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help with eggplant

Posted by kawaiineko_gardener 5a (jesusbeloved29@yahoo.com) on
Thu, Jul 21, 11 at 19:43

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?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: help with eggplant

By your zome I wexpect you to somewhere in the frozen north lands. Eggplant likes heat and loves high temeratures and high humidity. Does not like low humidity tho. You may be using too much fertilizer, or your foliage may have sustained too much damage from the aphids. You did not mention variety and that can make a big difference. Eggplant is about as carefree as any vegetable, so you could be fussing over it too much. You do not want them to mature. Eggplant are used young like cucumbers. A mature one is inedible.
Fond May Fond May


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RE: help with eggplant

I was told that in hot weather you need to water the plants more frequently, that's what I've been doing, but it's only been very recently (last 1-2 weeks cause the weather has been in high 80's low-to-mid 90's).

The only other thing I've been doing is fertilizing weekly; this is because the soilless mixture I use doesn't have any fertilizer in it. I'm very confused with people saying you're fertilizing too much when if you don't fertilize adequately, you get no blossoms set, and no/little fruit.

Somebody suggested that I use floating row covers to prevent insects, but does this really work or is it just a gimmick? I'm debating using them, but how long should they be kept on the plants, until they set blossoms? Will they make the temperatures too high? I honestly don't know, as I've never used them, that's why I'm asking.


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RE: help with eggplant

It sounds like too much water and way to much fertilizer. I ususally only fertilize one time in the vegetable garden-when I plant it. It takes awhile for the fertilizer to break down. Why don't you stick your fingers in the soil first to see if it needs water. It gets to 95 down here and we only water every day or so.


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RE: help with eggplant

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.

There is no such thing as "blossom end drop". There is "blossom drop" and "blossom end rot (BER)" but they are two totally different conditions.

Then there is the condition called "inadequate/insufficient pollination".

All three conditions can exist on the same plant in various stages IF that plant is exceptionally stressed and while they all have different contributing factors, they all share 2 of the same possible causes - excessively high air temperatures and/or humidity and excessive use of nitrogen fertilizer.

Given the weather of late the most likely cause of any and all symptoms is the heat and humidity. While hand pollination can help with the inadequate pollination issues under normal circumstances, it cannot help during periods of high heat/humidity because the pollen itself isn't viable.

All of these three conditions/situations - blossom drop, blossom end rot, and inadequate pollination - have detailed FAQ about them here.

Dave


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RE: help with eggplant

18-18-21 is too strong dose of fertilizer.Cut it to half. As the plant is maturing to flowering and fruiting stage it may not need strong dose of fertilizer.There is a way to know when to water egg plants.As soon as the leaves start wilting water it.From now on water at such intervals so that wilting does not take place.Egg plants have high rate of losing water by transpiration compared to Okra.Check about wilting of leaves on both plants.You will find that under identical watering and fertilizing condition egg plant begins to wilt earlier than okra.Don't let egg plant leaves wilt due to lack of water.
Good luck.


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RE: help with eggplant

Once again I have ideas as to why this is happening, I just need suggestions as to how to remedy it. Not trying to come off as snippy, rude etc. I'm just clarifying what and how I need help with it.

I have to water twice a day because not only is the weather hot, but I do container gardening; with container gardening the soil dries out more quickly in comparison to growing stuff in the ground.


This is going to sound like a really stupid question but what exactly do you mean by cut to half? Do you mean dilute the fertilizer by half? It's a liquid fertilizer and normally you do 1 tablespoon mixed with a gallon of water.

If the solution is diluted, then how much fertilizer would I mix with the water? Would I just do a gallon of water with a 1/2 tablespoon of the fertilizer or....sorry I'm not very good with ratios and proportions.

Can you suggest a weaker fertilizer with the numbers; if so please let me know what type of fertilizer I should know with the numbers. If an 18-18-21 is too strong for the eggplant, then what sort should I use?

I realize it should be high in potassium and phosphorus as far as the numbers go, but I could use suggestions with this.

I'm a little confused about the watering issue because people say a possibility as to why this is happening is that I'm overwatering, but then if I cut back on watering, the plants wilt, which is also something I'm supposed to avoid.

Does anybody know of eggplant varieties that will yield heavily even under stress? By 'stress' I mean stuff I don't have control over, such as lack-of-pollination and temperature extremes (being too hot, too cold).


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RE: help with eggplant

Maybe you should ask over at the Container Gardening forum. I think that the needs of veggies grown in containers are different. Some things just don't do well in containers. But, I suspect that you are asking in the wrong place perhaps. (sorry)


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RE: help with eggplant

I am using 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer.If you dilute concentration of 18-18-21 fertilizer you are using to half it will be 9-9-10.5 which is closer to what I am using.All most all varieties of egg plants produce satisfactory crop.I like ichiban and Bhartha (Solanium melongena).You may Google for the seed vendors.


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RE: Eggplant pics

Pic. of eggplant in container.Egg plant with fruits

Eggplant ready to harvest from this container.Eggplant fruit ready for picking


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RE: help with eggplant

How large are your containers? I have eggplant here in a 5 gallon smart pot and I water every day only when it's very hot (and it has been). But I've never seen the soil dried out or the plant wilted. I think twice a day is too much. If your pots are drying out even with one watering a day, they may be too small.

I also think you are fertilizing too much, even for a container plant. I started mine with just some composted manure in the potting mix (which also makes the mix thicker and better able to retain moisture) and then just some slow release a few weeks later.

I would try a larger pot (I love the smart pots, they are much better than plastic pots) and a thicker potting mix to help retain moisture so you don't have to water as much or use as much fertilizer.


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RE: help with eggplant

Cant advise ya cause I'm a newbie at containers but I do have two Black Beauty EPs in 5-1-1 mix in 18 gal tote. I put some granular fert in with the mix and have giving them water mixed from bagged manure(composted). Ihave picked 6-8 big fruit and there are 10 more half grown fruit growing as I type. I did start out with MG halved to 12-4-8. They took off with the manure water.


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RE: help with eggplant

I have two eggplants being grown in an 18 gallon storage container. Not to be rude, but I still don't understand how I dilute the fertilizer. I'm using 1 gallon water mixed with 1 tablespoon fertilizer; how would I cut this in half, as in how much fertilizer would I reduce it to per gallon of water?

Or should I just make a half batch of the fertilizer? Basically 1/2 gallon water mixed with 1/2 tablespoon water?

As stated before, I'm really bad with ratios and proportions.


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RE: help with eggplant

Not to be rude, but I still don't understand how I dilute the fertilizer. I'm using 1 gallon water mixed with 1 tablespoon fertilizer; how would I cut this in half,

You'd put 1/2 tablespoon of fertilizer in a gallon of water or you can put 1 tablespoon of fertilizer in 2 gallons of water or you can put 2 tablespoons of fertilizer in 4 gallons of water, etc. etc. It is just simple math.

Dave


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RE: help with eggplant

I didn't realize you were container gardening. That would take alot more water.


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