Sue Sanderson

Sue Sanderson – our horticulturist expert

Sue Says
Aubergines are particularly susceptible to cold temperatures and drought which can both check the growth and development of the crop. Ideally they require a steady temperature above 21?C, and a moist, well drained soil. If they are being grown in a polytunnel then they will need a lot of water during hot periods to prevent the soil from drying out. They are also heavy feeders so it is worth adding plenty of well rotted manure to the soil prior to planting them and feed with a balanced fertiliser during the growing season. In lower light levels, like we have in the UK, it will take 6 or 7 months before the plant starts to produce fruit – so the earlier that they are sown, the better.
Aubergines are self fertile but tickling inside each flowering with a small paintbrush will help to fertilise the flowers. Alternatively give them a little tap to disperse the pollen. Once fruit has set then it is worth feeding them with a high potash plant feed to improve the developing fruits.
This is quite a common problem in the UK as our temperatures are not as hot as most aubergines would prefer, and this seems to hinder pollination and fruit set.

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