Learn How to grow these sweet and tender Turkish Aubergines, for a colourful harvest mid-late Summer. Easy to grow, these cute little globes are an ideal starter fruit, for even beginner gardeners.
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Turkish Aubergine History
The Aubergine has a long and ancient History and has been feeding mankind for over 2 million years! The Aubergines are believed to have first grown in Africa, eventually making their way to America and then europe in the mid 17th Century.
Turkish Aubergines are a heirloom variety produced in Turkey, they are members of the nightshade family, which also includes Tomatoes and Potatoes. The Turkish Aubergine goes by many names depending on the culture- Also known as Scarlet Eggplant, Ethiopian Eggplant, Gilo, Mock Tomato and my favourite…Garden eggs!
Turkish Aubergine Characteristics
- An Annual plant. Sow, grow and harvest in one growing season
- The Turkish Aubergine plant produces lots of orange-red fruit that resembles small tomatoes on a fairly small plant growing no more than 30 inches in height.
- The small Globular fruits average 7 cm in Diameter
How to Grow Turkish Aubergine
- Sow 2 seeds per pot in early spring (February- April around 6-8 weeks before last frost date)
- Cover lightly with soil, place on a sunny Windowsill, cover with a propagator lid or cling wrap until seedlings emerge. You should see some action within 2 weeks!
When Large enough to handle, prick out and pot on into their own pots.
When to plant out
Plant out after the risk of frost has passed and they are at least 3-4 inches in height. If you are growing in the UK, like me. It is best to grow Aubergines under glass for the best crop outcome. They will not respond well to colder outdoor conditions. You can either plant them in Greenhouse Beds, like I do, or Place them in Pots in the Greenhouse.
Do you need to stake Turkish Aubergine plants ?
I sometimes do, they are quite a compact plant with a remarkably sturdy structure. However, if you feel the plant is getting a little top heavy with fruit, for peace of mind, you may want to stake.
Turkish Aubergine Sun and Water Requirements
A full sun position is best, they need lots of heat and light. Keep the soil moist but not water logged.
Turkish Aubergine Plant Care
The most important thing I do for my Turkish Aubergine plants is allow them to breathe! The Turkish Aubergine plant is quite dense in terms of foliage, this can unfortunately lead to problems and disease due to poor air circulation. I remedy this by cutting away all the lower foliage, leaving only the fruit and a small mass of branches at the top, for developing fruits.
When Should You Harvest Turkish Aubergines?
I like to Harvest Aubergines before they get that gorgeous shiny orange colour, i’ll tell you why.. If you harvest when the Turkish Aubergines are immature, before they ripen to Orange, they are sweet and tender! If you harvest once ripe, they unfortunately become Bitter.
*Turkish Aubergines should be ready around 80 days after sowing, pick when the fruit develops green stripes.
How to Eat Turkish Aubergines
There are so many ways to Eat turkish Aubergines. You can eat them raw, sliced in a salad. Baked and stuffed! Grilled, fried or even add them to sauces. It’s a very adaptable fruit!