Aubergine 'Emerald Isle F1' is a unique variety bred specifically for container production. Its compact habit makes it a perfect choice for mixed flower and vegetable planters.
Traditional eggplants can be tall and require staking and are difficult to handle at times as they are thorny. Emerald Isle stays compact and does not require staking and is thornless unless stressed, making it much easier to handle and harvest.
These smaller fruited varieties are easily grown in containers. Make sure your container is large enough and keep it well watered. In cooler climates, growing aubergines in containers is a good option as they can be moved to a protected spot whenever a cold spell threatens.
'Emerald Isle F1' is a prolific variety that yields pale green fruits with dark green veining. The oval shaped fruits which average 50 grams (2oz) should be harvested when they are approximately 7 to 10cm (3 to 4in) in size. Growing to a height of 55cm (22in) and a spread of 45cm (18in) they mature in just 60 to 65 days. This attractive variety provide a colorful alternative to the usual purple fruits.
The fruits have a tasty bitter-free flavour and do not need to be salted before cooking. Emerald Isle is versatile. It can be cubed and added to casseroles or stews or it can be sliced and grilled.
Sowing: Sow January to April for growing under glass or March to April for planting outdoors
Whilst Aubergine is a Tender Perennial, it is cultivated as an Annual.
Seeds are typically started eight to ten weeks prior to the anticipated frost-free date.
Soaking the seeds in warm water 24hrs prior to sowing aids germination.
Sow 6mm (¼in) deep into 9cm pots containing a moist seed compost and “just cover” with a sprinkling of compost or vermiculite (do not exclude light as this helps germination)
Place in a propagator or warm place, and keep at a constant temperature of 20 to 25°C (68-77°F). Keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged; germination will take between 8 to 21 days Transplant seedlings carefully while quite small into 15cm (5in) pots and grow on at 18-21°C (65-70°F).
For Outdoor Crops:
Acclimatise plants to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days. Plant out into sheltered site when all risk of frost has passed and the soil is warm. Plant 45cm (18in) apart in rows 90 to 120cm (3 to 4ft) apart. Aubergines grow well outside, but need gradual acclimatising to the more varied conditions.
A brilliant tip for this: enclose a block of plants, spaced about 60cm (2ft) apart in each direction, within a box of straw bales. These provide a brilliantly cheap but effective windbreak. If a cold night is forecast, simply drape fleece over the bales and anchor it with bricks.
For Greenhouse Crops:
Grow as above, but transplant into in 20cm (8in) pots or growing bags.
Stake as you would for tomatoes. Provide plenty of water, especially in dry weather.
Black plastic mulch is helps to warm the soil, prevent weeds and conserve moisture.
Feed every 14 days with high potash (tomato) fertiliser once the first fruits have set. Cease feeding when fruits are fully formed. Mist the foliage regularly with tepid water to discourage red spider mite and to help flower set.
The flowers are relatively unattractive to bees and the first blossoms often do not set fruit. Hand pollination will improve the set of the first blossoms. Tap flowers daily to assist pollination. Remove the main tip/growing point when plants are 30cm (12in) high.
Harvest: 75 days to harvest
First harvests can be made from the early sowings from July onwards. Harvest at their desired size, but while fruits are still shiny and young. Fruits are typically cut from the vine just above the calyx owing to the semi-woody stems.
Pick regularly or plants will need further support to support the weight of the fruit.
Freezing is the best method for home preservation.
Harvest before seeds become mature and when colour is uniformly dark.
Although we think of aubergines as being a vegetable they are technically a fruit. This is because the aubergine we eat is the ripened ovary of the flower.
Other fruits disguised as vegetables include the tomato, peppers, courgette and closely related to the courgette, the cucumber, pumpkin and squash.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 10 Seeds Common Name Patio Eggplant Other Common Names Apple of Love, Poor Man's Caviar Other Language Names Brinjal, Melongene, Guinea Squash Family Solanaceae Genus Solanum Species melongena Cultivar Emerald Isle F1 Hardiness Tender Perennial Height 55cm (22in) Spread 45cm (18in) Spacing Outdoors: Plant 45cm (18in) apart in rows 90 to 120cm (3 to 4ft) apart.
Greenhouse: Transplant into in 20cm (8in) pots or growing bags.
Position Full Sun Time to Sow January to April for growing under glass or March to April for planting outdoors Germination 8 to 21 days at 20 to 25°C (68 to 77°F) Harvest Harvest at their desired size, but while fruits are still shiny and young. Time to Harvest 78 Days Notes Cultivated as an Annual