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Chapter 19: Eggplant

19.1 Varieties

Tables of disease resistant varieties
Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management

19.2 Planting Methods

This crop can produce fairly good yields in warm regions of New York, particularly during summers with higher than average temperatures. Eggplant is a moderately deep-rooted, indeterminate, shrubby or bushy plant, and many varieties are self-fertile.

Eggplant grows best between 75° and 85°F. Eggplant is very sensitive to frost and requires a warm, long, growing season. The use of plastic mulch often improves yields. Well-drained, deep, sandy loams are ideal for eggplant because it is a heavy feeder.

Set plants into the field after danger of frost is past and daily average temperatures are between 65° and 70°F. The usual planting dates in New York are May 20 to June 10.

Table 19.2.1 Recommended spacing

Row In-row
4-5' 18"-2

19.3 Fertility

Maintain a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. See Table 19.3.1, below, for the recommended rates of nitrogen,phosphorus, and potassium.

Table 19.3.1 Recommended nutrients based on soil tests for transplants in bare ground.

If using plastic mulch, without fertigation, broadcast and incorporate all fertilizer before laying plastic mulch.

N pounds/acre P2O5 pounds/acre K2O pounds/acre Comments
  Soil Phosphorus Level Soil Potassium Level  
  low med. high low med. high  

130

150 100 50 150 100 50 Total recommended.
40 100 50 0 100 50 0 Broadcast and disk-in.
40 50 50 50 50 50 50 Apply in bands at planting or shortly after and cultivate.
50 0 0 0 0 0 0 Apply 3 weeks after setting.

Table 19.3.2 Recommended nutrients based on soil tests for transplants in plastic mulches with trickle irrigation and fertigation

N pounds/acre P2O5 pounds/acre K2O pounds/acre Comments
  Soil Phosphorus Level Soil Potassium Level  
  low med. high low med. high  
120 150 100 60 150 100 60 Total recommended.
40 90 40 0 90 40 0 Broadcast and disk-in.
20 20 20 20 20 20 20 Apply 1 week after transplanting and every 3-4 weeks thereafter for a total of 4 applications.

19.4 Harvesting

Harvest when the fruit is firm, fully formed, glistening, and the seeds and pulp are white. When the fruit is past prime, it becomes dull, and the seeds turn brown. Cut with a sharp knife or shears. Frequent picking will help ensure higher yields. The skin is tender and easily bruised or punctured, so it should be handled with care.

Store at 50° to 54°F and 90 to 95 percent relative humidity. Young immature fruit may be susceptible to chilling injury at 50°F. Storage life is about one week, but older, mature fruit harvested during cooler weather can store for two weeks or more at 50°F.

19.5 Disease Management

19.5.1 Fruit Rot
19.5.2 Phytophthora Crown or Collar Rot
19.5.3 Verticillium Wilt

 

19.6 Insect Management

19.6.1 Flea Beetle
19.6.2 Colorado Potato Beetle
19.6.3 Aphids
19.6.4 Two Spotted Spider Mites

 

19.7 Weed Management

 

Websites

Maintained by Abby Seaman, New York State IPM Program. Last modified 2019.