Eggplants like their lives warm and sunny (don’t we all?). They also like humidity and moisture, which means they need a few stars to align to be perfectly happy.
First, they want to be planted in full sun, so they stay warm as long as possible during the day. Second, they want moisture-retaining soil so they don’t dry out, and third, they want consistent watering, again, so they don’t try out. Without sun and water, you’ll have a crop of tiny bitter eggplants, and nobody wants that! Let’s talk about all of this more specifically.
Eggplant should be planted in full sun because they need at least six hours of sunlight per day. Pick the sunniest area in your garden, or on your porch, because nobody likes sun more than eggplants. You can also hack the sun by planting next to a reflective white wall or fence, which will bounce more sunlight onto the plants.
The soil should always stay moist, but not soggy, because like any plant they can still get root rot in soggy soil. Like most plants, eggplants like soil that is rich in organic matter, so compost is necessary. To keep the soil moist, it’s recommended that you add an inch or two of mulch around your plants to retain moisture in your soil. As a rule, eggplants need to be watered at least 1 inch every week.
At the beginning of the season, the best way to prepare your soil is with new compost and fresh fertilizer. It will kick off your eggplants on the right path. Eggplants will appreciate a 10-10-10 fertilizer, and it’s worth checking your soil because if it’s already rich in nitrogen, you’ll want to feed them less. Too much nitrogen will give you lots of big leaves, but no fruits.
The same applies to tomatoes, and in fact, tomato fertilizers work great on eggplants. You can apply fertilizers that are powdered or pellets in between rows or around the base of your eggplant stalks. You can also get foliar feeding fertilizers, which are sprays you can apply to the leaves. Any plants that have large leaves can use this alternative form of fertilizing.
As for the pH, you’re looking for soil pH of 5.5 to 7.0, which is what eggplants need to thrive.
How do you grow your eggplants? Have you had your soil tested or do you do it yourself? Please tell us your tips and tricks for growing great eggplants!