PlantsVegetable Gardening

How to Grow Brinjal(Egg Plant) in Containers?

How to grow Eggplant in containers? A guide to grow brinjal on rooftop
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Growing Brinjal is one of the first things I did as soon as I started my Rooftop Gardening. The brinjal is called the King of Vegetables by some cultures for a reason. It is one of the easiest vegie to grow and can repay in abundance for all the love you show it. From the fact that India is the Origin of eggplant you can understand why growing this here is easier.

Eggplants are high in iron, calcium, and fibre, and are a low-fat, low-calorie food as well; good news for weight watchers!

How much easy a plant might be, there are some soft spots for them just like us. In this post I’ll guide you on how to grow Brinjal in containers organically in your terrace garden. If your are a experienced gardener and only need some quick info, you can just check the bottom of this post for the quickies section.

Starting with the seeds:

You can get the seeds form nurseries or get a much ripened brinjal from shops. Get the seeds from it and dry them in sun. (Note that this may not be all too organic, but you can just experiment, I have and it worked.)

You can sow directly In the container. But it is usually recommended to germinate them in a seed tray or in a paper cup.

Starting with the Seed Tray/Paper Cups

Germinating using seed tray or Paper cups:

Eggplant Seedling
Seed tray
  • Fill up the seed tray loosely with seed tray mix and give a tap so that it settles down nicely in the tray.
  • Drop 3-4 eggplant seeds in each cup of the tray. Cover the seeds with more seed tray mix so that the seeds are just covered with 2-3 mm of the mix.
  • Water the tray very lightly so that the soil mix is not disturbed.
  • Now cover the tray with a polythene sheet and keep the tray in a warm place. Make sure that there is about 1-2 inch gap between the soil and the polythene sheet. The plastic sheet helps in retaining moisture. But you can skip this step if you want to.
  • But you need to make sure that the soil is moist all the time.
  • In about 6-7 days time seedlings will emerge in the tray.
  • As soon as the first seedling emerges remove the plastic sheet and transfer the tray to a place where the seedlings can get at least 4-6 hours of sunlight.

Personally I have not found the need for starting in seed tray. I have sowed it directly in the container(Grow bag to be exact) and have had not any problems. Try both methods and let me know which one works best for you.

Watering the seedlings:

  • You need to water the seedlings as needed.
  • Make sure they are protected from direct rain and harsh sunlight.
  • Young brinjal seedlings are susceptible to root rot. To reduce probability of root rot you may water the seedlings with Amrut Jal once in a week.

I will soon post on how to make Amrut Jal- An all-round Organic Fertiliser/Insectiside.

Transplanting:

In about thirty to forty days time when 4-6 true leaves have emerged the sapling is ready to be transplanted.

  • To transplant carefully take out the sapling from seed tray and bury the ball of the sapling it in the center of your pot.
  • Water the pot properly and place it in a sunny area.
  • After about 7-10 days when the saplings have adjusted to the new soil it is time to remove the weaker saplings.
  • Retain only one plant and cut off rest of the saplings using a garden scissor. To grow brinjal in containers successfully you need to limit the number of plants to 1 for 15-30 liter container.
  • If you have much bigger containers you can plant more saplings. But keep at least 2 feet distance between each sapling.

You can skip these steps in seed tray if you want and directly do them in the container you are going to grow.

Growing Brinjal in Containers

These are some of the important but basic steps that I have followed and highly recommend you to follow if you want your egg plants to grow well.

Watering:

Brinjal grow in full sunlight and hence the soil can dry out very fast. So mulch you pot heavily to avoid evaporation. Keep the soil moist all the time and never let it dry out. In harsh summers a fully grown plant can get water stressed.

Pruning:

  • Just like Tomatoes suckers sprout in a brinjal plant too. Suckers are sprouts that develop between the main stalk and a leaf node.
  • If left on the plant it becomes another main stem.
  • If you want your plants not to grow sideways then they must be removed.
  • Check for suckers and remove them using hand shears regularly.

It is a good idea also to remove all leaves that become old and start touching the soil. You can also prune the leaves that point towards the stem of the plant. Such leaves block sunlight to other leaves an        d also prevent airflow.

