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applestar
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Eggplant - How do you prune and prep for overwintering?

imafan26 wrote:Petch is a small thai eggplant; very seedy but good for curries. The fruit is small but the plant was only slightly smaller than the larger eggplant. I guess they could be ok if you are going to prune the eggplant. I put one eggplant in a 20 inch pot and it gets to be between three and four feet tall and just as wide. In the ground it can get over 5 ft tall but I only keep them a couple of years since their production will drop. I know people who have kept their eggplant at least 8 years and the pruned ones are about 3 ft tall but can be just as wide. Unpruned they get bare on the bottom but can get up to 6 ft tall.
@imafan, I realize you can't answer HOW to overwinter below lowest temperatures in Hawaii, but could you describe what you do and how the plants respond?

Where you are, do they go through a period of dormancy or rest? What are the lowest temperatures? (This will help to determine what temps to keep them) -- BTW I did read elsewhere that some people report eggplants are winter hardier than peppers.... If anyone with colder winters with temps down to near freezing and some frost have managed to overwinter eggplants, I'd love to hear the details.

I've been trying to overwinter one, two, and three test plants for the last couple of winters In the house, and so far I have found them to be extremely vulnerable to aphids and white flies, as well as tomato leafminer moths. Also, one plant that I brought in the house to mature a fruit for collecting seeds died immediately after.

I want to try again this winter, so looking for more information and ideas. :-()
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applestar
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Re: Eggplant - How do you prune and prep for overwintering?

Well, it went down to 48°F this morning. it's really time to start thinking about bringing plants inside! (I am so not ready :roll:)

I started pruning a couple of the eggplants I'm going to bring in. One plant (Listada de Gandia) I actually trimmed down to sticks like I usually do for peppers. I'm going to see if it can come back with a more compact growth BEFORE I bring it inside.

I would love to bring in the Neon which is sporting 4-5 blossoms that may or may not set due to the fall snap in temperature but I planted that one in one of cement block holes, so I won't be able to get it out of the ground without severely pruning the roots.

Pea eggplant is now approximately 10 feet tall in the SIP :shock:
6 ft tall in the SIP Hari is hopefully going to finish maturing a fruit which looks like a club now -- maybe 16-18" long, but it's yellowing and losing at least one leaf a day.

I have three Diamond and three Orient Express plants that are tiny and didn't grow well this season. Full of fleabeetles even now. I might pot them up and bring in at least one each, maybe two. At least these will be manageable in size.
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imafan26
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Re: Eggplant - How do you prune and prep for overwintering?

Hi Applestar. I think the coldest is has gotten has been around 49. Eggplant, peppers and tomatoes don't exactly go dormant.
It is hard to get seeds of eggplant and peppers to sprout once the temperatures get lower than 65 but tomatoes can sprout lower but will grow very slowly and dampen off a lot.

When the eggplant get too big and the leaves get fungal problems, it is easier to just cut every thing off and leave at least three main branches more than 1/4 inch thick. In the sixties the leaves will still grow back again but much slower than when it is in the 80's. Peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant will flower less as the days get shorter. The fruit that have set will slowly ripen, but usually in late December and January all the fruit are gone and the plant just grows leaves very slowly. That is about as dormant as they get. My winter day temperatures can be in the sixties and seventies but last January it was still in the fifties in the mornings. They start to flower again near the end of February when the days are mostly in the low seventies and the days start to get longer.

Whiteflies are a problem here too, but not in the rainy season. The rain actually helps to knock them off. I don't have a lot of aphid problems and the only issue is peach scale and that is year round. If the plants become badly infested I have to get rid of them. Peach scale is very resistant to insecticides and I use a brush and soapy water to control them. Cercospora leaf spot and mildew are problems in wet weather and the hairy eggplant leaves don't help since they are designed to hang on to moisture. Having fewer leaves and better air circulation helps with that. I feed the plants about once a month with a tablespoon of citrus food. When the growth slows, I stop feeding until the eggplant starts to grow leaves again. Mites are only a problem in the hot dusty days of summer, again once it starts raining and this year we have been getting a lot of summer storms almost every week, so mites have not been a problem at all.

I grow the eggplant in a large pot approx 16 inches so I do not repot. It spends all of its life in the pot 2-4 years.

I am replacing my eggplant early this year. I put it in a pot with reused soil and it is just not doing well, so I am going to get some new soil and I already have the pintung long eggplant to replace it.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

pepperhead212
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Re: Eggplant - How do you prune and prep for overwintering?

applestar,

Is that pea EP producing well? I remember you saying something else was in that SIP with it - imagine if it had been by itself!

As always, my hari and neon did great, and, like yours, have flowers all over them now! The Negra Lisa (sort of shaped like Rosa Bianca, but black) did well, though, like most, got stalled by the heat, but came back before most, and has 6 EP on it now. The petch Thai did the same thing other small round Thai plants have done it the past for me - next to nothing! Listada did well in cooler weather, but the round Black Greek and Viserba did very little in any weather.

I won't grow so many next year! LOL And I will also plant them farther apart, so I can find the things! I got a bunch of varieties in a trade this year - next year I'll only try one new one, which I already have the seeds for.
Dave

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applestar
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Re: Eggplant - How do you prune and prep for overwintering?

The pea eggplant.... It seems to think its a magic bean stalk. It has been flowering like this but I can't tell if there are any fruits BEACAUSE THEY ARE TOO HIGH. :lol:
image.jpg
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