Archive for ‘Eggplants’

September 17, 2013

Save Eggplant Seeds the Seed Savers Exchange Way

Saving seeds from heirloom varieties is one of the greatest ways to be local and sustainable. For those who are interested The Seed Savers exchange will be hosting a free webinar on eggplant seed saving. From the SSE website:

“Eggplant is a wonderfully diverse crop-type that can be addictive for chefs and seed savers alike. Though its spongy flesh makes seed removal a bit more complicated, saving seeds from this self-pollinating Solanum is fairly straightforward. Join us to learn how you can grow and maintain many different varieties in your own backyard.”

The webinar will be on September 23, 2013 7:00 p.m., Central Time

If you wish to attend this free webinar please register here.

May 2, 2013

A farmer’s perspective 5/2/2013

Dahinda, IL: I have started to write blog posts to The Local Beet. It is a Chicago Area local food blog. http://www.thelocalbeet.com/ You may start see some of what I write over there appear here.
It finally warmed up allowing time for some planting. I have some tomatoes and eggplants planted and will get more in this weekend along with peppers. I also planted some shallot starts. I grew them from seed in a previous year and it did not work out so well due to the weather and other factors. I have a flat of King Arthur bell peppers to plant. They performed tremendously the last two years despite the drought. I will not plant California Wonders again. I think that they are for a California climate or any place with a longer growing season than Illinois since they do not start producing in abundance until September. The peppers themselves are small as well.
I also got several Marglobe tomato plants. I have not grown these in years but remember that they really do well. They are listed as an heirloom tomato now as they are an open pollinated variety. Better Boy tomatoes are a hybrid version of these, I believe.
I will continue to work on getting the hoop house back in shape after the heavy wind damage during the winter. We have 3 Mallard and 2 Pekin ducklings that were given to us by a woman who wanted to give them to her grandchildren for Easter. The children’s mother said no and we have them now.
We have set up an area outside for them since the adult Khaki Campbells that we have do not get along with them. We set them out last weekend and turned our backs for a second. In that time the male Khaki went after them driving the Pekin ducklings away. It took us hours to find where they were hiding and they were obviously roughed up. Lesson learned! The adult ducks were not even in the vicinity when we let the ducklings out but a couple of minutes are all it took!
We put our current litter of piglets back in with their mother now that they are weaned and mom is dried up. They had been out on the same pasture with the llamas and goat but they could not stay. As they grow up they would have plowed the entire pasture up leaving no food for the llamas and the goat. They have an area roughly half the size now to run around in and seem happy. They seem to be growing much faster than the last littler. The last litter was raised during the winter and probably had to fight off the cold as well as put on weight. A tall order! This will probably mean that this litter will require less feed to bring to market weight (250lbs or so).

August 8, 2012

First try for Louisiana Green Eggplant

In the Chicago area, from which I hail, eggplants grew well in the deep black topsoil of the area. Back then I only grew the black beauty types and never really did any experimenting and was satisfied with what I got. Since moving out to Western Illinois, I tried to grow eggplant for several years and have had no luck. Flea beetles and other pests, as well as soil that wasn’t accommodating to eggplant production, took a toll on my eggplants.

In the past couple of years though, I have added a hoophouse to our farm, as well as manure and other amendments to the soil. After these adjustments the eggplants are growing great! The hoophouse seems to keep most pests away and the eggplant production skyrocketed. I had a bumper crop last year. I took advantage of this change and started to grow many heirloom varietes.  Among the heirloom eggplants I am growing is the Louisiana Green.

I have never tried this variety before and according to High Mowing Seeds, the Louisiana Green has similar flesh and skin as Oriental types but meatier with a full flavor. Slow cooking or braising will bring out the flavor.Tall, vigorous plants produce slender 8-9” long fruits that are glossy and lime green. Plants benefit from support producing elongated and straight fruits. Even though the appearance of the Louisana green might make you think that it is an oriental type, it was actually bred in the US. I am now starting to get some small fruits on the plants and I will let you know the results after I harvest some.

Photo: http://www.highmowingseeds.com

Louisiana Green Eggplant