Garden egg is a popular vegetable/fruit consumed throughout the country either in its fresh form, cooked or fried depending on the cultural orientation of the consumer.
The vegetable, otherwise known as eggplant, thrives in well drained soils rich in organic matter. It could be planted either directly or by raising them in nursery beds before transplanting on the main field.
Growing eggplants is similar to growing peppers and tomatoes; they are heavy feeders and require constant supply of moisture.
According to mofa.gov.gh, thorough land preparation is important in facilitating early crop establishment and adequate weed control, adding that 30 tonnes of organic matter/ farm yard manure should be incorporated per hectare at least a fortnight to planting.
It has a planting seed rate of 350g to 500g per hectare. Seedlings should be transplanted to the main field at five leaf stage.
It is worthy to note that transplanting is to be done preferably in the late afternoon.
mofa.gov.gh further advised that farmers use soil analysis as a guide for fertiliser application, giving a general recommendation of 2-3 split application of 250kg to 400kg/ha of 15-15-15 NPK fertiliser.
Side dressing should be done at four, eight, 12 and 16 weeks after planting, with 5g of potassium nitrate added per plant after each harvest for optimum yield.
Note that it will not set fruit when the temperature is too hot or too low, thus not suitable for greenhouse farming.
On harvesting, garden egg starts fruiting about two months after transplanting and may continue fruiting for three months or more. Eggplants due for harvest should have shiny skin and attractive colour and should be done twice weekly.
It is advisable to cut the eggplants with knife from the branches with about 5cm stalk and calyx attached.