HEIRLOOM. From 1902, it remains a standard worldwide for large-fruited black eggplant.
Over 100 years old, this 1902 Burpee introduction was an immediate hit because the plants ripened perfect fruits dramatically earlier than other varieties. It became the common market eggplant of today. Harvested fresh, however, makes all the difference.
Start eggplant seeds indoors in a warm, well-lighted area 8-10 weeks before last frost. Sow seeds in seed-starting formula in individual containers. Sow 1/4" deep, firm lightly and keep evenly moist. Place containers in a south facing window or under grow lights until seedlings emerge. Seedlings emerge in 10-21 days.
How to Grow
Before setting out in garden, "harden off" seedlings by accustoming to outdoor conditions by moving to a sheltered place outside for a week. Set plants 12" apart in rows 30" apart once the soil has thoroughly warmed. Provide eggplant plants with extra water during especially dry periods. Plant eggplants in a different location each year.
Pick regular-sized eggplants at 4-5" long, 60-70 days after transplanting into the garden. (Make sure the skin is still glossy; dull skin is a sign that the plants are overripe.) When cutting the fruit, leave 1" of stem attached. Use eggplants immediately after harvesting. Eggplant makes a great substitute for meat in many dishes.