Sowing Aubergines Early

Tue, 31/01/2017 - 09:30 -- Life at No.27
Sowing Aubergines Early

Aubergines, the exotic Indian origin vegetable that pushes the boundaries of the conditions we can provide in the UK. Give them the right protection and they will reward you with plenty of quirky looking glossy beauties for months.

Annabelle is a successful freelance writer, blogger and vlogger using her fresh approach to promote the joys of gardening and Grow Your Own. Inspiring more people, particularly the younger generation, to put down their phones and pick up a spade. Annabelle has become a regular face at events throughout the gardening calendar and hosts a monthly radio show where she shares her allotment journey, the latest in the gardening industry and top tasks each month. Through her passion and energetic enthusiasm, she aims to change the way allotments and growing your own are viewed and bring a stroke of ‘highlight and contour’ to the gardening world. Keeping it simple, easy and more than anything fun.

They may not be a kitchen staple for many like potatoes and tomatoes of the same family, but they are just as delicious and an essential ingredient for comforting favourites such as ratatouille and moussaka.

Don’t let their fancy Latin name; Solanum melongena and the fact they seem a bit a high maintenance put you off giving them ago, start sowing them early and you can’t go wrong.

In order to give the aubergines the best chance of success, you will need a propagator and either a greenhouse or a sunny sheltered spot outside.

You can start sowing seeds under cover in early Spring, at the same time as tomatoes and peppers. Fill small pots with seed compost, water them well and allow to drain. Now the exciting and magical part of sowing can begin; sow one seed to each pot and use a dibber to lightly press them in to the surface. Cover the seed with more compost, water well then place the pots in a heated propagator. Don’t forget to label them up otherwise you might do as I do and forget what you have sown in each pot, although sometimes the surprise makes it even more exciting. If you have a variable heat propagator aim for around 21c, like you would for melons, beans and squashes. Don’t panic if not, a standard propagator like I have will do just fine too.

Germination will take around a week, but check the pots daily. If you are like me you won’t be able to resist doing this anyway, saying in your head or out loud “grow seed grow”, expecting the seedlings to rapidly appear. Prince Charles does say that talking to plants makes a difference and so did a RHS research project so I say go for it.

Once the seedlings are around 6cm tall, remove them from the propagator and place them in a greenhouse or on a windowsill to continue growing. As the roots appear through the base of the pots, repot the plants into 30cm wide containers then again into their final positions if growing in a greenhouse. If growing outside, first harden the young plants off in a cold frame. Once all risk of frost has passed, plant them out in a sunny position and stake well to keep upright. Lastly, pinch out the main shoot when they reach 30cm tall to promote bushier growth.

If you keep them fed fortnightly, watered and misted regularly, you will be picking these bright glossed ripe delights throughout the Summer with no sight from the dreaded red spider mite.

I will certainly be giving them a go, will you? If so, I would love you to share your updates and photos on our forum.

There is something magical about sowing and nurturing a tiny seed, planting it out in the ‘big wide world’ then harvesting delicious delights all the while keeping our fingers crossed for success.

By Life at No. 27

Annabelle is a successful freelance writer, blogger and vlogger using her fresh approach to promote the joys of gardening and Grow Your Own. Inspiring more people, particularly the younger generation, to put down their phones and pick up a spade. Annabelle has become a regular face at events throughout the gardening calendar and hosts a monthly radio show where she shares her allotment journey, the latest in the gardening industry and top tasks each month. Through her passion and energetic enthusiasm, she aims to change the way allotments and growing your own are viewed and bring a stroke of ‘highlight and contour’ to the gardening world. Keeping it simple, easy and more than anything fun.