In the Urals, eggplant is cultivated as an annual plant, although it was "supposed" to be perennial. But for several years, eggplant can afford to grow in a warm homeland, and not in cold Russia. If we count how many garden crops require special conditions due to their origin from the warm southern regions, then the question naturally arises "what would vegetarians in northern countries eat if a few thousand years ago mankind had not domesticated practically inedible plants?" But for our common happiness, the plants were cultivated.
For quite a long time, eggplant was considered to be a conditionally edible plant due to its high solanine content. In Soviet times, when there was only one variety of Almaz eggplants in the assortment and their arrival in the store was either overripe or had been stored for too long, the requirement to peel the eggplant before eating and boil it for some time to remove the bitterness became firmly established in the culinary recipes of the former Soviet Union. ... In addition, the northern regions could only use purchased eggplants. There could be no question of any cultivation of this garden crop in the Trans-Urals.
Everything has changed these days. Eggplant varieties have already been bred that not only do not contain solanine, but are also capable of growing beyond the Urals even in the open field, although only experienced gardeners are still at risk of growing eggplant in this area.
For cultivation in the Urals region, one has to avoid late-ripening varieties that will not have time to grow, choosing suitable varieties among early-ripening or mid-ripening eggplants, taking into account their keeping quality, yield and personal taste preferences, but also grow them through seedlings. Otherwise, eggplants may not have time to grow to the stage of technical ripeness, during which they are edible.
Selection of seeds and soil for seedlings
It is best not to buy eggplant seeds from your hands in the market, as this cannot guarantee their quality and the absence of infection. Reputable brand stores offer quality eggplant seeds suitable for your region. With a careful reading of the annotation, you can yourself draw certain conclusions about the suitability of a particular type of eggplant for growing on your site.
Quite often the microclimate of one area is very different from the microclimate of another. Such a nuance often amazes the gardeners themselves: our tomatoes grow well, but our neighbors constantly disappear, but there is always nowhere to put cucumbers. All that remains is to change the harvest. But at the first attempts to plant certain vegetables, everything will have to be selected empirically. Eggplant is no exception.
Advice! When choosing eggplant seeds, be sure to pay attention to the expiration date.
The best way to buy eggplant seedling is from a store. A ready-made mixture intended for eggplant usually has optimal acidity, air permeability, density, and water permeability.
When choosing the time when you can plant eggplants for seedlings in the Urals, one must remember about recurrent frosts that are not uncommon in this region. Typically, eggplant seedlings are planted permanently from the last week of May to mid-June. Since eggplants grow very slowly in the first half of the growing season, seeds for seedlings are sown from late February to mid-March.
Preparing eggplant seeds
Attention! For planting, seeds of the year before last are better suited, that is, those that have been stored for the second year.
The germination capacity of such seeds is higher than that of annual seeds, and two-year-old seeds germinate faster too.
Before sowing seeds in the ground, it is necessary to decontaminate them and stimulate growth. For disinfection, the seeds must be soaked for half an hour in a 2% solution of potassium permanganate. After disinfection, the seeds are soaked for two hours in a solution of minerals.
If you bought pelleted or inlaid seeds, their preliminary processing is not required. Such seeds are already disinfected and nutrients have been added to their shell.
What is the difference between inlaid seeds and pelleted (granulated) seeds
Recently, quite a few new methods of seed treatment have appeared for better germination. In shops you can find pelleted and inlaid seeds, seeds treated with plasma or laser. The last two methods have not yet been worked out, besides, laser treatment makes sense if you do it no later than 10 days before sowing. It is unlikely that such seeds will appear in retail.
Usually pelleting is carried out with small seeds, making it easier to sow. During this operation, the seeds are layer-by-layer coated with growth stimulants, microelements, drugs for the prevention of diseases. The end result is a ball with a seed in the center.
The recently introduced gel pill, whose purpose is to regulate the flow of water to the seed, has not caused much enthusiasm among many gardeners.
When inlaid, the seeds are covered with a water-soluble shell containing growth stimulants and disinfecting substances. The seed size remains the same as it was. This operation is performed with large seeds; it has been known to farmers for several decades. As a result of incrustation, the seeds are painted in different colors. Often, the manufacturer uses a "corporate" color, confirming that the original seeds are in the package.
Sowing eggplant seeds
For sowing, you must first prepare containers of a sufficiently large size. Since eggplants do not like transplants very much, it is better to plant them immediately in separate containers.
After filling the containers with earth, the soil is slightly spilled and the eggplant seeds are placed to a depth of 1 to 1.5 cm. Sprinkle with earth and watered again.
Someone plants one seed at a time, many prefer to plant two seeds at once and then remove the weak sprout. The second case is a safety net if one of the seeds does not sprout.
After sowing, the seedling containers are covered with foil and placed in a room with a temperature of 25-28 °. After the emergence of seedlings, the film is removed and the temperature is lowered to +17 for two weeks. If the temperature is not lowered, the seedlings will stretch out excessively. Plus, the lower temperature will harden the seedlings. After hardening, you can set the temperature to +27 during the day and 10 degrees lower at night.
Establishing such a regime in the house is not a trivial task. In the video you can see how an experienced gardener from the Northern Urals gets out of the situation.
Although eggplants love moisture, they cannot stand water stagnation. Therefore, eggplant seedlings need watering only after the top layer has dried. The water should be settled and warm. Drainage holes help to avoid stagnation of water in the seedling tanks. In pots specially made for seedlings, such holes are provided initially. When using improvised containers for seedlings such as yogurt cups, cut bottles, egg shells and other things, holes must be made before the container is filled with soil.
Eggplant seedling care
Important! Provide your eggplant seedlings with adequate daylight hours.
Eggplants are light-loving plants. The length of daylight hours for them should be 12 hours, which is impossible in winter in the northern regions. To provide the seedlings with normal growth conditions, it is necessary to additionally illuminate them with fluorescent lamps or phyto lamps specially designed for plants.
For high-quality growing of seedlings, it will be necessary to feed them in the phase of the first leaves and before planting in a permanent place. Usually no more feeding is required, but if the seedlings look sluggish, additional feeding can be done.
With proper cultivation, the seedlings are ready to be transplanted to a permanent place in two months.
But if you planted eggplant seeds in early March, then it may turn out that in May it is still too cool for planting seedlings directly under the open sky, albeit in a warm garden.
It should be noted that although eggplants are considered southern plants, which in the north can only be grown in greenhouse conditions, in fact, in greenhouses they produce green mass instead of fruits, and they bloom and set fruits much better in the open air.
In order to be able to grow eggplants in open beds, but at the same time to avoid the danger of freezing, the seedlings must be gradually accustomed to the cold street air, and it is better to plant them on warm beds under a film shelter. With the onset of warm days, the film is removed and the eggplants are left to grow in the fresh air.
With proper agricultural technology, you will remove the first eggplants in July.