Eggplant has many fans. This vegetable rich in potassium and other trace elements is very beneficial for health, it strengthens blood vessels, removes excess fluid from the body, and destroys cholesterol. Any owner wants to see eggplants not only on the shelves of shops and markets, but also on their own garden plot.
The difficulty lies in the heat-loving nature of the vegetable; it is believed that eggplants can be grown only in the south.
Modern varieties and hybrids are so adapted to external influences that they perfectly tolerate any temperature conditions. The climate of the Moscow region is more northern, constant frosts here begin in October and end only in May. Not every crop can withstand these conditions, but there are eggplant varieties specially adapted to grow in short, cool summers.
What varieties can be grown in the Moscow region
The growing season of eggplant (the period from the appearance of the first shoots to the ripening of fruits) is 110 days on average. There are earlier and early ripening varieties, they begin to bear fruit on the 75-90th day. Mid-season eggplants bear their first fruits 110-120 days after planting. It is these crops that are most suitable for the conditions of the Moscow region.
Early to mid-season eggplants give the best results:
- take root well after planting seedlings in the ground;
- are hardened from low temperatures;
- protected from most diseases;
- have a short growing season;
- suitable for growing in greenhouses and outdoors;
- give high yields.
Advice! You should not experiment with late varieties - their growing season is more than 140 days, so the vegetables will not have time to give fruits before the onset of autumn.
How eggplants are grown in the Moscow region
As in any northern region, in the Moscow region it is better to plant vegetables in a greenhouse. This method guarantees high yields, because the plants will be protected from frost and temperature fluctuations.
However, not all summer residents and gardeners have a greenhouse at their disposal, in which case it is possible to plant eggplants in open ground. But this must be done in a seedling way.
First of all, you need to take care of the seedlings. Of course, you can buy young eggplant plants, but since they do not tolerate transportation and transplanting very well, it is better to grow seedlings yourself. After all, the best yields are produced by strong and healthy plants.
Growing eggplant seedlings has its own characteristics:
- seeds "hatch" long enough - 4-6 days.
- Before planting in the soil, the seeds must be soaked by wrapping them in a damp cloth. In this form, they should lie for 4-5 days.
- It is better to sow seeds in disposable containers so as not to damage fragile stems and roots during transplantation. Be sure to have drainage holes in the cups for excess moisture to escape, otherwise the plant may rot.
- Soil for eggplant seedlings can be prepared independently, for this they mix the soil from the garden or greenhouse with humus, ash, peat and a loosening substance (coarse sand, sawdust, straw chips).
- Each swollen seed is laid on the ground and sprinkled with a centimeter layer of soil, and then watered.
- Containers with seeds are covered with glass or plastic wrap and placed in a warm place (24-28 degrees) for 10 days.
- Dishes with emerging seedlings are removed to a cooler place, the temperature there should be within 20 degrees.
- Seedlings are watered in a timely manner, eggplants love water.
Advice! For soaking seeds and watering, it is better to use melt water, it accelerates natural processes and promotes more intensive growth of eggplants.
Features of eggplant
Eggplant is a capricious culture. And, although modern varieties and hybrids are maximally adapted to external influences, some care is needed for these vegetables.
Here are some guidelines:
- An important feature of eggplants is their dependence on daylight hours. This plant needs long-term lighting - a day for an eggplant should be at least 12 hours. And since the seedlings of this vegetable are grown in February-May, it is problematic to provide the right amount of sunlight. The solution is artificial lighting - the seedlings are "illuminated" with fluorescent lamps.
- Eggplant seedlings are planted in a heated greenhouse in March, in a greenhouse with solar heating - in late April - early May, and for open ground you will have to wait for the end of night frosts - in the Moscow region this period falls on May 25 - June 10.
- Depending on the timing of planting, the time when you need to sow seeds is also selected. It should be borne in mind that it is allowed to plant plants of 45-55 days of age in a heated greenhouse, in other cases you will have to wait - the seedlings should be at least 75 days old. The trunks of the seedlings should be strong, the leaves should be large, bright green.
- Eggplant should be watered regularly. The most suitable watering scheme is once a week, but very abundantly. The water should be warm, plants do not like the cold.
- Another important requirement is that eggplants need air access. In order for oxygen to reach the roots, the soil must be plowed after each watering.
- Fertilize "blue" is better with a solution of cow dung. This is done 3-4 times during the entire growing season.
- Eggplants need space, so no more than 4-6 plants should be planted per square meter.
- Tall varieties should be tied to a trellis, and also pinched, forming side shoots.
The best varieties for the Moscow region
Considering all of the above, we can conclude that early and mid-season eggplants, which give a high yield and are resistant to diseases and low temperatures, are most suitable for the conditions of the northern region.
It would also be nice if the selected variety turned out to be universal - suitable for greenhouses and open ground. In the absence of a greenhouse on the site, it is more effective to use a temporary film shelter or plant seedlings in polyethylene tunnels.
The best of these universal eggplants are vegetables from the Giselle F1 hybrid. This plant can be grown both in the south and in the north, and in the greenhouse, and in the open field. The only thing, in a heated greenhouse, the yield of the hybrid will be slightly higher - up to 14 kgm², with the usual 7-9 kg.
