Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) is a popular vegetable crop grown in almost all backyards and school gardens throughout the country. It is used as a vegetable and is a basic ingredient in pinakbet, a popular vegetable stew in the northern part of the country. It is related to the family vegetable of potato, sweet pepper and tomato. It comes in variety of sizes, shape and color, deep-purple-reddish, green, white and even orange. Eggplant is available throughout the year and varieties slightly differ in taste and texture, they hang from the vines just like tomato. Eggplant--provide fiber, antioxidants, potassium, manganese, vitamin B1, B3 and magnesium.
(Source: Vegetables of the Philippines, Date accessed 20 March 2014)
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Grows best with temperature range of 22-32°C. At extreme temperatures of 15°C and below, and 33°C and above, flower fertilization and yield are significantly reduced.
Tolerates drought and excessive rainfall better than its relatives, tomato and pepper.
It can be produced throughout the year, but it is best planted at the tail end of the rainy season. This will coincide with the long dry months of the year, promoting better fruit maturation and harvesting, and avoiding fruit rotting.
Prepare a seedbed, seedbox, or tray.
Mix 1:1:1 garden soil, compost and sand, or 1:1 garden soil and coir dust.
Sterilize by heat, or drench the soil mixture with fungicide solution.
Saturate the soil with water.
Make horizontal rows 5 cm apart.
Sow the seeds in rows. Cover the seeds with soil, put mulch, and water gently (200-300 g of seeds is needed per hectare).
- Prick the seedlings .5 days from seedling emergence, or when the cotyledons have fully opened and true leaves have appeared.
- For pricking in seedbeds, make raised beds 1 m wide.
- Sterilize the soil by drenching with insecticide-fungicide solution to protect the seeds from ants and damping-off.
- Prick the seedlings 5 cm x 5 cm apart.
- Construct polyvinyl plastic or protective structure to protect the seedlings from rain.
- During hot days, provide a shade above the seedbed to protect newly pricked seedlings, and remove the structure as the soon as the seedlings are established to avoid pale and lanky seedlings.
- Pricking could also be done in seedling/plug trays with individual 'cells'. Prick one seedling per 'cell'.
- Reduce watering 1 week before transplanting to harden the seedlings
- Prepare the land thoroughly by mechanical means or with the use of animal-drawn implements.
- Make sure to break big clods of soil.
- Make furrows 75 cm apart.
- Transplant one seedling per hill 3-4 weeks from pricking or 1 week after hardening. Seedlings for transplanting should be 3-4 inches high with 4-6 leaves.
- Transplant seedlings 50-75 cm between hills and 75-100 cm between rows.
- Irrigate the field immediately.
- Transplant during cool or cloudy days, or late in the afternoon to avoid excessive heat during planting.
- Apply organic fertilizer or compost or dried animal manure at the rate of 3-10 t/ha during land preparation and incorporate it well with the soil.
- Fertilizer rate depends on the results of soil analysis.
- Without soil analysis, apply 1 tbsp (15 g) 14-14-14 per hill before or after transplanting, which is equivalent to 8 bags/ha.
- When basally applied, apply fertilizer in holes and cover with a thin layer of soil
- 21-25 days from transplanting, sidedress 2 tbsp (10 g) of a mixture of 2 bags of Urea (46-0-0) and 1 bag Muriate of Potash (0-0-60).
- Repeat sidedressing every month or after every 2-3 harvestings.
- Follow furrow irrigation.
- Irrigate every 10 days during dry season and when needed during rainy season.
- If drainage is poor, construct a canal.
Source: Philippine Council for Agriculture Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD)-DOST, Date accessed 20 March 2014