The key to success with aubergines (eggplants) is warmth and sunshine! And it’s not surprising as they originated in India, where they continue to grow wild, progressing to Southern Europe in the 12th Century. However only in recent years have they become really popular with the home-grown gardener, thanks in part to modern cultivars that are now better suited to British climates.
How to Sow and Grow Aubergines
Sow indoors, January to April on a warm kitchen windowsill at a temperature of 20-25°C(68-77°F). However, for best germination results a heated propagator is best. Sow 0.5cm(1/4in) deep, thinly in a tray or pots of compost and keep moist. Transplant seedlings to individual pots when large enough to handle. Place in a bright location to grow on in cooler, but not cold conditions. Plant out; one per 30cm(1ft) pot, two plants per grow bag or 60cm(2ft) apart in a greenhouse border. When plants are 30cm(1ft) high, pinch out the main growing tip to encourage branching. Water regularly and feed with a liquid tomato fertiliser every two weeks once the first fruit has set. Provide support with canes if necessary. Plants may be grown outside in a warm, sunny sheltered location. However, outdoor crops will be later and smaller.