Growing Aubergines under glass
Aubergines can be grown entirely in a greenhouse or large cold frame; the additional heat and climatic stability this environment provides usually leads to heavier cropping. Sow the seeds in a heated greenhouse or propagator from late winter onwards, or in an unheated greenhouse from mid to late spring.
Pot on the young plants as necessary, and when they are 15-20 cm (6-8”) high, remove the plants from the pots and set them out 60 cm (2’) apart in the greenhouse border, or in a cold frame outdoors. Alternatively, plunge the pots up to their rims in ashes in the cold frame. In this case, they should be in a final pot size of 25 cm (10”) and should not be plunged until this size has been reached, although they can still be put in the frame when 15-20 cm (6-8”) high. Make sure there is at least 90 cm (3’) head room for the plants to grow comfortably, and, if necessary, raise the frame on brick 3. or concrete block plinths.
Cultivation is the same as for outdoor grown aubergines, but those grown under glass are particularly vulnerable to red spider mite attack, so inspect the plants regularly and frequently for signs of this pest. Botrytis can be troublesome also, in airless, cool conditions.
Growing in pots, tubs and other containers Aubergines are excellent plants to grow in containers where space is limited. If well grown, they will produce as many fruits as those grown in the open ground. Sow as directed for growing outdoors. Transfer thefrom the seed trays to the 7.5 cm (3”) pots, then to 15 cm (6”) pots and finally to the 25 cm (10”) size. The in these large pots should consist of two parts by volume of good loam to one part each of leafmould and well rotted manure. Mix in a little sharp sand, to improve drainage. Remember to put a 2.5 cm (1”) layer of broken crocks, small pieces of brick or other drainage material in the bottom of the pot, so that the drainage hole does not get clogged. Do not forget that the growing points are nipped out when the plants are about 15 cm (6”) tall, to encourage the production of sideshoots. Keep the pots in a greenhouse, or indoors in a sunny place; when the weather is warm and sunny, stand the pots outdoors. They can be kept on a balcony or terrace all the time, if it is warm and sheltered.
Because the compost in pots dries out much more quickly thanin the open ground, it is essential that you water the plants regularly, and particularly in hot dry weather. They will also need feeding when the first fruits are starting to swell, and from then on until the last fruits have reached full size. Feed as directed under Care and Cultivation. Remember to supply a stake.