Garden Egg (Solanum melongena L) consists of the following Suitable varieties: Long purple, Ojwanshua, Baby aubergines (Ravaya), Black beauty, Florida market, Ntrowa pa. and they prefer a relatively high day (320C) and night (210C) temperatures, thus require warm temperatures for optimum growth and development and Planting seeds can be obtained from reputable seed companies.
Garden eggs perform better in well-drained soils with high organic matter content and the site should also be close to a reliable source of water supply for irrigation.
Land preparation is very important in enhancing early crop establishment and adequate weed control. Moreover, garden eggs respond very positively to organic matter, therefore, it is advisable to incorporate 30 tons/ha of decomposed farm-yard manure into the soil at least a fortnight before planting.
Propagation of Garden Eggs
Garden egg seeds should be nursed in a tray or seedbed. Then prick out seedlings in seed trays into larger boxes at 2 leaf stage and transplant to the field at 5 leaf stage.
Additionally, apply a liquid manure (20kg-25kg cattle/poultry manure in 200L water) or solution of 6-10g per litre of compound fertilizer high in phosphorus (15-15-15/20-20-0 NPK), at 75ml (1tin milk) per plant to the base of leaves of seedlings are pale.
Alternatively, the already prepared seedling nutrient such as MAP may be applied to boost root growth.
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Plant seedlings preferably towards the evening at a square spacing of 90cmx90cm during the major wet season and 90cmx60cm in the minor season at a Seed rate of: 350g to 500g per ha.
The Nutrient requirements of Garden egg is: 207kg/ha of N, 46kg/ha of P2O5 and 340 kg/ha of K20.
It is advisable to use soil analysis as a guide for fertilizer application. A general recommendation is 2-3 split application of 250kg to 400kg /ha (a total of 23g/plant) of 15-15-15 NPK compound fertilizer.
Side dress at 4,8,12 and 16 weeks after planting and after each harvest apply 5g/plant of Potassium Nitrate (400g/ha). Also carry out your Weed control regularly by mulching and regular hoeing.
Pest and Disease Control
Pests: Fruit borer (Leucinodes orbonalis), Pyralid Moth larva (Euzophra villora), thrips sp. Eggplant Skeletonizer (Selepa docilis), and spider mites are the major pests of garden egg and they can be controlled by routine sprays of recommended insecticides.
Diseases: Garden egg diseases like: Bacterial Wilt (Pseudomonas solanacearum) and Fruit Rot (Phytophthora parasitica) can be controlled by practicing crop rotation, removing diseased plants, the use of resistant cultivars and apply recommended pesticides.
Garden eggs usually start to bear fruits from about 2 months after transplanting and may continue to bear fruits for 3 months or more. Fruits should be harvested twice weekly while they are relatively young.
Fruits must have shiny skin and attractive color. Meanwhile during harvesting, ensure to cut the fruit from the branches with about 5cm stalk and calyx attached.
Depending on the variety and management practices used, a yield of 15-40 tons/ha can be obtained and the Fruits must be graded and packed into plastic baskets after harvesting.
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