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General information and discussion about cultivating eggplants/aubergines.

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Old February 3, 2015   #1
Jshphoto
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Default Baby Eggplant Problems

Hi Folks,

First of all, I'm in New Orleans. The weather has been in the swinging from beautiful spring like days in the 70s to occasional nights in the upper 30's. My eggplants have primarily been indoors under growlights, but I have put them out in the sun and shade for several hours.

My eggplants are Udamalapet and Diamond, which I have grown from seed. Each variety is currently in 4 inch pots. They are in a 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 compost/ and 1/3 pete moss mixture. They have been bottom watered and grown under LED grow lights that are on for 16 hours a day. Each plant seems to be doing well, with strong stems and well formed leaves. The Udamalpets are about 3 inches high and the Diamonds are about 5.

Lately, I have noticed that the bottom most leaves seem to dropping off. The problems is worse on the Diamonds than on the Udamalapets. Any advice on what is causing this. I also notice that the leaves are starting to curl a bit. I do not think that the plant is in serious danger, because it continues to put out new leaves, but I've never grown eggplants from seed before.

Lastly, should I be giving these guys any additional foods? I know they have not been put in the ground yet, but would that help them to have some extra nutrients?

Thanks,
Stephen
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Old February 4, 2015   #2
shelleybean
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Mine sometimes start to do that very close to plant out time. I feed mine at half strength once they're that big and I bottom water like you. They should perk up once you get them out there full time. When is your usual plant out date?
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Old February 4, 2015   #3
Jshphoto
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Most likely the first of March.
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Old February 4, 2015   #4
JJJessee
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Do you all have flea beetles in NOLA?
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Old February 4, 2015   #5
Jshphoto
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Jessee,

I'm certain we do. I have noticed 1 or 2 very tiny flies buzzing around them on occasion. I have sprayed them lightly with some insecticidal soap. These plants have mostly been inside the entire time.
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Old February 4, 2015   #6
saltmarsh
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Jshphoto, do you grow Baby Lima beans? Claud
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Old February 4, 2015   #7
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Wow, you must have started them really early. Try feeding them every time you water and see if start to look happier.
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Old February 4, 2015   #8
Jshphoto
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Shelleybean,

Would compost tea be a good food for them?

Stephen
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Old February 4, 2015   #9
Jshphoto
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Here are some photos.
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Old February 4, 2015   #10
Jshphoto
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No, I have not grown baby lima beans.
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Old February 4, 2015   #11
saltmarsh
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Default Problems with Eggplant

Stephen, the reason I ask about the Lima beans is Limas will repel Colorado Potato beatles as well as Flea beatles.

Several years ago I was having a problem with Colorado Potato beatles eating my eggplant. I don't use insecticides so I was looking for another solution. I found one reference to Lima beans controlling Potato beatles on eggplant. That was all the information. Nothing about variety of beans, spacing, how it works or anything else.

So the next year I interplanted my eggplant with Fordhook Lima beans.
I' m not recommending this source, just want you to see what I'm talking about.

http://www.burpee.com/vegetables/bea...=AFF&omn2pd=bz

They should be available at your local co-op or any feed and seed store at a much cheaper price.

I planted the row of eggplant in the center of a 4' bed with 3 foot spacing between plants and planted a row of lima beans on both sides of the eggplant about a foot away with hills of 2 limas every 10 inches.

I also planted another 8 eggplant on the next row over (about 8' from the other row of eggplant) without any limas.

The eggplant were transplanted at the same time as the limas were planted.

Flea beatles started shotgunning the eggplant the same day they were set out. I sprayed them with Garlic, Hot Pepper, and Sage tea and it stopped them. I also sprayed the ground where the limas were planted. The tea masks the odor of the seeds so birds and racoons won't dig them up.

About the same time the limas broke through the soil, the potato beatles arrived and started eating the eggplant and laying eggs.

I use a tablespoon of molasses per gallon with my teas to act as a sticker and a tablespoon of Palmolive Orange dishwashing liquid per gallon to act as a spreader and contact poison for insects.

The tea had no effect on the potato beatles or their nymphs, so I put on the blue disposable gloves and squashed the beatles, nymphs, and eggs by hand every day.

When the limas got about 8" high the adult Potato beatles disappeared. The limas did work. By repelling the adult beatles they didn't lay their eggs on the plants. They also repelled the Flea beatles.

But it also repelled the beatles from the eggplant which were planted 8' away without limas planted next to them.

I figured it must have something to do with the odor of the limas, so when I picked and shelled the limas, I made a tea from the hulls (boil 1 gallon of hulls in 3 gallons of water for 15 minutes, stain, store in 2 litre bottles until needed).

The next year I planted 2 rows of limas 8' on either side of my row of eggplant and sprayed the lima bean hull tea on the eggplant when I transplanted them. No Flea beatle problems. I sprayed again on 2 week intervals to protect new growth.

When the limas were 8" tall, I stopped spraying and the limas continued to repel the Colorado Potato beatles and Flea beatles. The Lima bean hull tea worked just like the bean vines.

The only problem I had with Colorado Potato beatle was on a row of Sophie's Choice tomatoes about 30' away from the limas. I squashed them and sprayed with the tea and that solved the problem.

You don't have to grow the limas yourself to get the tea. A lot of the feed and seed stores have pea and bean shellers. They charge about $3.00 per bushel to shell your peas and beans. Just ask in a nice way for the hulls you want and make a supply of tea. It will keep in a dark storage area for a year without any problems until you need it. Claud
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Old February 4, 2015   #12
shelleybean
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I would keep your fertilization on the weak side for now. I don't apply full strength fertilizer to mine until they've been in the ground 10-14 days. Sometimes compost is really "hot" and can burn very young plants. I started my seeds last weekend and mine will go out to harden off the second week of April, so at about 10 weeks old. If you see they're outgrowing the 4 inch pots before it's time for them to go out, you might go to a larger pot and use a potting mix that has some food mixed into the formula. If you go that route, I would not add any other fertilizer they're planted in their permanent homes.
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Old February 4, 2015   #13
ScottinAtlanta
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I spray my seedlings with weak kelp mix when they look puny - they seem to love it, and the change in green is noticeable in a day or so.
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Old February 4, 2015   #14
Jshphoto
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Wow. First of all, that is a great looking farm. I'm so jealous. Second of all, thanks for the information about the Lima beans. I will take your advice and make some tea.
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Old February 4, 2015   #15
Jshphoto
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Earlier this morning, I took a handful of compost and put it in a nut bag and wrang it out in a bowl. Then I dunked it in some water and it turned a very deep brown. Not sure if that is really compost tea, but I do think the plants liked it. They perked up quite a bit since this morning.
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