Monthly Archives: September 2022

Aubergines Update

So much has been happening in the garden since June, here’s one of several updates that I now have time to post.

The aubergine jungle in my greenhouse has been very productive.   I was eating massive, delicious aubergines before the end of July, and they’ve kept on coming.  I had twelve aubergine plants, which was far too many, I’d only intended to have six, and the other six were grown for a relative who was then too ill to look after them in their own greenhouse.

The first interesting aubergine drama was a plague of greenfly which threatened to overwhelm the aubergine plants.  Really horrible amounts of greenfly which I dealt with by squashing as many as I could, and sometimes taking all the plants out onto the lawn so that I could get to all sides of them.

Aubergine plants temporarily moved from greenhouse to lawn for a thorough greenfly squishing session.
An aubergine avenue! Aubergine plants temporarily moved from greenhouse to lawn for a thorough greenfly squishing session.

I had a feeling that eventually, if I was patient, nature would provide her own solution, and after about three weeks that’s exactly what happened.  Ladybird larvae to the rescue!

A ladybird larva on an Aubergine flower
A ladybird larva on an Aubergine flower © Stroud Gardener
A ladybird larva hunting for aphids on an Aubergine leaf
A ladybird larva hunting for aphids on an Aubergine leaf © Stroud Gardener

Dozens of ladybird larvae hatched on the aubergine plants, and the wonderful ladybird larvae romped all over the plants munching all the greenfly.  In a couple of weeks, I’d run out of greenfly and I was considering taking the remaining ladybird larvae to any other plants in my garden where I could find some food for them!

A ladybird hatching from a ladybird larva on an Aubergine leaf
A ladybird hatching from a ladybird larva on an Aubergine leaf © Stroud Gardener

Over a period of three or four weeks, ladybird larvae grow by shedding their skins a few times, then finally the ladybirds emerge.  It’s quite a wonderful process, and I managed to get some photos.

So the greenfly plague was solved – the next problem was the extreme heat that we suffered in August.  It didn’t occur to me until too late that I should have done something about greenhouse shading.   Red pepper fruit that were too close to the greenhouse glass on the south side were getting burnt, and something odd happened to the aubergine plants – they grew in a different colour, golden yellow instead of dark red.

The aubergines which grew when the weather was extremely hot (35C outside, much higher inside the greenhouse) were golden yellow instead of dark red.
The aubergines which grew when the weather was extremely hot (35C outside, and much much hotter inside the greenhouse) were golden yellow instead of dark red.

The photo above is from September, after the extreme heat had passed, and the newer aubergines were growing in the correct colour again.    I’ve found one or two references to this phenomenon online, but it doesn’t seem to be a very well documented problem.    The yellow aubergines were OK to cook and eat.   The flesh of the yellow aubergines was a bit firmer than normal before it was cooked, but when cooked their texture was normal and they tasted normal.

Next year  if (or when) the weather gets so extremely hot, I will apply some shading to the greenhouse and hopefully avoid this odd problem with the aubergines.  And hopefully avoid having to water them three times a day!