Fertilizing:

  • Use Amrut Jal(Amirtha Karaisal) or any other organic liquid soil conditioner/fertilizer every 10-15 days.
  • During flowering increase the frequency and use it once every 7 days.
  • When you grow Brinjal in containers you need to make sure your plant gets enough nutrients at all times. Do not forget to add extra compost to your pot at regular intervals.
  • Adding about 3-4 liters of compost for each plant every 40-50 days will keep the plant healthy. Always add compost below the mulch layer.

Note you have to reduce using nitrogen rich fertilizers like compost as they promote leafy growth. You wouldn’t want them when the plant is flowering.

Pest Control:

Aphids and Mealybugs are the major pests that you have to face when you grow brinjal in containers or on the ground. So check your plant regularly below the leaves. In case you find them remove them with water jet.  You can even squash them with your hands that can really give you the satisfaction some time. But so something or your plant is going to die a slow agonizing death.

You can also use a neem spray or any broad organic pesticide like diluted cow urine to get rid of aphids. For mealybugs take a cotton ball dipped in a  to wipe them off.  

During fruiting plant can get infested with borers especially if temperature is low. Spraying once a week with Panchagavya keeps borers away. It is a good idea to keep all your brinjal and tomato plants away from each other so that borers can not spread easily.

(I will also updated on Panchagavya and its making soon)

Harvesting Brinjal

This is the part we all love to do! To see them bloom, to see them grow, to feel the vegie in your hands and pluck it when time comes. You would feel like a you have made and witnessed a miracle! But its not always easy. It usually takes 60-80 days from germination to harvest brinjal. You have to follow the below steps before getting the fruit of your labor.

Pollination:

  • Most plants need pollinators for bearing fruits. But Eggplant flowers are self pollinating and they are pollinated with the help of a little wind.
  • You can also tap the flowers gently to help in pollination if there is no wind. 

Support:

I could have covered this part earlier but I think this is the right place to explain why. Place support stakes or some sort of support for the plant once the plants starts to grow. The reason is below

2009-11-16 - The Land - Eggplant "Tree"
Egg plant tree
  • The plant tends to fall over during fruiting due to the weight of the fruits.
  • So staking is a must for brinjal plants. Stake your plants before or as soon as flowers start to bloom.
  • Staking will also help protect your plants from heavy winds.
  • It is advisable to stake them when the plants are young. Because doing so when the plant is mature can damage the roots of the plant.

Picking:

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  • Eggplant is ready to be picked up in about 15-20 days from formation of fruit. Press the fruit slightly to check if it is mature.
  • If it is soft to touch then it probably will grow a little more.
  • If it is hard to touch it has already matured.
  • You need to harvest your eggplant when it is no more soft to touch.
  • To harvest do not pull it. It will not come off and will damage the plant. Use a pair of garden scissors to cut off brinjal from the plant.

Giving your plant a rebirth

This I have not tried. I recently came accorss this information and found it very interesting. Try this and let me know if this really works for you.

When you grow brinjal in container, in about 5-7 months after the first harvest there may be a reduction in size of the fruit and the leaves. When this happens its a good idea to cut off your plant from top leaving only 3-4 main branches and about 8-10 leaves in the plant.

The best time for this to be done is during monsoons. Never do this in harsh summers. In few days time new and bigger leaves start to emerge.In about a month’s time your plant will grow to its full glory again, and the brinjals that will fruit in the plants will be of bigger size. Thus you’ll be able to get tasty and nutritious eggplants round the year from the same plant.

Quickies: 

These are some other important things to know when growing brinjal

Growing Temperature 15 – 30 °C
Germination Temperature 25-30 °C Ideal
Germination Time 6-12 days
Soil pH 6 to 7
Sunlight Need 6-8 hours per day (Sun loving Plant)
Preferred Planting Method Transplanting
Container size 15-20 liter
Time to Harvest 60-80 days from germination
Harvest Period  8-12 months
Pollination Self pollinating.
Typical Pests mealy bugs, aphids, fruit borers
Fertilising Organic Liquid fertilisers like Amrut Jal Or Panchagavvya once every 10-15 days.
Best season to plant in India June – November

Do you have another great tip to add? Mention them below in the comments. Have questions? You can contact me through contact page or by clicking the WhatsApp Icon that is on the left side of the screen.

Hope this post is useful to you. If you find this interesting share it with your circle lets spread some Organic Love!

Let us plant together and grow together!

This is a bilingual post. இதனை தமிழில் படிக்க இங்கே கிளிக் செய்யவும்.

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