- The Best Method to Pick Black Beauty Eggplant
- Black Beauty Eggplant Seeds
- Starting Eggplants Indoors
- Where to Plant Eggplant
- Transplanting Eggplants to the Garden
- Container Growing Eggplants
- Watering and Feeding Eggplants
- Companion Plants for Eggplants
- Caring for Eggplants
- Eggplant Pests
- Eggplant Diseases
- Storing and Preserving Eggplants
- Eggplant Varieties to Grow
- About Eggplants
- Steps for Growing Black Beauty Eggplant
- Black Beauty Eggplant Info: How To Grow A Black Beauty Eggplant
- What is a Black Beauty Eggplant?
- How to Grow a Black Beauty Eggplant
The Best Method to Pick Black Beauty Eggplant
When to Pick Black Beauty Eggplant
Make sure your Black Beauty eggplants are ripe for picking. Examine the fruit for deep, purple, glossy skin. Also, press your finger on the skin, checking for firmness. Your Black Beauty eggplants are tender and flavorful when picked while still young. If they’re allowed to grow to maturity, the skin becomes dull, and the flesh becomes spongy and bitter.
Preparations for Picking Black Beauty Eggplant
Before picking your eggplants, wear a long-sleeved shirt and garden gloves. The thorny stems on the eggplants can irritate your skin. Protecting your arms and hands also prevents any fungus, disease or pests from transferring onto your skin.
Necessary Tools for Picking Eggplants
You only need one tool for picking Black Beauty eggplants without damaging the foliage or stems. This tool is a sharp pair of garden shears or pruners. Disinfect your pruners before cutting your eggplants, in case of any disease or fungus left on the blades from previous use.
Cutting with shears is the safest method for picking Black Beauty eggplant because the stems are tough. It’s difficult to snap the fruit off the plant. If you try snapping the eggplant off the stem, you run the risk of pulling the whole plant out of the soil.
Steps for Harvesting Black Beauty Eggplants
Follow these steps for picking Black Beauty eggplants without harming the plant, foliage or fruit:
- Cradle the eggplant in your palm, gently lifting it, and exposing the stem.
- Locate the calyx, which is the part of the flower attached to the top of the eggplant.
- Cleanly cut the stem above the calyx.
How often to Pick Black Beauty Eggplants
Pick your eggplants as soon as they’re ripe, usually once or twice weekly, depending on your crop production. If you can’t use your eggplants right away, you can freeze fresh eggplant for future use.
The more eggplants you pick, the more your Black Beauties will produce. Picking actually stimulates your plants to produce more fruit. If you leave your eggplants until they’re mature, they become overripe, and your crops growth will stagnate.
Last year I grew about 150 plants; Black Beauty, globe Italian kinds, Rosa (lavender) kinds, Asian (long) kinds, and a few heirlooms like Listada da Gandia. What you plant depends on your preference and how mauch yield you want for eating. I pick eggplant usually once each week; twice each week at the peak of the season. Eggplant need lots of heat and long daylight hours to do their best….they start thriving here when the temperatures start averaging around 95. If your area doesn’t get into the 90s with regularity, expect lower yields than if you were someplace with hot summers. I know that SoCal can vary quite a bit depending on if you are coastal, inland or whatnot. If you like higher yields go for the Asian (tapered) varieties. Listada da Gandia is a medium sized fruit (not to mention gorgeous) but yields quite a lot; it wasn’t unusual to pick 5-7 per plant each week….as opposed to 1-2 Black Beauties most weeks. The bigger the fruit is is, the fewer the plant produces and the longer it takes. Also, you need a regular fertilizer program for plants to do well….don’t just stick it in the ground and forget to feed them. I hope this helps.
Black Beauty Eggplant Seeds
Sowing: Though gardeners with long growing seasons will be able to direct sow their eggplant seed when the soil reaches 70 degrees F, starting the seed indoors is best in most areas. About 8-10 weeks before the last expected spring frost, plant the seeds in pots 1/4″ deep. Keep them in a sunny window or under a grow light, maintaining a temperature of around 80 degrees. Germination of eggplant can be spotty, and may take several weeks. Keep the seedlings moist and provide organic matter for the best development. Gradually expose them to the elements by leaving the pots outdoors during the day. When the average air and soil temperature reach 70 degrees, or about 3 weeks after the last frost, plant the seedlings in well drained soil in full sun; for fullest growth, allow each plant 2-3′ in all directions. Eggplant also grows very well in container gardens; most northern gardeners depend on this method in order to succeed in growing this heat loving plant.
