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Botanical Characteristics Of Eggplants, Growing Conditions
Botanical Characteristics Of Eggplants, Growing Conditions

Video: Botanical Characteristics Of Eggplants, Growing Conditions

Video: Botanical Characteristics Of Eggplants, Growing Conditions
Video: 5 Eggplant Growing Tips To Grow Lots Of Eggplants 2023, October

In recent years, there has been a marked increase in interest in the eggplant, a typically southern plant, in collective horticulture.

To obtain high and guaranteed yields of eggplants (popularly also called "blue") during their growing season, the sum of average daily air temperatures above 15 ° C is not less than 120 ° C.

It is possible to provide eggplant plants with such a temperature in our conditions, only using the seedling method and indoor ground.

But even in this case, there is not always success. To master the agrotechnics of eggplant well in the conditions of the Leningrad Region, one must know well the history of this culture, its biological characteristics and requirements for the main factors of life.

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History of culture


Eggplant is native to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia, in particular India. At the beginning of our era, eggplants were introduced to China and Arabia, mainly as a medicinal crop. Eggplants in Southern Europe appeared in the XIII-XIV centuries.

In Central Europe, they became widespread only in the 17th century, but they quickly spread. Eggplants entered Russia from Central Asia and the Caucasus. The period of their penetration from these regions into the southern Russian plain apparently dates back to the beginning of the 18th century.

S. G. Gmelin (1777) wrote that in 1770 in Astrakhan "in great numbers they breed badynzhana or demianoks". V. Tatishchev (1793) also writes about the industrial culture of eggplants in Astrakhan.

The first description of these vegetables in Russian will be given by A. T. Bolotov (1784). In the 19th century, the eggplant culture was widely developed near Odessa, especially with the opening of the aqueduct in 1865 and the organization of irrigation fields (1888).

N. I. Kichunov (1910) indicates that two varieties of eggplants were bred there: early Odessa, ripening by July 1, and Bulgarian semi-long - by August 1. They were sown in two terms - at the end of January and 20 February.

According to A. S. Kvartsov (1914), eggplants appeared in the markets of Moscow and St. Petersburg in the 80s of the XIX century in connection with the construction of railways.

Now eggplants are widely grown throughout the southern part of Russia, especially in the canning zones of the Krasnodar, Stavropol Territories, Volgograd and Rostov Regions, in Dagestan, and also in the Crimea. They are grown in small volumes in the Kursk, Voronezh and other regions of the middle lane.


Already in the late 30s and early 40s of the XX century, eggplants were grown in the open field, using seedlings. With the massive development of amateur gardening in the Leningrad Region, they became part of the main structure of indoor crops. Interest in eggplants continues to grow with the emergence of new original varieties and recommendations on agricultural techniques for their cultivation in light and thermal conditions of the region.

The wide distribution and popularity of eggplants is associated with their high taste qualities: the fruits are used as an independent dish in the form of canned food. Caviar is made from them, stuffed, pickled, fried in slices, so-called sote is made. The fruits are dried, salted; in the south, salted eggplants are replacing salted mushrooms; among the peoples of Central Asia and the Caucasus, they are very widely used in various national dishes.

The taste of eggplant is due to the presence of a small amount of sugar and solanine M. In the phase of consumer ripeness, fruits contain 6-11% of dry matter, i.e. more than tomatoes. The share of sugars is 2.5-4%, of which 1.7-2.7% glucose, 0.4-1% fructose and some sucrose. In addition, they contain 1.0-2.0% fiber, 0.6-1.4% protein, 0.1-0.4% fat, a small amount of salt, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and iron. Eggplant fruits contain a small amount of vitamins.

A specific property of fruits is the presence of bitterness in them, which increases as they ripen. It is given to the fruits by the substance found in them - solanine M. But now such varieties of eggplants have already appeared that are almost devoid of this property. In fruits with a pure white color of the flesh, solanine is absent.

By the way, eating eggplant helps lower blood cholesterol.

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Botanical characteristic


Eggplant belongs to the same botanical family of nightshades as paprika, tomato, physalis, tobacco, nightshade, potatoes. Therefore, in order to prevent diseases and pests, these crops cannot be grown one after the other. Eggplants are grown as an annual plant. In tropical countries, they can be perennial.

The root system of eggplant is more powerful than that of pepper, it is highly branching, but it is also located mainly in the surface horizon of the soil with a depth of 30-40 cm, which should be taken into account when processing the site. The stem is strong, branching, woody from 50-60 days of age. Plant height ranges from 25 to 70 cm, depending on the variety and growing conditions. The pubescence of the stem and branches is weak in some varieties, and strong in others.

