Eggplant (Solanum melongena) or aubergine is a species of nightshade grown for its edible fruit. Eggplant is the common name in North America, Australia and New Zealand. However, in British English, it is aubergine, and in South Asia and South Africa, it is brinjal. (Wikipedia)
Garden eggs are a very popular vegetable in Ghana, used in the preparation of soups and stews. So is garden eggs production, a popular occupation in certain parts of the country.
Solanum melongena (L)
Long purple, Black beauty, Florida market, Ntrowa pa, Ojwanshua, Baby aubergines (Ravaya).
Garden eggs prefer relatively high day (320C) and night (210C) temperatures, thus require warm temperatures for optimum growth and development.
Source of planting material
Buy certified seeds from reputable seed companies.
Garden eggs grow in well-drained soils with high organic matter content. The farm should be close to a reliable source of water supply for irrigation.
Read also: Complete Guide to Tomato Production in Ghana
Thorough land preparation is important in enhancing early crop establishment and adequate weed control. Moreso, garden eggs respond very positively to organic matter, therefore, incorporate 30 tons/ha of decomposed farm-yard manure into the soil at least a fortnight before planting.
Propagation of garden eggs
Nurse seeds in tray or seedbed. Prick out seedlings in seed trays into larger boxes at 2 leaf stage and transplant to the field at 5 leaf stage. Additionally, apply liquid manure (20kg-25kg cattle/poultry manure in 200L water) or solution of 6-10g per litre of compound fertilizer high in phosphorus (15-15-15/20-20-0 NPK), at 75ml (1 milk tin) per plant to the base of leaves of seedlings are pale. Alternatively, the already prepared seedling nutrient such as MAP may be applied to boost root growth.
Plant seedlings, preferably late afternoon at a square spacing of 90cmx90cm during the major wet season and 90cmx60cm in the minor season.
Seed rate: 350g to 500g per ha.
207kg/ha of N, 46kg/ha of P2O5 and 340 kg/ha of K20.
Use soil analysis as a guide for fertilizer application. A general recommendation is 2-3 split application of 250kg to 400kg /ha (a total of 23g/plant) of 15-15-15 NPK compound fertilizer. Side dress at 4,8,12 and 16 weeks after planting and after each harvest apply 5g/plant of Potassium Nitrate (400g/ha).
Read also: Why is Organic Fertilizer better?
Mulch and hoe regularly to reduce weeds incidence.
Pest and Disease Control
Pests: Eggplant Skeletonizer (Selepa docilis), Fruit borer (Leucinodes orbonalis), Pyralid Moth larva(Euzophra villora), thrips sp. and spider mites. These pests an be controlled by routine sprays of recommended insecticides.
Diseases: Fruit Rot (Phytophthora parasitica) and Bacterial Wilt (Pseudomonas solanacearum). Control by removing diseased plants, practice crop rotation, use of resistant cultivars and apply recommended pesticides.
Garden eggs usually start to bear about 2 months after transplanting and may continue to bear for 3 months or more. Harvest the fruit twice weekly while they are relatively young. Fruits must have shiny skin and attractive colour. Moreover, during harvesting, cut the fruit from the branches with about 5cm stalk and calyx attached.
A yield of 15-40 tons/ha can be obtained depending on the variety and application of good agricultural practices.
Fruits must be graded and packed into plastic baskets.
Operational Budget/Ha/Yr (Updated 2018)
Average yield/ha = 40 tons =40,000 kg
Percentage loss of 5%
Available yield = 95/100×40,000kg = 38,000kg
Farm gate price/50kg = Ghc30
38,000kg/50kgxGhc30 = 22,800
Income = Ghc22,800
Net income = Ghc22,800-Ghc11,270 = Ghc11,530.00
Note: This budget does not include fixed cost and overheads.
Reference: Garden Eggs Production (http://mofa.gov.gh)