Friday, March 5, 2010

Edible Balcony - Evolution of an Eggplant

December 1st : I plant four long black eggplant seeds in quality potting mix with a little blood and bone mixed through. I shield the young seedlings from the wind with a plastic milk container with the top cut off.

January 26: I've culled the seedlings to two which may still be a little cramped for this container. The leaves are broad and healthy. I'm watering every day.

February 9th : the eggplants are clearly going to be much bigger than I anticipated and their root system has quickly filled the pot. I'm noticing little black bugs on the leaves which I later discover are flea beetles that can quickly suck an eggplant to death. I try to squish as many as I can.

February 13th: Despite a flea beetle attack and rear guard action from some chomping caterpillars I get my first flower.

February 13th: It makes all the angst and sleepless nights worth it.

Feb 15th: The caterpillar and flea beetles attacks look bad but the plants seem to be soldiering on

February 23rd: I think I spy my first fruit

February 23rd: Yes, that is unmistakedly the beginnings of an eggplant in all its glossy purple glory.
I'm now adding a little liquid fruit fertilizer in my watering can to give the fruit a boost.
February 26th: Just when I think I've survived the pest attacks I notice colonies of aphids on all the buds and new leaf growth.

February 26th: I mail order some green lacewing larvae which hatch and hoover up all the aphids in about 6 days. The eggplants start getting their mojo back.(And so do I !)

March 3rd: This little beauty somehow made it through the dramas and should be ready to pick and eat next week.

Phew.... that was exhausting.....


  1. I'm hoping you have a copy of Judy McMaugh's "What Garden Pest of Disease Is That?" Awesome reference for IDing critters, with both Organic / IPM and chemical solutions.
    Your balcony garden is fab (so is the view!)

  2. They are beautiful, Indira. Up in Brisbane, mine were wiped out by a swarm of leaf eating grasshoppers :(

  3. It is great to discover that you can buy lacewing larvae via mail order! Angela's book suggestion good too - it is on my wishlist. The eggplants look wonderful too.