Click here for the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shopI love aubergines, or eggplants as they are known, as they are great in all sorts of dishes. Given some warmth during germination and a hot summer you can successfully grow aubergines in the UK in mild areas. However as they like plenty of sunshine and warm conditions they are best grown undercover in a greenhouse to ensure a good crop.
Sow the seed early in the year (February to March) to make the most of the available sunshine. Fill 9 cm pots with john Inness seed and potting compost and place five seeds on the surface of each pot. Cover with a thin layer of vermiculite. Water gently and place in a heated propagator set to 21 degrees, or warm greenhouse until germination, usually about 2-3 weeks later.
When the first true leaves have fully developed prick out the seedlings into individual 7 cm pots. Feed weekly until the roots have filled the pot and then transplant to a larger pot filled with multi purpose compost, repeating the process until they are in a 30 cm pot.
Stake the plants as necessary to ensure adequate support is given. Remove the growing tip when the plant is 20-30 cm high to encourage branching.
If planting your seedlings outside harden off first and then select a sheltered, sunny position such as a warm wall when the risk of frost has passed, spacing them 60 cm apart. You can protect them further with a cloche for the first few weeks until establishment.
Water your plants well and spray the leaves and flowers with warm water twice a day during the summer to help the fruit set and to discourage red spider mite. When the first fruits start to appear feed fortnightly with liquid feed high in potassium.
How to grow aubergines