Eggplant, Early Midnight Hybrid
Early, nearly seedless fruits are a gourmet treat inside and out.
Days To Maturity
8-12 weeks BLF
Plant Shipping Information
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How to Sow and Plant
- Sow eggplant seeds indoors 8 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit.
- Sow seeds ¼ inch deep in seed-starting formula
- Keep the soil moist at 75 degrees F
- Seedlings emerge in 10-21 days
- As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
- Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
- If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots
- Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.
Planting in the Garden:
- Select a location in full sun with good rich moist organic soil. Make sure you did not grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or potatoes in the bed the previous year to avoid disease problems.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
- Eggplants should be set 2-3 feet apart in a row with the rows spaced 3-4 feet apart.
- Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
- Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development.
- Fill the planting hole with soil to the top and press soil down firmly with your hand leaving a slight depression around the plant to hold water.
- Use the plant tag as a location marker. This is particularly important if you are trying different varieties. It is very difficult to tell which variety is which from the foliage.
- Water thoroughly, so that a puddle forms in the saucer you have created. This settles the plants in, drives out air pockets and results in good root-to-soil contact.
- Eggplants may also be planted in containers. Use a container at least 18-24 inches wide and deep and use a commercial potting mix rather than garden soil.
How to Grow
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
- Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. This is especially important for tomatoes as their roots may be easily damaged when weeding, and this can lead to blossom end rot.
- Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1-2 inches of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
Harvesting and Preserving Tips
- Pick regular-sized eggplants at 4-5 inches long, 60-70 days after transplanting into the garden. Look for firm fruits, with a glossy shine. Dull skin is a sign that the plants are overripe. Overripe fruit turn brownish and the flavor may be bitter.
- Hold firmly at the blossom end and cut with a knife or pruners. When cutting the fruit, leave 1 inch of stem attached. Eggplants are prickly at the stem end so handle with care.
- Use eggplants immediately after harvesting. If you would like to freeze some for later use, cook the fruit first and then freeze.
- Eggplant makes a great substitute for meat in many dishes.
Days To Maturity55 daysFruit Size4 inchesSunFull SunSpread32 inchesHeight33 inchesSow MethodIndoor SowPlanting TimeSpringSow Time8-12 weeks BLFThin24 inchesLife CycleAnnual
Eggplant, Early Midnight Hybrid is rated out of 5 by 56.Rated 5 out of 5 by GreatGardens from Best eggplant for the home garden Earliest Italian -type eggplant that I've grown. Produces longer than any eggplant I've tried. Mild, non-bitter taste. It grows marvelously in an EarthBox, and need only one plant to keep my wife and I supplied. Worth the $ -- it is extraordinary! -GGDate published: 2015-12-02Rated 5 out of 5 by AceUnderwood from Best eggplant ever! I wish I got a picture of this plant when it was healthy, because it was SPECTACULAR. Easily four feet tall and at least as wide, and COVERED with beautiful eggplants. I was picking four or five a week. I found them to be perfect at about 5 inches long. They were creamy and wonderful. There were about 20 tiny eggplants forming on the plant when it died. I was totally heartbroken when this gorgeous plant died virtually overnight from the scourge of bacterial wilt disease. (Not the plant's fault…a neighbor's plot infected mine….sigh…community gardens.) I will definitely plant this again next year, but in a (huge) container with fresh soil.Date published: 2015-11-28Rated 5 out of 5 by OccupyGardens from WOW!!! I grow most of my garden in very large containers. Early Midnight really does have gourmet, flavor, with a creamy texture. It is a hardy plant and all those i planted last year gave me 2 harvests...just remember to keep feeding and watering as per your schedule after you pick the first fruits.Date published: 2015-02-07Rated 5 out of 5 by elshello from Early, fruity Italian eggplant This is a great eggplant for you if you live in a region with shorter summers. The flavor is very fruity, and there are few seeds. I get about 6-8 six-inch fruits from one container plant in a typical summer. I like to plant this variety every year as it is very reliable.Date published: 2014-10-04Rated 5 out of 5 by ChuckTheGardener from Stellar performer! I grew these this summer in my community garden, and it is the general consensus that these were the knockout performer. Sturdy, well-branched plants grow steadily and need very little support. We started harvesting in early August, about 70 days after transplanting, when the first fruits reached about 8" in length. They have a beautiful symmetrical shape, tough skin, and the taste is smooth and delicate with very few seeds. They had two insect infestations: flea beetles shortly after transplant and aphids about one month after transplant. For these I sprayed Sevin and Azamax respectively; both worked very well and the plants held up with no problems. It is now mid-September and the plants are about 4' tall and still producing prolifically! I expect to be harvesting these well into October!Date published: 2014-09-19Rated 4 out of 5 by OPfarmer from Awesome Eggplants I purchased 3 of these plants for 2013 and each plant produced well. I did find some seeds. I purchased 2 Black Beauties eggplants from the Eastern Market for alternates because I did not know if these would be successful. I will definitely add these to my shopping cart for 2014.Date published: 2014-01-01Rated 5 out of 5 by Parko from A Keeper in my garden I grew plants in fabric grow bags on my patio and some also in the garden. They all did very well and we have been inundated with eggplants. I picked some today, mid-September and there are still small ones growing. The ones in the grow bags grew huge beautiful fruit that ripened mid-July, very early for us. Yes, they get seedy if they get too big but I haven't found the seeds to be hard at all and I am a sucker for a huge black shiny eggplant to stuff.Date published: 2013-09-15Rated 1 out of 5 by RoseZ3 from Seedy Eggplant These plants produced a lot of eggplants but they had too many seeds. I bought them because I have diverticular disease and can not have seeds. So when they said almost seedless I was happy, but that was not the case they were loaded with seeds. I was very disapointed. I will have to try growing something else.Date published: 2013-07-13