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Growing Eggplant Successfully in Cooler Climates

August 16, 2012
Fairy Tale Eggplants

Fairy Tale Eggplants

Here in the PacNW growing eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, and other nightshades successfully can be tricky. These crops thrive in hot climates, which we really don’t have. Instead, we enjoy relatively mild weather year-round, and summer doesn’t seem to really arrive until the middle of July (if it decides to really show up at all). So, with a shortened period of heat, getting these crops to cooperate isn’t always possible.

Over the years, I’ve managed to fine-tune our tomato growing techniques to produce even in the coolest summers. Details on tomato tricks here. Potatoes seem to perform pretty darn well so long as they aren’t planted and left to rot in really wet, cold soil. We aren’t a big pepper eating household, so not having those isn’t a big bother to me. That being said, I have found a jalapeno that produces fairly well for us — but that’s a post for another day. Today, it’s about the eggplants!

In years past, we’ve gotten some okay Globe eggplant harvests. We purchased plant starts and kept those plants going for most of the summer in pots, in the greenhouse. We got a few dwarfed “globes” that year, and until this year, we pretty much chose not to grow them. Instead, we looked forward to a few in our CSA box.

Fairy Tale Eggplants in Container

Fairy Tale Eggplants in Container

This year, however, I gave it another shot, and I think I’ve found the perfect variety for our cool seasons and small garden spaces. A local nursery was offering starts of ‘Fairy Tale’. This diminutive plant is perfect for container growing. It grows copious flowers and appears to pollinate readily. The cream and purple-striped, elongated fruits only get to about 3″-4″ long. They look like colorful earrings dangling from the plant, and there are a lot of them, which makes up for how small they are.

We have two plants growing and have harvested about six or so fruits already this summer. (Remember: our summer heat didn’t arrive until much later than when others got theirs). And, the plants are laden with several more yet to mature. And, yes, the pretty little purple flowers keep right on blooming.

No. The plants aren’t in the greenhouse. They’re outside and have been since about mid-June. One plant is growing in a simple 1-gallon size nursery container. The other is planted in a slightly larger ceramic pot. Both work great!

So, if you’re short on room or short on summer, consider pretty little ‘Fairy Tale’ eggplants and odds are you’ll enjoy a bountiful harvest no matter what Mother Nature may bring.

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