Today we are going to increase our list of crops with a great protagonist of the garden, the eggplants . We are going to tell you the characteristics of the cultivation in the way we usually do it, mentioning the techniques of fertilization, irrigation, varieties, etc. We are going to try to get the most out of the aubergines that we plant in our garden.
OUR LITTLE INTRODUCTION TO GROWING AUBERGINES
Eggplant is of the genus Solanum and of the Solanaceae family. That translated into common slang means sun, sun and more sun. Known the Solanum melongena L. from 2000 to. C. and place its origin in Southeast Asia, where it coincides today with the countries that produce the most.
If we already know the culinary characteristics, it is best that we move on to the agronomic part in order to develop them.
In Spain, the areas with the highest production are concentrated in the Mediterranean part, represented in order of importance in Almería, Murcia, Alicante and Valencia.
CLIMATIC REQUIREMENTS IN THE CULTIVATION OF AUBERGINES
IDEAL CULTURE TEMPERATURE
The demands in terms of climate are very similar to those of the pepper (another Solanaceae), which translates into a very sunny climate with high temperatures. We can say that it is the vegetable with the highest temperature requirements, reaching levels of up to 45º C.
This is certainly not the best, and the optimal development of the eggplant occurs with an average temperature between 20 and 25ºC.
We are going to know what is the ideal temperature of the eggplant according to the physiological moment.
- Cell death: 0-4 ºC
- Damage: 8-10 ºC
- Day: 22-26 ºC
- Night: 15-18ºC
Minimum: 13-15 ºC
Optimal: 25-30 ºC
Maximum temperature: 40-42 ºC
Relative humidity: 65-70 ºC
When the temperatures in the cultivation of aubergine are close to the biological minimum (8-10ºC) or the biological maximum 40-45ºC, there is loss of basic physiological processes, growth retardation, flower drop and abortion, production reduction, etc. .
With high humidity and high temperature the aubergine crop will have poor flowering, flower drop, deformed fruits and stunted growth.
Because it is a summer crop, it requires large doses of light and sun exposure that this season can provide.
Short days or low light causes malformation of fruits on the eggplant that lead to deformed fruits, threading (chlorosis due to lack of chlorophyll).
SOIL REQUIREMENTS OF AUBERGINE
Because its root system is vigorous, its soil requirement is wide and it is quite tolerant of any type. A deep, loamy soil will host the optimal conditions for the development of the cultivation of aubergines.
Eggplants are not very demanding on the soil, due to the powerful development of roots, which easily deepen.
There may be drawbacks in clay soils due to root asphyxia, so we will have to take care of the amount of irrigation to be provided to avoid this problem.
As for the pH there is no problem as long as it is close to neutral (6 to 8). The cultivation of aubergine is more suitable for soils with slightly alkaline than acidic pH, since it can present growth and productivity problems.
THE ROLE OF THE FERTILIZER IN THE CULTIVATION OF AUBERGINES
The production of large fruits in the cultivation of aubergines requires nutritional compensation through compost , at the beginning with the preparation of the land, repeating a couple of times more throughout its growth and flowering.
IDEAL FERTILIZER SOLUTION FOR THE CULTIVATION OF AUBERGINES (MMOL / L)
- Nitrogen (NO3-): 12 mmol / L
- Phosphorus (H2PO4-): 1.5 mmol / L
- Potassium (K +): 7 mmol / L
- Calcium (Ca2 +): 5 mmol / L
- Magnesium (Mg2 +): 2.5 mmol / L
These values are optional and general, taking into account that the water analysis of your farm and a soil analysis should be consulted .
AMOUNT OF MICRONUTRIENTS TO PROVIDE
- Iron (Fe): 2 ppm
- Manganese (Mn): 1 ppm
- Copper (Cu): 0.1 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 0.2 ppm
- Boron (B): 0.5 ppm
Due to the hot conditions in which eggplant is grown, it requires a high water content, even though it has a powerful root system. Above all, in the formation of fruits, consideration should be given to irrigation.
This irrigation has a value in Liters and we commented on it for a long time so we have to rescue the entry:
Irrigation needs of pepper, tomato, eggplant and zucchini.
Approximately, the amount of irrigation that the bernejena needs is 1.5 L / m2 per day, newly planted in hot weather, up to 5 L / m2 when the plant reaches its maximum production and size.
Crop cycle, depending on the time of year, consumption varies, ranging from 1.5
L / m2 per day, newly planted in August to 6 L / m2 per day in June.
- Before planting, an initial irrigation of the plantation will be given, with a quantity of water between 10 and 15 L / m2.
- With the crop planted, the first weeks (late spring, early summer) are watered daily at 1.5 to 2 L / m2.
- Once the plant is installed and rooted, the bernejena will be watered every 2-3 days, from 4 to 5 L / m2, until the first fruits appear.
- With the fruits in formation, the amount of irrigation will be increased to 6 L / m2, every 2 or 3 days.
WHEN TO GROW EGGPLANT
The cultivation of aubergines begins in March, from seedlings that you can obtain in any market, nurseries, greengrocers (it is such a common plant that they can even sell them).
At first we will have them in pots in indoor conditions with good temperatures, and then, in early May, they can be planted in your garden with a 50 cm x 50 cm planting frame.
If we meet the aforementioned planting dates, in July , we will be able to obtain our first fruits.
They are usually harvested when the eggplant acquires a satin shine, or you press your finger and the mark remains for a while.
SOME ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS
Padding : due to the great water needs and the heat it does in summer, we avoid evaporation and increase the moisture content around the plant.
Tutored: when the size of the fruit increases, its own weight sometimes causes the branch to give way or bend, and the fruit touches the ground. So it is very easy for it to rot. Using a reed system or a net we ensure the success of our vegetables.
Leaf removal and pruning: the more ventilated the plant is, the better it will grow and the fewer problems with respect to pests or diseases. It is necessary to remove dead or dry leaves, and we will follow the same process with branches of the same condition.
When it comes to removing the leaves, it is better to do it after cutting the fruits and with low humidity .
To achieve two growing cycles with the same plant, the four main stems are cut, leaving three or four buds on each stem.
Once the stems sprout again, only one sprout will be left for each main stem.
- 2 x 0.5 m, forming the aubergine plant to four stems.
- 1.75 x 0.5 m, forming the eggplant plant to three or four stems.
- 1.5 x 0.75 m, forming the aubergine plant to four stems.
- 1.5 x 0.5 m, forming the plant with three stems.
- 1 x 0.5 m, forming the plant with two stems.
CHARACTERISTICS OF EGGPLANT SEEDS
No. of seeds per grain: 200-250
Sowing depth: 0.5-1 cm
% Germination: 80-95%
No. Plants / ha: 5000-7500
ASSOCIATION OF CROPS WITH EGGPLANT
- Favorable associations: beans, chickpeas, broad beans, peas
- Unfavorable associations: potato
We can classify the varieties of eggplant into 3 types:
- Early varieties: Black beauty , M oneymaker, Black barbentane, Black prince, Thai long green.
- Semi-early varieties: L istada de Gandía, Rotonda bianca sfumata di rosa.
- Late varieties: Bonica, Diamond eggplant.