Monthly Archives: May 2022

My Aubergine Jungle

After a long silence, here I am again.  I’ve not disappeared or stopped gardening, I just enjoy pottering in the garden so much more than I enjoy pottering at the computer, which is the only sane attitude to have, I think.  For starters this year, here is a photo of the aubergine jungle in my greenhouse.

A bench full of Aubergine Black Beauty plants, growing in my greenhouse in late May.
A bench full of Aubergine Black Beauty plants, growing in my greenhouse in late May.

I’m going all out for aubergines this year.  They’re tricky to grow because they need to be started very early in the season.   I started these Aubergine Black Beauty seeds in mid-February.  Three months later they are big bushy plants, with their first flower buds just about to open.  I don’t know how long it will be before I get the first fruits, but I’m hoping for July.

This year’s aubergine and tomato plants have been helped considerably by the electrically heated plant bench that I made in early Spring, which I’ll describe in another post.  In the picture above, you can just see the thermostatic temperature controller and electric plugs in the bottom right of the photo.  The soil heating cables are under the sand which the trays are standing on.  The bench is only heated on cold nights, with layers of fleece and bubble wrap over the plants to keep the heat in.   This is about ten times cheaper than heating the greenhouse.

Last year I grew some Aubergine Long Purple, which are supposed to be easier than normal aubergines to grow because their fruits are long and thin, like big purple courgettes.

Aubergine Long Purple in 2021
Aubergine Long Purple in 2021

I had a reasonable crop from them, starting in late August, and they made good eating, but this year I really wanted to grow fat aubergines rather than long thin ones.  I’m keeping all the plants in big pots in the greenhouse rather than planting them in the polytunnel border because last year’s plants sulked in the border, and only grew well in pots.  I don’t know why.  Different compost/soil, hotter in the pots?  Let’s see how things turn out this year.

An oddity about aubergine Long Purple is that more than one seed company persists in  putting entirely the wrong picture on their packets, showing conventional fat aubergines instead of these long thin courgette-shaped ones.  If you’ve grown Aubergine Long Purple and they turn out like the picture above, don’t worry, that’s how they are supposed to look!