Heirloom eggplant seeds produce not only the commonly used purple varieties, but also white, orange, and green as well as purple gradients. The plant is known to have been cultivated since at least 544 in China and before then on the Indian subcontinent. From there, Arab traders carried it to the Mediterranean where it became immensely popular. Eggplant is thought to have arrived in England during the 1500s. Small white varieties provided the common name, while they are also referred to as brinjal, aubergine or melongene.
Eggplant is a relative of tomato and potato plants, although it is actually considered a berry, with edible seeds, although they can be bitter. As a member of the nightshade family, most sources recommend not consuming the leaves and flowers.
Start heirloom eggplant seeds indoors approximately 2-10 weeks before the last frost. For the best results, soak the seeds overnight prior to planting them. When transplanting seedlings, space them approximately 18 inches apart. Keep them away from potatoes, peppers and tomatoes to avoid the risk of transferring disease and pests.
Add color to the garden and transform it to a work of art using heirloom eggplant seeds as well as other unique variations of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Heirloom gardeners have the ability to grow and produce the antique varieties that provided excellent flavor, as opposed to the bland commercial produce grown for mass consumption. Try raising more than one of the following types to make eggplant parmesan, batin, jin, a favorite family recipe or simply battered and fried.
• The Black Beauty Eggplant is just a beautiful specimen of this plant, with egg shaped fruit ready in 80 days.
• Apple Green Eggplant Seeds feature a green exterior that conceals a white interior. They don’t require peeling and are an early producer, at 64 days.
• Casper Eggplant is white as a ghost, and is ready for harvesting as early as 70 days after transplanting.
• Turkish Orange Eggplant seeds love heat and turn a brilliant shade of orange. They are a prolific producer of sweet flavorful fruit.
• The Organic Rosa Bianca seeds love heat and grow showy purple and white shaded fruit that aren’t only pretty but also taste delicious.
• An Organic Eggplant Mixed Fingers package features green, white, and purple finger eggplants that will add colorful surprise to the garden and kitchen in approximately 63 days.
Most varieties of heirloom eggplants prefer warm, moist climates, but can adapt to some degree. They like full sun but require moist, rich soil and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out or be overwatered. The plants may need to be staked for support and should be pinched back when they reach 18 inches. After fruit sets, new side shoots can also be removed. Mulch and compost tea will be beneficial to growing eggplants as the mulch helps maintain moisture around the base of the plant. Rotate planting areas annually, and avoid areas where tomatoes have been recently grown as both are susceptible to Verticillium. When harvesting, slice the fruit off rather than pulling it. When saving heirloom eggplant seeds for replanting, allow them to fully mature.