Hamilton College Community Farm

Plant: Eggplant

Family: Nightshade

Seed Varieties:

There are many different varieties of seeds that can be used, and it is entirely your decision. Some that have been used in the past are Listadia de Gandia and Little Finger.
Listadia de Gandia- A striped Italian variety. Produces 6-8in thin skinned fruits.

Little Finger - This variety is more slender and petite than other varieties. It has dark purple skin and is thin and tender with silky flesh and a mildly sweet flavor. It is intended to be harvested young when 3-6in long and glossy. (This variety is not that great for market because people expect the big eggplant they are used to seeing at the store.)

Indoor Start Date and Cell Size:

Plant on 4/1 in open 200s.

Greenhouse Transplant Date and Cell Size:

Transplant into 24s on 5/11

Outdoor Transplant Date and Bed Specifications:

Transplant seedlings outside after the risk of frost is past. This will of course vary year to year, but will probably be sometime around the first of June. Plant three rows per bed, with the plants spaced 18 to 20 inches apart. Make sure to plant the seedlings slightly deeper than they were in the tray.

Plant Needs:

Eggplants need warm weather, thriving in the heat of July and August. If there is a threat of frost when the plants are still young, be sure to cover the row with row cover. They are fairly drought tolerant although they should be watered while still young and during extended periods of dry weather. Make sure the soil in which they are planted is rich, with a good mixture of compost.

Pests and Pest Control:

Aphids can be a problem. Setting yellow sticky traps, or placing yellow pans of soapy water about the plants can be effective. Spraying the plants with a copper solution, or mint tea spray is also effective. For spider mites, a light application of water on the underside of leaves is usually sufficient, if this is not enough, a sulfur solution can be used.

Harvest Techniques:

The size of the fruit at harvest depends on the variety, so be sure to check the description. Generally, when the skin of the fruit turns glossy, the fruit is ready to harvest. Avoid harvesting overripe fruits, as they will have more seeds than is desirable. Use clippers to cut the stem of the fruit near the stalk of the plant, being careful not to damage either the fruit or the plant. Eggplant has soft flesh, and can easily be bruised or nicked, so handle them with care.


Eggplant does not keep very well, and should be used soon after harvesting. Keep refrigerated, and store them for no more than a week.


For retail, sell eggplant at $1.50 each. For wholesale, sell at $1.50 per pound.