The fruits grow large, their weight often reaches 500 grams, and the length is 25 cm. The shape of the eggplant is cylindrical, and the standard color is dark purple. "Blue" of this variety have a very delicate taste and snow-white pulp, for which they are most loved by gardeners.
In use, this vegetable is also universal: eggplants are good both in canned form and as a snack.
Bushes hybrid "Giselle F1" of average height - up to 120 cm, need to be tied and formed.
The first fruits appear already on the 110th day after planting the seeds. They are distinguished by a long shelf life and high commercial qualities.
In order for the eggplant harvest to be plentiful, you will have to work hard, following all the recommendations for growing, since the hybrid is quite capricious.
A very unusual appearance and outstanding taste have put the Alenka variety on a par with the best eggplants. The color of ripe fruits is bright green, and the pulp is light green in color, with an unusual mushroom flavor.
You can sow seeds for seedlings of this variety already at the end of February, because the eggplant tolerates low temperatures well. It is rarely necessary to plant plants - 4 pieces per square meter of land, this vegetable does not like thickening. With such a planting scheme, the yield of the Alenka variety reaches 7.5 kg per meter.
The fruits are of an average size - up to 15 cm, and a fairly decent weight - up to 320 grams. These eggplants with an unusual taste and color go well with other vegetable varieties in various salads and appetizers - you get a bright assortment.
The growing season of the hybrid is about 107 days, which makes it possible to grow Alenka eggplant even in the northern regions. However, the highest yields can only be achieved in the greenhouse.
One of the most famous and high-yielding varieties "Agat" is also very unpretentious to the climate.
In the Moscow region, the seedlings of this hybrid must be planted in the ground not earlier than mid-May.
It is quite possible even to plant eggplants with seeds - they are sown in the ground at the end of May and covered with a film that can be removed after the threat of frost.
Eggplants "Agate" do not need to be soaked before cooking, the fruits of this variety have a delicate and absolutely not bitter pulp. They are perfect for preserving and preparing second courses.
The appearance of eggplants is standard - a dark purple peel, an oblong shape and a small vegetable size (230 grams). The plant is resistant to diseases, but it is better to harvest the entire crop before the first autumn frosts, they are detrimental to the plant. With frequent watering and regular feeding, up to 8 kg of eggplant can be obtained from one meter of land.
The mid-season variety brings very high yields - up to 9 kg per meter. Another advantage of eggplant is its resistance to the most common diseases: cucumber and tobacco mosaic.
However, the variety is susceptible to infection by other diseases, so the plants need constant care and prevention. It is necessary to sow the seeds of "Albatross" in mid-March, and the first fruits will appear 120 days after that.
On one square meter of soil there should be no more than 3 bushes, the plants are low - up to 70 cm, but spreading and have many ovaries.
The color of ripe fruits is dark purple, and the flesh of these eggplants is greenish, without a bitter aftertaste. The shape is the main distinguishing feature, it is pear-shaped. The average length of the fruits is 15-20 cm. The fruits are quite weighty - the average weight is 350 grams.
Only with proper feeding and disease prevention will the albatross eggplant yield be stable.
An early maturing variety with an interesting name is suitable only for greenhouse cultivation, while it is not so important what kind of greenhouse will be: heated, unheated or temporary.
It is very easy to recognize the "blue" varieties of this variety - the fruits have an unusual elongated and downward-widening shape. Their color is deep purple, and the pulp has a light green tint.
The weight of one eggplant is about 250-300 grams, and the length can be up to 40 cm.
Eggplants "Don Quixote" have excellent taste, because these "blue" ones do not have bitterness, and there are practically no seeds in their pulp. The dense and juicy pulp can be used for cooking, pickling and canning.
The plant is protected from spider mites and gives good yields - up to 9 kg per meter.
An irreplaceable companion of Don Quixote is the Sancho Panza variety. The plant is very stable, capable of withstanding even low temperatures, so these eggplants can be grown even beyond the Urals, and not just near Moscow. It is great for outdoor use.
The bushes grow very tall - up to 150 cm, and the fruits on them are unusual - dark purple balls. The mass of one such eggplant is 600 grams - it can feed the whole family.
The yield of the variety is high - up to 9 kg per square meter. The plant is resistant to most diseases and does not require any special care.
An early ripe variety allows you to enjoy fresh eggplants already on the 110th day after sowing the seeds. The fruits have an unusual color - pale lilac, and an elongated oval shape. They are used for the preparation of any kind of food, as well as for preservation.
The bushes grow low - up to one meter. The plant is very moody, does not tolerate cold and disease. Therefore, it is recommended to grow "Romance" seedlings under a film or in greenhouses. In such conditions, the variety will give a good harvest - from 6 to 8 kg per meter.
Conclusions and recommendations
For the cold Moscow region, you need to choose early or mid-ripening varieties of eggplant - only such plants will have time to grow and ripen before the onset of autumn frosts. Each owner should try several varieties and hybrids to determine the best ones. Indeed, several conditions are important for eggplant, including even the illumination of the site and the composition of the soil on it.
The experimentally established variety will bring consistently high yields and delight the owner with ripe fruits until mid-autumn.