help with eggplant
I tried to post this in the tomato gardening subforum of this site, they suggested I post in the vegetable gardening forum.
This is my first year growing eggplant, so really not too familiar with growing it. The foliage was ravaged by aphids; they haven't gone after the fruit.
I know that eggplant is a warm weather vegetable, but isn't it true that if the temperatures become too hot, it's not conducive for producing fruit, it will stress the plant out, and the biological response of the plant is to drop their blossoms, either blossom drop and/or the blossoms dropping prematurely?
I'm using an 18-18-21 fertilizer, Miracle Gro for tomatoes; I figured it would work for eggplant too, since eggplants and tomatoes have similar fertilization needs.
The soil was drying up very quickly, so I applied a layer of pine bark mulch. It has been very hot lately, so I've been watering twice a day.
I've noticed via observation that eggplants set buds, then the blossoms open, then they stay there for a certain amount of time, then they shrivel up and drop off, and there is an immature fruit.
Unfortunately I'll have new blossoms, that will drop off prematurely; there will be fruit there, but it's very tiny in comparison to the fruit that shows up on the blossoms that shrivel up and die naturally.
Please note, that I don't need a diagnosis as to what this is, because I know what it is. I know it's not blossom end drop, because with blossom end drop, the blossom end drops and there is no fruit where the blossom was. I realize that blossom dropping prematurely and blossom drop are similar but they're not the same thing.
I need advice as to what to do, and how to prevent this in the future. I'm at a loss of what to do, because I'm watering them frequently, fertilizing, and have treated the soil with mulch to help the plants conserve water.
However I'm still having blossoms drop prematurely. The blossoms that have dropped prematurely and have the tiny, immature eggplant, will I still be able to get a harvest from them? That is, will they still mature?