Updated: Oct 6, 2021
Eggplant can be eaten raw, cooked, or grilled. It's flavorful and slightly sweet with a firm texture. Growing eggplant in containers is not difficult when you know how to grow it properly. You will need some basic information about soil type, water requirements, sunlight requirements, and how to start eggplants from seed for success. I have added all of the important information below so you can learn how to grow eggplants in pots!
Choosing The Pot
If you plan on growing eggplants from seed, it's important to first determine how big your pot should be. Use a pot/container that can hold at least one gallon of soil and water per plant.
If the pot is too small, there won't be enough room for new roots to spread out without crushing them against the sides or bottom of the pot. A smaller size will also mean less space in which to grow larger plants later on if necessary, so make sure you get pots with ample height for when they're fully grown and have plenty of sunlight during warmer months - otherwise, they may not produce any fruit!
Starting Eggplant Seeds
How to Germinate Eggplant Seeds
Using soil blocks is an excellent way to start your seeds. Make your soil blocks, add them to a clear plastic container, and place them in a sunny location or under grow lights. Using a plastic container with a lid will create condensation so your seeds will stay moist and they will not need to be watered continually. Doing this will ensure that your seedlings will not be leggy when they germinate because they will have light soon after germination. When seedlings don't get the sunlight or grow light, they will grow tall and skinny. These will not be healthy or strong seedlings.
Using a heat mat will also help your seedlings to germinate. Tomato seeds germinate best in temperatures from 75 degrees to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Preparing The Soil Mix
Eggplant is a plant that needs soil with good drainage and aeration. They don't like to be in wet or waterlogged soils, but also can't tolerate extreme dryness either. A light potting mix containing sand, peat moss (or compost), and perlite mixed at a ratio of about one part each will work well for eggplants grown indoors on a sunny windowsill.
I prefer to make a soil mix myself, but you may also choose a good potting soil. I like Happy Frog Potting Soil. It's essential to make sure you use a potting mix if you buy soil. Buying potting soil will get expensive. Well-draining soil is vital for growing in pots. Eggplants need well-draining loamy soil rich in organic matter.
A good soil mixture is one part compost, one part coco coir, and one part perlite. I add six tablespoons of greensand, six tablespoons of bone meal, six tablespoons of blood meal, and three tablespoons of azomite to the mix. This is what I use for a five-gallon container.
Eggplant requires six hours of sunlight each day to grow. If planted in the ground, eggplants can be grown with little or no additional light requirements but when growing them indoors they need a significant amount of direct sun exposure for healthy growth and production. Research shows that plants will not produce fruit if under-exposed to natural daylight.
The water requirements for eggplant in a container are the same as those required by other vegetables that grow in pots. The soil should be moistened when you place your finger an inch down into the soil and if it's dry then water.
Eggplant Growing Tips
- You can grow eggplants from seed in containers or directly into the soil.
- Container growing requires more attention because you will need to water often and monitor for bugs that are attracted by the wetness of plants inside pots/containers of standing water - they lay eggs on leaves then hatch larvae quickly spreading diseases (for example aphids).
How to Eat Eggplant
Eggplants can be eaten raw in a salad, grilled as an appetizer or side dish, and cooked for soups. The most common way of eating eggplant is fried with the skin on so that it's soft and crispy at the same time. Slice lengthwise into halves, drop-in buttermilk batter (or some other type) dredge through flour then fry until golden brown. Eggplant can also be mashed to make baba ghanoush which is great served with pita bread like naan or more often Syrian lahmajoon flatbreads. But don't worry if you're not feeling creative just yet-eggplant has many culinary uses beyond frying!
- The nutritional content of an eggplant varies by size and type.
- Eggplants are rich in vitamin C, calcium, copper, potassium, and manganese.
- They contain high amounts of the antioxidants anthocyanins which can protect against several diseases including heart disease and cancer through their free radical scavenging properties as well as their ability to improve blood flow.
- Eggplant is a low-calorie food, as one eggplant only has about 36 calories.
- The vegetable is also a great source of fiber and contains no fat or cholesterol.
- Eggplants are believed to help with digestion, sleep problems, coughs, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome as well as regulating high blood pressure levels in the body.
Growing eggplants in containers is a great way to make use of all the space you have. The best part about this project? You can harvest your own fresh produce without having to do any weeding! Eggplant offers many health benefits, including being rich in antioxidants and fiber. If you are growing eggplants this year, let us know what kind of container system you used or if they’ve been successful for you so far. I love hearing from any readers and would be happy to help answer any gardening questions that come up.
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