300 Long Purple Eggplant Seeds

300 Long Purple Eggplant Seeds

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Long Purple is an Italian heirloom eggplant that produces dark purple cucumber-shaped fruit with firm mild flesh. This variety produces good yields, especially in northern climates! Plants will typically produce more than 4 fruits of 9" size with harvest beginning in 70 to 80 days.

Eggplant appears to be a very ancient fruit; the earliest references to it can be found in Chinese and Indian records. Though usually considered a vegetable, botanists classify eggplant as a berry. Early varieties of eggplant were named for their resemblance to large white eggs; in Europe, eggplant is usually referred to as aubergine. In medieval times eggplant were called mad apples, because they were thought to induce insanity. Experimental horticulturist Thomas Jefferson included varieties of eggplant in his gardens; at the time, growers used eggplant mostly for decorative purposes. Regions of southern and eastern Asia especially appreciate the eggplant, naming it "king of vegetables" and making it a staple of their cuisine. In addition to the sterotypical purple pear-shape, eggplant comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Sowing: Though gardeners with long growing seasons will be able to direct sow their eggplant seed when the soil reaches 70 degrees F, starting the seed indoors is best in most areas. About 8-10 weeks before the last expected spring frost, plant these long purple eggplant seeds in pots 1/4" deep. Keep them in a sunny window or under a grow light, maintaining a temperature of around 80 degrees. Germination of eggplant can be spotty, and may take several weeks. Keep the seedlings moist and provide organic matter for the best development. Gradually expose them to the elements by leaving the pots outdoors during the day. When the average air and soil temperature reach 70 degrees, or about 3 weeks after the last frost, plant the seedlings in well drained soil in full sun; for fullest growth, allow each plant 2-3' in all directions. Eggplant also grows very well in container gardens; most northern gardeners depend on this method in order to succeed in growing this heat loving plant.

Growing: Eggplant thrives in the full heat of summer; row covers, black plastic, or other methods to conserve heat may be necessary in some climates. If temperatures threaten to fall below 55 degrees F, cover the plants. As soon as the seedlings become established, mulch them to conserve moisture and control weeds. Keep the soil evenly moist, and apply fertilizer or organic matter once monthly.

Harvesting: When the skin of an eggplant begins to take on a high gloss, it is nearly ripe. To test for ripeness, press gently on the skin; if the flesh remains indented, it is ready to be harvested. Eggplant reach their best eating quality at about 1/2 their mature size, since oversized eggplant can turn tough and bitter. For freshest taste, use immediately. If necessary, eggplant can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. If the seeds inside begin to turn brown, this indicates that it is overripe. Keep in mind that some parts of the leaves and flowers are poisonous if ingested.