I come from a traditional Greek family and we try our best not to bury our traditions under the black coat of nowadays society. And one of the main traditions is to eat and stay healthy, that’s why Mediterranean food is still present in our homes and dishes.
But staying healthy these days is a real challenge. That is why we decided to plant our own crops. Since eggplants are present in most Greek dishes (you must try Greek Moussaka) I had to have my own culture. So, I created my own indoor crop garden to benefit the endless culinary applications of vegetables, especially of eggplants.
Keep in mind that growing eggplants indoors is a bit tricky because you have to provide enough heat and light:
- The first condition to tackle is heat.
- Eggplants germinate at 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 C.) or higher.
- You will really have to turn up the heat and probably use a heat mat to get sprouts.
- During the plant’s development, that high temperature must be maintained.
- Amping up the heat at least 10 more degrees will help the plant set blooms and fruit.
- Even with a southern window, it is going to be hard to provide adequate light.
- Use grow lights to give the plants at least 8 to 10 hours of full sun.
- High output T5 lights will provide enough light and produce a bit of heat, too.
- Overhead lighting is sufficient for initial growth.
- For best results, add peripheral lights once the plant starts to flower.
- This will help drive fruit production by allowing light to reach under the leaves and go directly towards the flowers and fruit.
- To keep the heat and lights confined, use a grow tent.
- This will focus the light and keep the temperatures high.
- Keep plants moist and encourage humidity.
After accomplishing these steps, the rest is easy-peasy:
- You need a clay or plastic pot. It is important to have the right size depending on what you will plant. A good option is one with a capacity of five gallons. Each plant will require up to 14 inches of space. If it is too crowded, the plants will lack air circulation, and hence, can make it more prone to diseases. There should be large holes so that water will not remain on the soil.
- The soil needs to be fast-draining. The longer the water stays in the soil, the higher is the likelihood that the roots will suffer from diseases. It will be a good idea to add organic matter to the soil, which will help to increase the size of the crop by up to two times.
- Fill the pot with your choice of soil while leaving about an inch from the top of the rim. Create holes on the surface using your finger and fill it with at least two seeds. Make sure to maintain right spacing. Cover the seeds with light soil and water from the top, making sure that the soil is only moist, but not soggy.