.).
In any case, it is not necessary to overfeed the eggplant by applying high doses of fertilizers, especially nitrogen, in the second half of the growing season. Plants will then form a large biomass to the detriment of fruit development.
The soil under the eggplant should always be loose, moist, without soil crust and weeds. Small loosening, so as not to damage the roots, is carried out on the 2nd day after watering, preferably with picking up the soil (hilling).Low-growing and dwarf eggplant varieties do not require bush structuring.
Shrub formation and pinching eggplant
Eggplants do not like unnecessary interference. Therefore, undersized and dwarf varieties do not require structuring of the bush. A bush is formed when it reaches 25-30 cm in height.
The late formation of eggplant (removal of large stepsons with ovaries) severely injures the bush, causes its disease and sometimes leads to death. Inspect the bearing (central) stems. Pinch the stepsons, located in the axils of the leaves, to the first bud. If the plant is poorly developed, then you can remove the first bud. This technique stimulates the development of the root system and stems, positively affects the formation of flowers and ovaries.
Further, when forming eggplant bushes, they act differently.
Early, undersized varieties of eggplant with a small mass of the fruit (200-250 g), having 2-5 stems, usually do not structure, only provide them with proper care.
If early or mid-season eggplant variety and forms many ovaries, and according to the characteristic, the fruits are of average weight (up to 250-400 g), then, regardless of the region of cultivation, they cut off up to 20-25% of flowers. The remaining flowers form larger fruits. If you leave all the flowers, the fruits will be small and there will be many underdeveloped ones.
Tall, branching, oversized eggplant bushes usually form middle and late varieties, which are grown mainly in the southern regions. Such bushes form 1-2-3 stems and are tied to the trellis in several places so that large (up to 450-900 g) fruits do not break branches.
On each branch of the shoot, 1 ovary is left, and the rest are removed by pinching (it is better to neatly cut them with secateurs). With this formation, each bush will have 5-7-8 fruits weighing up to 1 kg. In eggplants, stepsons grow slowly and the bushes can be inspected once every 2 weeks.
Closer to the autumn, pinch the tops of the eggplant bushes and take off all the small fruits. They will no longer grow, but will delay part of the nutrients in their development.Before harvesting, eggplants are damaged by diseases and pests throughout the growing season.
Protection of eggplants in the open ground from diseases and pests
Eggplant is a culture of reusable harvesting. Eggplant fruits are removed in technical ripeness when they reach standard sizes, color, pulp density (determined by pressing the fruit) and other characteristic features. But before harvesting, eggplants are damaged by diseases and pests throughout the growing season.
For repeated cleaning, the use of chemical protective agents is prohibited. Therefore, the basis for protection are preventive measures and the use of biological products. Biological products can be processed plants from the first days after planting in the field until harvest.
Eggplant - a tidbit for pests and with the establishment of warm weather, their activity increases sharply. They damage the leaf apparatus, flowers, ovaries, fruits. Aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, thrips, etc. cause the most harm.
The biological preparations Bitoxibacillin, Lepidocide, Basamil and others effectively kill pests.
In violation of the requirements of agricultural technology, plants are often affected by fungal and bacterial rot, viral mosaic. And in this case, the corresponding biological products will help - Gamair, Fitosporin, Planriz, Alirin-B, Bactofit. Effectively protects plants BTU biocomplex.
Remember! Biological products operate at certain temperatures and all the required conditions are met for breeding, preparing tank mixtures and processing plants. Violation of recommendations (especially, increasing the concentration of solutions, processing in cold weather, etc.) will not give the expected effect.
In addition to biological products, alternative methods of protecting plants from pests and diseases can also be used.
Read our detailed material Protecting Eggplant Against Diseases and Pests.
The best varieties and hybrids of eggplant for different regionsEggplant "Purple Wonder" F1. Eggplant "Fabin" F1. Eggplant "Valentine" F1.
Eggplant varieties and hybrids for regions with short, warm summers
The main condition for the successful cultivation of eggplant in an unstable and insufficiently warm climate is the use of zoned varieties with a developed system of adaptation to weather cataclysms and a quick transition to fruiting.
