How to grow potted aubergines on the balcony
The cultivation of vegetables on the balcony has become all the rage because it starts from an increasingly common need to the people who live in the city or have fresh, seasonal vegetables, possibly grown without the use of pesticides or other toxic products.
Indeed on the balcony with some attention and a little experience you have the opportunity to personally grow the plants and enjoy the genuine product of our work. Suffice it to have some planter available with good soil to try your hand at eggplant cultivation, a species that needs warm temperatures, exposure to the sun and a soil rich in organic matter ... but for all the details read the next paragraphs.
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Choice of container
The choice of container is decisive. The eggplant is in fact an extremely vigorous plant and, to give an abundant harvest, requires ample space. Those who want to cultivate it on the balcony can move towards small varieties or choose very large containers.
We never go below 35 cm in diameter and depth, although for best results it is good to stay above 40 in all directions.
The best materials are plastic and wood. The first, in addition to being economical, is not very breathable. It will help us in the summer to prevent the earth from drying too soon.
Wood is instead an excellent insulator, keeping the fresh soil longer.
Variety of aubergines from balcony
In the choice of aubergines for the balcony it is good to address to small or medium sized varieties. Some have even been specifically studied: for example the Slim Jim, which produces bunches of small elongated fruits, the Red Ruffled, the "Mixed Patio" and the Ophelia F1.
Alternatively the elongated varieties are generally smaller, as well as those with white fruit.
Not being able to grow many specimens we also recommend, if you buy the seedlings, to turn to the grafted ones: they resist better to the radical affections and give enormously more abundant crops.
Exposure and climate
To grow and bear fruit they need light and above all heat. The ideal climate must have daytime temperatures between 22 and 26 ° C and night temperatures between 15 and 18 ° C. The biggest danger is the temperature changes that can make the flowers abort and damage the tips. In the North and in the Alpine areas, until June, it is good to keep the vases near a warm wall and to protect them during the night with special fabric, in case there should be a cool period.
Excessive heat is almost never a problem, if supported by frequent irrigation. It may, however, cause the appearance of red spider mites, especially on balconies.
Soil and composition of the vase
Like all solanaceae, it requires substrates rich in organic matter and able to remain fresh for a long time, but also with good drainage. The ideal is to create the mixture by combining 3 parts of field soil, 2 parts of compost and a part of coarse sand. Every 10 liters of soil we add about 30 g of manure and a spoonful of slow release granular vegetables, rich in potassium.
It is very important to create a thick draining layer on the bottom, based on expanded clay.
Eggplant requires regular watering, especially in the early stages of development and at the time of setting. We recommend distributing water regularly to prevent the soil from drying out completely. However, it is essential to avoid wetting the leaves and the collar to prevent the appearance of cryptogams and rots. The saucer can be useful in the hottest periods, but always empty it until June.
The eggplant to give an abundant harvest needs an extremely rich soil in organic substance and a large supply of nutrients. The ideal is to mix the flour or pelleted manure in the initial soil, together with slow release granular. This intake is usually sufficient for the first three months. Later we can choose to distribute the granulate again or use a liquid product.
These are really effective at the time of fruit growth and maturation. Those for flowering plants, with a high potassium content, are excellent. We can distribute them according to the doses and times indicated on the label or dilute them to the maximum and add them to the daily irrigation water.
For example, excellent results are achieved if there is continuous distribution thanks to automatic irrigation systems, which are very common on balconies today.
In pot it is important to support the plant, to prevent it from growing too much and to optimize its performance. We recommend the use of a brace and apical topping, when the 40 cm height has been reached. Further side topping will increase the production and production of flower-fruits.
Pests and diseases collection
Harvesting takes place before ripening: the pulp must be firm, but the seeds must not have developed yet.
Pests and diseases
The most common parasites are Colorado beetle, thrips, aleurodids, aphids and bedbugs: let's fight them with products based on natural or macerated pyrethrum. Red spider mites are common on balconies, especially in dark leaf varieties: avoid them, if possible. A good prevention involves the maintenance of high humidity and any slight afternoon shading.
Rotting and botrytis are prevented by avoiding stagnation and by not wetting the leaves.