Very small eggplant and pepper harvest this year

robinemcdAugust 26, 2012

I have beautiful lush eggplant and pepper plants in one of our raised beds. We use black plastic mulch and have a soaker hose under that to water them. For the second year in a row our eggplant harvest has been dismal. The plants are beautiful but are producing very few flowers and the ones that are produced seem to be falling off. I am wondering if I might be taking too good care of them - too much rich compost - that is encouraging them to produce foliage and not fruit? This year the same thing is happening with the peppers.

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I'm having absolutely the best year ever for peppers and tomatoes - don't do eggplant - and I attribute it in large part to digging superphosphate into the soil before planting.

The trouble with compost is you don't know exactly what the nutrients are and in what proportion.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 9:42AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

You don't indicate your zone or where you live - that is important information since we have no way of knowing if what we reply applies to you or not.

But black plastic mulch has one chronic problem. It can cook the roots by making the soil too hot. In the warmer zones that is a very real issue. Which is why most of us, once the soil temp has reached 75 either remove it or cover the plastic with straw or hay or such to keep the plant roots from being cooked.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 11:25AM
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I am sorry....I am in zone 4b. I use the black IRF plastic to warm the soil before planting at the beginning of June. Then I cover with slitted row cover until the plants begin to bud or the outgrow the row cover.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 5:56PM
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It sounds to me that your soil may just be too rich in nitrogen. Eggplants are fairly demanding of nitrogen though (compared to peppers).
What variety of eggplant is it? Some are less productive than others. Italian bell types can be finicky to grow. In zone 2b, I pretty much use the same growing practices as you but stick to Oriental types. One exception is Rosa Bianca in my experience, a fairly dependable Italian eggplant and very tasty as well.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 6:24PM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

eggplants need a lot of time and heat to put on. It was sure hot enough this year (in 4b too I'm assuming -?),

I've gotten loads and loads of eggplant - mostly from 1 plant, the only one to come through from my early planting in January. When I finally put it into the ground, it was in a 2 gal container, and was about 2' high. The minute the heat hit, it started, and hasn't stopped. I could have just done with this one, and had enough.

When did you start yours? What kind of temps do you have now? Eggplants don't like to go under 70, 65 as the lowest, per my readings.

my later plantings are just starting, 2 plants only with the flowers......

From now on, I'm starting seeds in Feb at the latest for eggplant....but need quite a few of the larger containers.....

it was pretty tough to transplant that big guy, lol!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 11:01AM
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