Eggplant, Heirloom Italian, Violetta Lunga, Organic by Renee's Garden
Heirloom Italian Eggplant: Violetta Lunga
BEST TO START INDOORS
In early spring, start indoors about 2 months before outdoor night temperatures are reliably in the 50-55°F (10-13°C) range. Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep and 1 inch apart in a container of seed starting mix. Keep moist and warm 80-85°F (27-30°C) and provide a strong light source until ready to plant outside. When seedlings are 2 inches tall, transplant into deeper individual containers. Maintain at 70-75°F (21-24°C). Feed with half-strength fertilizer every 2 weeks until weather is warm enough to gradually acclimate seedlings to outdoor conditions. Transplant 2 feet apart into rich soil in full sun.
Don’t transplant these heat-lovers outdoors until nights stay securely above 55°F (13°C). Prepare soil well with aged manure or compost. Plant only robust seedlings with well-developed roots and mulch well. Fertilize plants regularly, at least monthly, throughout the growing season.
HARVEST AND USE
Pick when fruits have sized up and are firm fleshed and glossy. Slice and quickly sauté, or cut in half lengthwise, brush with good olive oil and a little chopped garlic, and then roast or grill until soft and succulent. Serve sprinkled with fresh chopped herbs like basil, dill or thyme and grated fresh Parmesan.