By Cindi Sullivan
WAVE 3 Garden Expert
LOUISVILLE(WAVE) - Tomatoes and peppers are popular choices in many home gardens, but WAVE 3 garden expert Cindi Sullivan says another tasty vegetable can be a great addition.
Eggplants are native to Thailand and a cousin of the tomato, pepper and potato. They are warm season crops that require a growing season of at least 100 days. Eggplants come in an incredible range of colors, sizes and shapes.
Like other members of the Nightshade family, eggplants are susceptible to Verticillium and Fusarium wilts. Control these diseases by planting resistant varieties and rotating crops in the garden every year-or you can plant them in containers.
Like their cousins tomatoes, eggplants need a container that holds at least 5 gallons of potting mix. You will want to add a polyacrylamide copolymer like Soil Moist to the containers to help retain moisture. You should also add a slow release fertilizer like Osmocote at planting time.
Eggplants are ready to harvest when they have reached a few inches long-this of course is dependent on the variety some are naturally smaller than others. The skin of the eggplants should be smooth and shiny. Overly mature fruits will be bitter, with dark seeds.
Grilled, baked, or fried, eggplants can be the basis of many flavorful Thai and Middle Eastern entrees. They combine very well with garlic, basil, curry and chilies to compliment other rich national cuisines.
If you have a gardening question for Cindi, you can e-mail her by clicking on her name below. You can also find many helpful garden tips from Cindi by clicking on the highlighted link: Garden Talk.