Plant and handle eggplant in the same general way as tomatoes, although eggplant is more sensitive to cold than tomatoes. Warm to hot weather throughout the season is necessary for good production.
Eggplants are generally not planted from seed but grown from transplants because of their long growing season requirements.
Plant each eggplant deeply enough to bury the stem as far as the first leaf. Place plants about 18 to 24 inches apart. Press the soil firmly around the plant and water thoroughly to remove any air pockets. If transplanting in the summer, shade the plants in the middle of the day for the first week.
The standard eggplant produces egg-shaped, glossy, purple-black fruit 7 to 10 inches long when fully mature. Only a few plants are needed to meet the average family's needs.
White, ornamental varieties are available and edible but are of poor eating quality.
The long, slender Japanese eggplant has a thinner skin and more delicate flavor.
Both standard and miniature eggplants can be grown successfully in containers, but standard varieties yield a better crop.
Read more about eggplant varieties.