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It is possible to grow eggplant in cooler climates!
In the cool PacNW growing eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and other nightshades successfully can be tricky. That’s because these crops thrive in hot climates, which we really don’t have. Instead, we enjoy relatively mild weather year-round. And true summer doesn’t seem to really arrive until the middle of July. So, with a shortened period of heat, getting these crops to cooperate isn’t always easy.
So how can you these to grow in Seattle?
The real trick to getting any nightshade to grow in cool climates is to add heat! So keeping plants like eggplants in greenhouses can help. And choosing smaller fruiting varieties may mean you’ll have more luck growing eggplant around here.
If I want luck growing eggplants, what varieties should I plant?
Big globe eggplants may not do very well in cooler climates. In fact, we’ve grown them. But the yields haven’t been great. Instead, tiny eggplants like this ‘Fairy Tale.’ might be better.
Tell me more about growing Fairy Tale!
‘Fairy Tale’ is a diminutive plant is perfect for container growing. Plus, it puts on copious flowers. And it appears to pollinate readily.
The cream and purple-striped, elongated fruits only get to about 3″-4″ long. And they’re so cute. In fact, they look like colorful earrings dangling from the plant. Although they are small, the plant produces a lot of these little eggplants. And the more often you harvest, the more the plants will produce!
Do I have to grow this eggplant in a greenhouse?
Actually, no. In our experience, this eggplant does fine outdoors. But it needs to be in direct sunlight. That way the small container will heat up fast. And that can help fire up how you grow eggplants successfully in cooler climates!
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I’ve had excellent luck with millionaire eggplant ( available from territorial seeds)in Seattle this year. I’ve had as many eggplant as zucchini! It’s very early and each eggplant is about 8” long and shiny deep purple. Also patio baby is doing well but they’re the small type like fairy tale. I set them out in early June but I do keep row cover on them at night until it warms up a bit.
Congrats DJ. This hot summer has been ideal for eggplant!