Growing: Eggplant thrives in the full heat of summer; row covers, black plastic, or other methods to conserve heat may be necessary in some climates. If temperatures threaten to fall below 55 degrees F, cover the plants. As soon as the seedlings become established, mulch them to conserve moisture and control weeds. Keep the soil evenly moist, and apply fertilizer or organic matter once monthly.
Harvesting: When the skin of an eggplant begins to take on a high gloss, it is nearly ripe. To test for ripeness, press gently on the skin; if the flesh remains indented, it is ready to be harvested. Eggplant reach their best eating quality at about 1/2 their mature size, since oversized eggplant can turn tough and bitter. For freshest taste, use immediately. If necessary, eggplant can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. If the seeds inside begin to turn brown, this indicates that it is overripe. Keep in mind that some parts of the leaves and flowers are poisonous if ingested.
Seed Saving: Because eggplant pollinates itself without the help of insects, cross pollination is not likely; however, separate different varieties by about 40′ to guarantee genetic purity. When the fruit is fully ripe, it will drop off the plant; at this stage it will be dull and purplish brown with slightly puckered flesh. Cure for two weeks. Several methods for separating the Black Beauty eggplant seeds from the flesh are effective. Some seed savers grate the bottom portion of the eggplant, which contains the seeds – since these Black Beauty eggplant seeds have a protective coating and are very slippery, they will not be damaged. Place the grated mixture in a bowl with water and work it with your fingers; the good seed will sink to the bottom. Another method is to cut the eggplant into 1/2″ squares, put them in a blender, and pulse for a few seconds; next, proceed with washing the seeds. Remove the Black Beauty eggplant seeds at the bottom of the container of water to a flat surface, and allow them to dry; store in a cool, dry location for up to five years.
Eggplant is a very tender perennial grown as an annual. Grow eggplant in the warmest, frost-free time of the year.
- Eggplant requires 100 to 140 warm days with temperatures consistently between 70° and 90°F to reach harvest.
- Eggplant is best started indoors and later transplanted into the garden; sow eggplant indoors 6 to 8 weeks before setting plants into the garden.
- Transplant seedlings into the garden no sooner than 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost in spring.
- Eggplants planted too early will not develop.
Eggplant seedlings ready to transport to the garden as summer begins
Starting Eggplants Indoors
- Start eggplants from seed indoors about 8 weeks before setting seedlings in the garden.
- Sow seed in individual containers or flats. Sow eggplant seed ¼ to ½ inch deep spaced 4 to 5 inches apart.
- Eggplant seeds germinate in about 5 to 6 days.
- Give seedlings started indoors 12 hours of light each day; use a grow light or fluorescent lights.
- Start seeds on a heat mat then grow seedlings on at about 70°
- Transfer seedlings to 4-inch pots when seedlings are 3 to 4 inches tall and then into gallon containers if the weather does not allow transplanting as seedlings grow 5 to 6 inches tall or taller.
- Ahead of transplanting, lay black plastic across garden planting beds to pre-warm the soil.
More tips: Eggplant Seed Starting Tips.
Eggplant is sensitive to cold. It grows best where day temperatures are between 80° and 90°F and night temperatures between 70° and 80°F.
Where to Plant Eggplant
- Grow eggplants in full sun.
- Eggplants grow best in well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Add aged compost or commercial organic planting mix to planting beds ahead of planting and turn the soil to 12 inches deep.
- Eggplants prefer a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.8.
- Warm the soil in advance of planting with by laying black plastic over planting beds for two weeks.
Transplanting Eggplants to the Garden
- Transplant eggplants into the garden 2 to 3 weeks after the last spring frost.
- Make a hole twice the width of the root ball and half again as deep. Moisten the hole before transplanting.
- Sprinkle a 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 organic fertilizer in the bottom of the hole and cover lightly with aged compost or planting mix. Then set the seedling in place.
- Set eggplant seedlings into the garden at the same depth they are growing in their containers.
- Firm the soil in around the root ball and gently water the plant. Create a small basin around the seedling to direct water to roots at watering time.
- Set a stake or small tomato cage in place to support the plant as it grows. Eggplants loaded with fruit can tip or fall over; it’s best to support them.
- Space eggplants 24 to 36 inches apart. Space rows 24 to 36 inches apart.
- Protect young plants with polyethylene row covers if days or nights are cool. Lift row covers during warm afternoons so that bees can pollinate plants.
Container Growing Eggplants
- Eggplants are easily grown in containers.
- Grow eggplants in pots at least 12 inches across and as deep. Choose a smaller growing variety for container growing.
- Be sure to keep the potting soil just moist through the season. Do not let the soil dry out.
- Feed eggplants in containers every two to three weeks with compost tea or dilute solution of fish emulsion.
- Container grown eggplants are easily moved out of cold weather; so you can extend the season in spring and autumn by moving plants indoors when frost threatens.