Eggplant varieties and hybrids are described below, which are recommended, according to the State Register of the Federal State Budgetary Institution "Gossortokomissii" of the Russian Federation, for growing in open ground regions with a short warm summer (North-West, Leningrad Region, Ural, Moscow Region, Siberia).
In the climatic conditions of these regions, early and ultra-early varieties of eggplant and first-generation hybrids (F1) form fairly high yields. The first harvest of fruits of technical ripeness is received in 75-100 days.
Zoned eggplant varieties are resistant to low temperatures, daylight hours, they are well resistant to a number of diseases and form a sufficient crop with a fruit weight of 50 to 350 g.
Eggplant "Purple Wonder F1" - little susceptible to daylight hours. Short, does not require the formation of a bush. Early ripe - manages to form a crop of 200 g of fruit in 2-2.5 summer months. Resistant to diseases and damage by pests, which means that it does not need frequent protective treatments.
Eggplant "joker" - ultra-early, the first crop in technical ripeness is removed after 75-80 days. Fruits are not large in mass, but the crop is plentiful due to the formation of a fruit brush from 3 to 7 eggplants weighing from 50 to 130 g. The “joker” is resistant to rot and tobacco mosaic.
Eggplant "Maksik" F1 - Forms miniature bushes up to 60 cm tall, which is very convenient if necessary, temporary shelters from sudden cold snap in June. The fruits are quite large until 180-250 g. With a quarter. m. can be collected in 2-3 cuts up to 10 kg of the crop.
Eggplant "Fabin" F1 - one of the earliest. From planting seedlings to harvesting the first fruits, it takes only 40-50 days, which allows you to grow eggplant in open beds even in the northern regions. The undersized bush, up to 60 cm, needs a considerable area, as it differs in the open type of bush. Resistant to fungal diseases and spider mites. The bush is able to provide simultaneous development and ripening of 8-9 fruits.
Among other varieties and hybrids of eggplants, eggplants, such as eggplants, have proven themselves well according to reviews by gardeners in the northern regions and regions with unstable climates (return frosts, long cold rains, hot but short summers, etc.) "Valentine" F1, "Alekseevsky", "Diamond", "Bataysky", Sailor, Bagheera F1, Bibo F1 other.
Eggplant for regions with long warm summers
In the regions of Russia (Lower Volga, Caucasus and Transcaucasia) and the CIS countries with long warm summers, eggplants are grown both in sheltered and in open ground.
Almost all undersized early varieties and hybrids of eggplant, large-bush, tall, medium and late ripening form stably high yields with good fruit taste: without bitterness, with soft pulp, pleasant aftertaste, mushroom aroma.
Among varieties and hybrids of eggplant there are resistant to a complex of diseases or individual diseases, cold-resistant. The formation of a high yield of some varieties is accompanied by large-fruited up to 800-900-1000 g (very convenient for making caviar), others, relatively small-fruited (100-400 g), are used for pickling, stuffing, and cooking various dishes.
For cultivation in warm regions, you can use all of the above varieties and hybrids, among which eggplants stand out by gardeners "Alekseevsky", "Black handsome", "Robin Hood", Bibo F1, "Purple Miracle" F1, "Fabina" F1 and etc.
Of the medium group, the most common are eggplant "Diamond", "Black Moon" F1, Bagheera F1 and others. They form a crop for 115-130 days, are unpretentious to growing conditions.Eggplant "Alekseevsky". Eggplant "Black handsome." Eggplant "Diamond".
Varieties and hybrids of eggplant for the southern regions
Late-ripe eggplant varieties are ideally suited for the conditions of the Krasnodar Territory, Crimea, and the south of the Volgograd Region. In combination with early and medium grades and hybrids, eggplant lovers are guaranteed fresh, tasty and healthy fruits throughout the entire warm period.
Late-ripening varieties enter fruiting after 130-150 days, and crop formation in them occurs in August-September. Of late-ripening varieties, eggplant can be recommended. "Black handsome", Bull forehead, "Bear", Clorinda F1 and etc.