Eggplants are one of the most popular vegetables in the world. They have been cultivated since ancient times and they continue to be grown even today. There are many varieties of eggplants available in the market but only two types – sweet and hot. Sweet eggplants are usually smaller than hot ones, while hot ones tend to grow taller than other kinds. Most of them come from Central America or South America. Hot eggplants are typically used in soups, stews and chili dishes.
The color of your eggplant’s leaves depends on several factors such as its age, how it was grown and what kind of soil it was planted in. When they turn yellow, it means that the plant is suffering from some disease or insect attack. Sometimes there is no visible cause for the change; sometimes it may happen gradually over time or suddenly.
If you notice that your eggplant leaves are turning yellow, then it is best to take immediate action. First of all, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching the plant. If you do not want to use soap, then just wipe off any dirt or dust that might be on your hands. You can also apply a fungicide spray on the leaf area if necessary.
It will help if you get rid of any insects that may be attacking the plant. This is a good time to do an inspection. Get a flashlight and closely examine the undersides of the leaves for aphids, thrips and other insects. It may be beneficial to take a bucket of soapy water and make sure that you have gotten all of the insects off the leaves.
If you are growing your eggplant in a container, you can just dump out the entire thing and start over with clean soil that has been treated with fungicide.
Sometimes, the yellowing is due to excessive nitrogen. If the soil has a lot of manure or other types of fertilizer in it, then your eggplants leaves may start turning yellow. It can take several weeks before you see this happening so you need to be patient. Stop using nitrogen fertilizers and instead use bone meal or compost.
If the problem persists after these steps have been taken, then it is possible that a disease is attacking your crop. You need to dispose of the entire plant immediately as it may be carrying pests or diseases that can infect other plants. You can prevent this from happening in the future by using only certified disease-free seeds and transplants, and always sterilize any tools that come into contact with the plants. Also, rotate your crops every three years so that they do not grow in the same place twice in a row.
Eggplants are susceptible to the same diseases as other plants in your garden. It is important to avoid over-watering the plants, which can cause them to get an infection called anthracnose. This appears on the leaves as dark brown spots that look a lot like mold or mildew. It can also attack the fruit, causing a hard blackened area on the skin.
If you are growing your eggplants in a container or a small garden plot, it is best to discard the infected plant and start over with new soil. If you have a large garden, try to remove as many of the infected leaves as you can and then apply fungicide. If the problem gets out of hand, the entire crop may need to be destroyed. It is not uncommon for all of the plants in a diseased area to perish.
An easy way to prevent anthracnose from destroying your eggplant crop is by using row covers or some other type of covering that will protect the plants from getting wet when it rains. The soil can stay too moist and cause the infection. This type of fungus also spreads readily from plant to plant so make sure that you get all of the infected plants out of your garden if you find that they have it.
There are several types of beetles that will chew the leaves of eggplants. These can be controlled to a certain extent by using row covers. You can also pick off and destroy any beetles that you see on the plants. Place a bucket of soapy water next to your garden and just catch the beetles in it when you see them.
You can also spray neem oil on the plants. This is especially helpful if your plants get infested with aphids.
If you see little holes in your eggplant leaves that have a brown center, then you are probably dealing with the adult form of the white cabbage butterfly. These pests lay their eggs on the leaves of the plants and the caterpillars that hatch then eat their way through. You can pick off these caterpillars by hand and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. You need to do this every day in order to get rid of them all.
Aphids are tiny green, black, or pink insects that can be a real problem. They can spread very quickly and soon invade your entire garden. They can be controlled by spraying your plants with neem oil. You can also pick them off by hand and drop them into a bucket of soapy water.
Check your plants every day before they have a chance to do too much damage.
Sawflies look like little yellow-striped wasps and they also lay their eggs on the eggplant leaves, especially the young leaves. Their larvae hatch and then they chew holes in the leaves, which can eventually destroy the entire plant. If you spot these, pick off the egg sacs and spray your plant with neem oil. It is best to do this before the eggs hatch.
If your leaves develop brown spots that look a little like the measles, you have the eggplant flea beetle to blame. You can spray neem oil on the plants and pick off the adult beetles by hand.
Slugs and snails will eat holes in your eggplants leaves and also eat the stems. You can put out a beer trap to get rid of them but it is better to handpick them at night when they come out. When you find one, pick it up and dispose of it.
If you see little bitty moths flying around your eggplants, then you have the pepper fruit moth. They lay their eggs on the leaves and when the eggs hatch, the larvae eat the fruit. You can destroy all of the eggs you see on the plant. If you have a lot of them then you need to re-plant.
If you see holes in the leaves and stems that look like someone has taken a bite out of them, then you have the dreaded nematodes. These microscopic worms invade your plants and can’t be seen without the aid of a microscope. Unfortunately, there is no effective way to get rid of them so you must avoid planting eggplants where you’ve had them in the past.
You can start harvesting the fruit when they are still fairly small, as long as they are not starting to bend under their own weight. Large eggplants tend to have a lot of seeds and aren’t as tasty as the smaller ones. You can also leave them on the plant until they are big and ready to eat. Just make sure you continue to water them so they don’t dry out or get sunburnt.
You can pick them individually as you need them or you can cut the stems with a garden scissors and put them in a bag until you are ready to cook. Overly ripe eggplants tend to get mushy, so try to use them within a few days.
Eggplants will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator if you store them in a plastic bag. They also freeze well. Just slice them up and put them in freezer bags. You can take out just what you need and defrost them as you need them.
Eggplants have lots of important nutrients, such as magnesium, potassium, copper and vitamins C and B6. They also contain phytonutrients such as nasunin, valinomycin and chlorogenic acid. These substances are great for your health and can help reduce the risk of many types of cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and much more.
These versatile vegetables are great for you and delicious too. There is nothing quite like fresh eggplant Parmesan or a fresh garden salad with fresh sliced eggplant. If you want to grow a lot of food that the whole family will enjoy, then eggplants are a must in your garden!
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Sources & references used in this article:
Leaf tip yellowing in eggplant is caused by boron deficiency by NC Chen, HM Li – Training Workshop on Vegetable Cultivation and Seed …, 1996
Suggested cultural practices for eggplant by C De Kreij, H Başar – Journal of plant nutrition, 1997 – Taylor & Francis
Insect and mite pests on eggplant by NC Chen, T Kalb, NS Talekar… – AVRDC Training …, 2002 – afghanag.ucdavis.edu
Solanaceous fruits: Tomato, eggplant, peppers, and others by R Srinivasan – 2009 – books.google.com
Cultivated eggplants–origin, breeding objectives and genetic resources, a review by M Yamaguchi – World vegetables, 1983 – Springer
Wild relatives of the eggplant (Solanum melongena L.: Solanaceae): new understanding of species names in a complex group by A Sękara, S Cebula, E Kunicki – Folia Horticulturae, 2007 – ptno.ogr.ar.krakow.pl