Soil requirements Eggplants need well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Amend soil with 3 to 5 inches of compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be 6.2 to 6.8.
Water requirements Keep soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Moisture is critical to prevent blossom drop and blossom end rot, and fuel developing fruits. Mulch soil to reduce water evaporation.
Frost-fighting plan A light frost damages plants. Temperatures below 10ºC stop growth and cause fruit not to set. If a surprise late spring frost comes into the forecast, protect newly planted seedlings with a frost blanket.
Common issues Blossom end rot can develop when soil moisture is erratic. Eggplant needs heat. In cold regions, planting in black pots can help warm soil and provide necessary heat to jump-start growth. Plants drop flowers when daytime temps soar above 30ºC, nights are below 10ºC, or drought stresses plants. Flea beetles love eggplant leaves, but plants yield even when leaves are riddled with beetle holes. Verticillium wilt, a soil-borne fungus, can occur in some areas.
Harvesting Pick when skin is glossy; dull fruit indicates over-ripeness. Both under-and over-ripe fruit tastes bitter. Pick white eggplants before skin turns yellow. Use pruning shears or a sharp knife to cut eggplants, keeping a short stub of stem attached.
Storage Store washed and dried eggplant at room temperature if using within one or two days. Otherwise, wrap in a dry paper towel and place in a perforated or loosely closed plastic bag in the refrigerator. Use within 5 to 7 days.