The leaves are large, from oval to oblong-ovoid. The color of stems and leaves ranges from green, slightly lilac to dark purple. Flowers are single or clustered in clusters (2 to 5 flowers), large, drooping. Corolla from light lilac to dark purple in color. Anthers yellow, leathery, two-chambered, opening in the upper part during pollen maturation. The upper part of the anthers in most flowers is at the same level with the stigma of the pistil. Thanks to this arrangement of flowers, eggplants can have complete self-pollination, especially since heavy pollen is far from being carried by the wind.

At the same time, their flowers are eagerly visited by insects, which provide partial pollination of plants of this variety and others grown nearby.

The fruit (berry) is large - from 40 to 1000 grams, it has a wide variety of shapes - from round, pear-shaped to cylindrical. The color of the standard varieties in technical ripeness is from light purple to dark purple. In seed ripeness, the fruits brighten, acquiring a color from gray-green to brownish-yellow. There are also white-fruited, yellow-fruited and red-fruited forms, but they are not widespread in production.

For food, fruits are used in technical ripeness, approximately at the age of 25-40 days (after setting), when they reach the size, color inherent in the variety, and the seeds in the fruits have not yet hardened. It is not advisable to harvest very young, underdeveloped fruits, otherwise the yield may sharply decrease. Small specimens are harvested only before autumn frosts. Fruits in seed ripeness become hard and bitter due to the accumulation of solanine.

Eggplant requirements for growing conditions


Temperature and light. Compared to tomatoes and even peppers, eggplants are more heat demanding. The best temperature for their development is from 18 to 30 ° C degrees Celsius. The growing season is long - 130-180 days from germination to seed ripening.

The optimum temperature for seed germination is + 22..26 ° C. At lower temperatures, eggplant seeds will not germinate.

In order for the seedlings to strengthen, it is recommended to lower the temperature to 13-16 degrees for the first 3-4 days after the emergence of seedlings. Then the seedlings and seedlings should be brought up under the same regime: the air temperature on sunny days should be brought to + 20-26 ° С, on cloudy days - up to + 15-20 ° С, and at night it should be lowered to + 12-15 ° С. Soil temperature is considered favorable from 10 to 20C. Glasses in greenhouses and greenhouses must always be clean. From lack of light, and especially at high temperatures, the seedlings stretch out and die.

When eggplant seedlings are grown in the early winter-spring period, it is recommended to bring the length of daylight hours to 10-12 hours. This is achieved by electrolighting it for 3-4 weeks. This technique further has a very positive effect on the formation of ovaries.

Since eggplants originate from southern latitudes and are adapted to high light intensity with a predominance of short-wave blue-violet radiation, they are already sensitive to this light in the first period after germination. The high intensity of light, achieved by illumination with xenon lamps for 16 hours a day, accelerated the development of eggplants.

Humidity of soil and air. Eggplants require high soil moisture - about 80% of its absolute moisture capacity. With such humidity, root nutrition of plants is more intensive. In order for the roots to receive a sufficient amount of air necessary for their life, the soil should be kept in a loose state. With a lack of moisture in the soil, growth slows down, the stems quickly become woody, and the productivity of plants decreases. At the same time, excess moisture, especially in cold, dry weather and with compacted soil, leads to the fact that eggplants not only in sheltered but also in open ground suffer from blackleg and other fungal diseases.

Regular and sufficient watering of the eggplant promotes better ovary formation and fruit growth. Even with short-term drying of the soil, buds, flowers and ovaries fall off. Eggplants require more watering than peppers.

The best relative humidity for eggplants is 65 to 75%.

With its increase, the incidence of plants increases.

Taking into account the named biological features of eggplant and observing the above-described thermal and light conditions, it is advisable to water these plants (especially in greenhouses) from 9 to 11 am. The best result is given by watering not the plants, but the soil.

Soil nutrition conditions

Eggplant has a high requirement for nutrients. The soil for them should be structural, light, well-ventilated, rich in organic matter.

Eggplants tolerate slightly increased soil acidity more easily than peppers. Still, they give the best results on soils close to neutral in acidity. Eggplants respond well to the application of organic and mineral fertilizers, especially to the introduction of rotted manure and humus. They consume more nitrogen than peppers, and therefore more should be added.

