when-to-plant-eggplant

When Is the Best Time to Plant Eggplant

Eggplant (Solanum melongena) is sensitive to cold and grows best between 70°F (21°C) to 85°F (29°C). Its growing season is long and slows down in the cool weather. If you live in a cool region, consider short-season cultivars for successful eggplant harvests. When to plant your eggplantdepends on your region and the cultivar you choose.

When to Start Eggplant Seeds

Grow seeds indoors about eight weeks before the last frost. Place the peat pots or other containers in a warm, south-facing spot. When planting your seeds , place them about three-quarter inch deep in the soil, mixed with organic matter. Water the soil until it’s damp but not saturated. It takes six to eight weeks for your seedlings to develop their root systems, making them ready for planting.

When to Plant Eggplant Transplants

When your seedlings are 6 to 8 inches tall, and the soil is warm, they’re ready to transplant to your garden. Your garden soil can take from two to three weeks to become warm enough for transplants, which is about 60°F (15°C). Prepare your seedlings for living outside by putting them outside during the day and bring them back inside at night for about three days. This hardening off process helps the plants adjust to outdoor temperatures.

How to Increase the Soil Temperature

You can speed up the heating process by covering your garden soil with black plastic mulch several weeks before the transplants are ready for planting. Remove the plastic before you plant the seedlings, and save it for next season. Another option is to grow your eggplants in raised beds where the soil remains warm longer.

Choosing the Best Spot for Planting Eggplants

When you’re ready to transplant your seedlings, choose a site with the best conditions for eggplants to thrive.

  • Full sun
  • Well-drained soil
  • PH level – 6.0 to 6.5

You can apply organic fertilizer to the soil, if your garden doesn’t have the correct PH balance. This will help your plants thrive and resist disease.

Depending on the eggplant varieties that you’re planting, it takes from 55 to 90 days for the seedlings e eggplants to grow mature enough for harvesting. If all goes well, you’ll be harvesting several eggplants weekly during the summer months.