Watering and Feeding Eggplants
- Eggplants are heavy feeders prepare planting beds with aged compost and side-dress eggplants with compost tea or a dilute solution of fish emulsion every 2 or 3 weeks until the fruit has set and then every 3 to 4 weeks after.
- Eggplants require evenly moist soil to ensure the best and fastest growth. Do not allow the soil to dry out and do not overwater.
- Set drip irrigation or a soaker hose in place after transplanting seedlings to the garden. Give plants at least 1 inch of water every week.
- Inconsistent soil moisture can result in misshapen fruits.
- After the soil has warmed to 70°F, mulch around eggplants to retain soil moisture and to keep down weeds.
Companion Plants for Eggplants
- Plant eggplants with bush beans, southern peas, and nitrogen-fixing crops. Do not plant eggplant with tomatoes or corn.
Protect eggplants from an unexpected late frost. Provide protection at night until all danger of frost is past.
Caring for Eggplants
- Protect eggplants from an unexpected late frost. Provide protection at night until all danger of frost is past. Cover plant with spun poly row covers.
- Chilly weather and lack of moisture can inhibit pollination.
- In hot summer climates, the soil temperature may become too warm for the roots; mulch plants about 4 weeks after setting them in the garden.
- Where temperatures grow hot in the summer to 100°F or greater, protect eggplants with shade covering.
- Tall varieties and those with heavy fruit should be staked or caged.
- Eggplants can be attacked by cutworms, aphids, flea beetles, Colorado potato bugs, spider mites, and tomato hornworms.
- Cutworms will be discouraged by collars set around the plants at the time of transplanting.
- Control aphids and flea beetles by handpicking or hosing them off the plant and pinching out infested areas. Spray infestation with insecticidal soap or spinosad.
- Spider mites can be difficult to control; use an insecticidal soap spray.
- Handpick hornworms off the plants or spray with Bacillus thuringiensis.
Protect eggplants: Eggplant Growing Problems: Troubleshooting.
- Eggplant is susceptible to fungal and bacterial diseases.
- Planting disease-resistant varieties when possible.
- Keep the garden clean of debris.
- Verticillium wilt can attack eggplants; spray-mist leaves with compost tea to prevent and slow fungal diseases.
- Diseased plants should be removed immediately before the disease spreads to healthy plants.
- Protect the plants against soil-borne disease by rotating corps; do not plant eggplant family members including tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers in the same spot two seasons in a row.
Eggplant Rosa Bianca
- Time from planting to harvest is 100 to 150 days from seed, 70 to 85 days from transplants.
- Harvest eggplant young before the flesh becomes pithy.
- Eggplants are ready for harvest when the fruit is glossy, firm, and full-colored.
- Eggplants with no seeds are immature. Fruits with hard, dark seeds are overripe.
- Eggplants that are under or overripe will be bitter tasting.
- Cut eggplants from the stem with a pruning shear or sharp knife. Leave a short stub of stem attached to the fruit.
Harvest tips: How to Harvest and Store Eggplant.
Storing and Preserving Eggplants
- Eggplants will keep in a well-ventilated place for up to 1 week at 50°F or slightly warmer.
- It is best not to refrigerate eggplant but if you do wrap the fruit in plastic to prevent cold burn. Do not wash or cut eggplants before refrigerating.
- Eggplant can be frozen or dried.
Black Beauty is a classic eggplant with glossy black, bell-shaped fruit 4 to 6 inches long.
Eggplant Varieties to Grow
Four classic eggplant varieties to grow are:
- Black Beauty: grows glossy black, bell-shaped fruit 4 to 6 inches long.
- Ichiban: grow slim, deep purple fruits 6 or more inches long.
- Little Fingers: small, dark purple fruits, 3 to 4 inches long.
- Easter Egg: small pastel yellow or orange fruits the size of an egg.
Here’s a full list of eggplant varieties to grow:
Learn more at: Eggplant Varieties–Short, Mid, and Long Season and Eggplant Varieties: Best Bets and Easy to Grow.
- Eggplant is a small- to medium-size bush vegetable that produces smooth, glossy-skinned fruit that can vary in length from 5 to 12 inches long.
- Eggplants have large, fuzzy, grayish-green leaves and produce star-shaped lavender flowers with yellow centers.
- The edible fruit can be long and slender or round or egg-shaped fruit. The fruit is creamy-white, yellow, brown, purple, or sometimes almost black.
- Eggplants can grow 2 to 6 feet tall, depending on the variety.
- Eggplant Yield. Plant 1 to 2 eggplants per household member.