Nitrogen applied in top dressing is better used to form the eggplant crop than nitrogen of the main fertilizer. With a lack of nitrogen, the growth of all vegetative organs of the plant (leaves, stems, roots) slows down sharply; leaves first brighten and then turn yellow-brown. If nitrogen feeding is not given in a timely manner, the leaves will fall off, the plants will weaken and the yield will decrease.

However, it is not recommended to over-feed the eggplants with nitrogen fertilizers, since this may slow down fruit formation with a very powerful development of leaves and stems.

Eggplant should be well supplied with phosphorus. These fertilizers promote root growth, the formation of generative organs, and accelerate fruit ripening. With a lack of phosphorus in the soil, eggplants stop growing, becoming stunted as a result, the buds fall off, the ovaries develop poorly. Phosphorus nutrition for eggplants is necessary throughout the growing season. But feeding plants with superphosphate is especially necessary at their early age. Phosphate fertilizers in the soil often turn into sparingly soluble and, consequently, salts that are inaccessible to plants; in this regard, it is better to add superphosphate in granular form, and not in powder form.

Eggplant is very picky about potassium nutrition. Potassium fertilizers promote a more active accumulation of carbohydrates (starch, sugar), and also increase the resistance of eggplants to fungal diseases. This element is necessary throughout the life of the plant, but especially during the formation of stems and ovaries. With a lack of potassium, the growth of eggplants slows down, brown spots appear on the edges of the leaves and on the fruits; the leaves are wrapped inward and then dry out.

Eggplant and calcium salts are required. When growing them in greenhouses, especially when there is a lack of light, it is necessary to add about 50 grams of lime per square meter.

In addition to the nutrients listed above, which are applied to the site in relatively large doses, eggplants also need so-called microelements: salts of iron, manganese, boron, magnesium and some others.

The most valuable fertilizer available to every vegetable grower is wood ash, which contains a large set of trace elements.

Causes of falling flowers and ovaries. The fall of flowers and ovaries in eggplants is very common. There are various reasons. This may be too low or very high air temperature, lack of light, dry soil and a number of other reasons. For example, at a low air temperature (8 … 10 ° C) and soil in the initial growing season, plant growth stops, which causes buds to fall off.

In the summer, when the air temperature for several days is kept at the level of 30 … 35 ° C and higher, there is a massive fall of buds, flowers and ovaries. Strong shading of plants leads to the same result, which is especially dangerous when cold weather sets in, when the flow of organic matter to the generative organs is sharply reduced and the light-absorbing activity of plants is weakened.

Irregular watering, temporary dryness of the soil also affects the dropping of flowers and ovaries. The same happens with a sharp transition from a cold spring to a hot dry summer with a high air temperature.

Achievements of eggplant breeding and recommended assortment for the Leningrad region

The success of eggplant breeding in Russia is mainly associated with the use of a unique local assortment, which is represented by three main genetic sources. The first source is the centuries-old varieties of the republics of Transcaucasia and Central Asia, distinguished by a tall green bush and mainly long, sausage-like fruits. The second source is Bulgarian varieties. These are mainly varieties with cylindrical and elongated pear-shaped fruits and a rather tall green bush. The third, the most recent source was the East Asian early ripening varieties of the Delicates type, which came to us through Manchuria.

A large role belongs to the collection of VIR, which introduced a large amount of source material on this culture.

This made it possible, in a relatively short time, to solve the main priority directions of eggplant breeding in Russia: obtaining early ripening varieties, cold-resistant, which made it possible to promote this culture to the more northern regions of the country. The selection for the cylindrical shape of the fruit with sufficient yield has been solved. Large-fruited high-yielding varieties with short and wide fruits have been created. Breeding for disease resistance, low seeds and elimination of bitterness in fruits is successfully solved.

There are more than 30 varieties and hybrids of eggplant in the State Register of Breeding Achievements of the Russian Federation.

For the light zone of the Leningrad region, varieties that give a good harvest in film greenhouses are of interest, since these protective structures are the most common and accessible for most vegetable growers in the region.

Among them are the varieties: Alekseevsky, Almaz, Albatross, Vera, Vikar, Dolphin, Long purple, Don Quixote, Comet, Swan, Maria, Sailor, Robin Hood, Sancho Panza, Lilac fog, Precocious, Solaris, Universal 6, Black Beauty, Czech Early; F1 hybrids: Amethyst, Bagheera, Behemoth, Lolita, Maksik, Pelican, Ping Pong, Violet Miracle. The yield of these varieties and hybrids reaches 4-6 kg / m².

Read the next part. Growing eggplants in greenhouses, pest control →