I'm in Zone 5 and would like to winter sow eggplants. Has anybody done this? Is there a enough growing season for eggplants. The maturity is anywhere between 80-90 days.
Eggplants do not like the cold. You should start them indoors, and then move outside when it is warm enough in the garden, or in a greenhouse if you have one. I have eggplant growing on a shelf under lights and they will be ready to go to the greenhouse soon!! Eggplant loves heat !!! So, cold anything is bad for it. =) They also take a bit longer to get going, so start them now in the house. I put the tray on top of my dryer for heat, as they germinate faster with good heat under them. They do not germinate well in cool soil. I hope this helps.
If you have started them indooors in zone 4, isn't that too early? What kind of dryer? Is it cloth dryer? If that's case, dryer is only on for few hours every week.
I'm in zone 6, so maybe my experience would be different from yours, but I winter sow eggplant every year. I like to try a different variety every year and have success winter-sowing them. I usually start them in late March or into April.
For my zone 4 garden I start eggplant in a greenhouse the same time as tomato, middle of April that is. I am transplanting them to the garden early June. They producing eggplants from early August till middle September (pretty much till cool nights occur). I usually get about 2-3 "fruits" from each plant.
I am in Zone 5 in Canada and I start my eggplants indoors with my tomatoes in April, usually late April. I germinate all my indoor grown plants in coffee filters on top of my TV receiver. They get lots of heat there. When they have a good root system I transplant to my small pots and put under lights. Many gardeners use the top of the refrigerator for sprouting. It does not feel warm to us, but it does work.
Many have mentioned about how we need warmth to germinate seeds.
I'm thinking about sowing seeds in Milk jugs, set/wrap the jugs on insulation and put it in basement...this should warm up the soil by 10-20 degrees, considering basement temperature is 60F in basement in Mid april, jug temperature could be 75-80F. Do you think this is going to work?
Has anyone tried setting the milk jugs on top of refrigerator? Once they germinate, you can move them outside when it is sunny and bring them inside during night, till the outside weather warms me.