- Common name: Eggplant, aubergine, guinea squash
- Botanical name: Solanum melongena
- Origin: East Indies, India
More tips: Eggplant Growing.
Steps for Growing Black Beauty Eggplant
What Are the Best Weather Conditions for Black Beauty Eggplant?
Black Beauty eggplant needs full sun to develop properly. Eggplants don’t tolerate cool weather, so the temperature during the growing season should be from 70°F (21°C) to 85°F (29°C).
What Types of Soil Conditions Does Black Beauty Eggplant Need?
Soil nutrition is also important for successful Black Beauty eggplant growing. This plant needs well-drained soil, rich in nutrients, and a pH of 6.2 to 6.8. You can find soil test kits at garden centers, and test the soil yourself. If your pH readings are not adequate, add organic fertilizer to the soil. The soil must also reach 60 °F (15°C) before planting your eggplant seedlings.
Can Black Beauty Eggplant Grow from Seeds?
You can grow Black Beauty eggplant from seed, starting them indoors about 12 weeks before planting time. Your indoor potting soil should be warm, ranging from 80°(27°C) to 90°F(32°C) for your seeds to sprout. When planting the seeds in flats or pots, sow groups of four seeds, covering them with one-quarter inches of soil. After you see sprouts, you can lower the soil temperature to 70°F (21°C). When your seedlings have three leaves, thin them out to 2 to 3 inches apart.
How to Harden Off Black Beauty Seedlings
It’s time to transplant your Black Beauty seedlings when they develop three sets of leaves. Harden off the seedlings before planting them outside because the change in temperature, sun and wind can shock the young plants. Just put them outside during the day, and bring them back inside at night for a few days.
How to Transplant Black Beauty Seedlings
Once you choose a sunny location for your garden, and the soil is at least 60°F (15°C), follow these steps to plant your seedlings.
- Prepare the soil by turning it over to 8-inches deep.
- Level the soil with a stone rake, removing any rocks and weeds.
- Set your eggplant seedlings 2 to 3 feet apart in a row, covering the root ball with soil.
- Space your rows 3 to 4 feet apart because Black Beauty eggplants need a lot of space for healthy growth.
- Water the seedlings thoroughly after planting.
- Continue watering them once per week for the entire growing season.
How to Tell if Black Beauty Eggplant Is Ripe
When your Black Beauty eggplants are deep purple, firm and shiny, they’re ready to harvest. They’re usually about 4 to 5 inches long at this time. It takes from 60 to 70 days for them to become ripe. If your eggplants have dull skin, then they’re overripe, and will have a bitter taste.
Black Beauty Eggplant Info: How To Grow A Black Beauty Eggplant
As a beginning gardener, one of the most exciting aspects of planning a vegetable garden is the hope of growing one’s favorite foods. Homegrown crops, such as eggplants, offer growers harvests of high quality, delectable produce. However, for some, the process of learning to grow these crops may feel somewhat intimidating. Luckily, with some basic growing knowledge, even novice growers are able to reap the benefits of their hard work in the garden. Read on for tips on growing Black Beauty eggplants.
What is a Black Beauty Eggplant?
As one of the most popular cultivars, Black Beauty eggplant info abounds. Dating back to the early 1900s, this variety of open-pollinated and heirloom eggplant has been a favorite for vegetable gardeners throughout decades.
When picked at peak maturity, these large glossy fruits offer impressive yields. Early to mature, Black Beauty eggplants are a well-suited option for those with shorter growing seasons. Additionally, compact and upright plants make them an ideal candidate for container culture.
How to Grow a Black Beauty Eggplant
The process of growing Black Beauty eggplant is very similar to that of growing other varieties of eggplant. First, growers will need to obtain seedlings for transplant into the garden or a package of seed. Since Black Beauty is very popular, it is likely that growers will be able to find these plants at local garden centers.
Eggplants thrive in warm weather and will not tolerate frost. Transplants should not be planted into the garden until all chance of frost has passed. Due to their long growing season and initial slow growth, Black Beauty seed should be started indoors at least 8-10 weeks before the average last frost date.
To sow, fill the trays with seed starting mix. Add one or two seeds to each cell in the seed tray. Place the tray in a warm location and keep it consistently moist until germination takes place. This may take several weeks. For many, germination may be improved with the help of a seed starting warming mat. Once the seeds have germinated, grow them in a sunny window or with grow lights until time to harden off the plants and transplant outdoors.
Select a well-draining and amended garden bed which receives full sunlight or plant in a deep container. Beyond planting, ensure that the area remains weed free. Consistent and frequent watering throughout the season will also help to ensure even growth from plants. Growers living in cooler summer areas may benefit from the use of black landscape fabrics and row covers, as eggplants require a very warm summer climate.