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Eggplant, Early Midnight Hybrid

Short Description

Early, nearly seedless fruits are a gourmet treat inside and out.

Full Description

This is what we call the "renaissance eggplant", because it excels in every way. First of all, it's first, arriving a full week before other eggplants. Plump, dark-skinned, and gorgeous, Early Midnight's 6" thick fruits boast creamy white, nearly seedless flesh with light, nuanced, gourmet-worthy flavor.
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Eggplant, Early Midnight Hybrid
Eggplant, Early Midnight Hybrid, , large
Item #: 22079
3 Plants
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Product properties

Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.

55 days

Fruit Size The average size of the fruit produced by this product.

4 inches

Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.

Full Sun

Spread The width of the plant at maturity.

32 inches

Height The typical height of this product at maturity.

33 inches

Sow Method This refers to whether the seed should be sown early indoors and the seedlings transplanted outside later, or if the seed should be sown directly in the garden at the recommended planting time.

Indoor Sow


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  • Eggplants

    Start Indoors Start Indoors Starting seeds indoors is called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds indoors in the spring or summer
    Transplant Transplant When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for spring
    Start Outdoors Start Outdoors Starting seeds outdoors is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the spring or summer
    Start Indoors Fall Start Indoors Fall Starting seeds indoors in the fall called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fall
    Transplant Fall Transplant Fall Transplant Fall-When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for fall
    Start Outdoors Fall Start Outdoors Fall Starting seeds outdoors in the fall is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fall
    First Date: Feb-22 - Last Date: Mar-07
    First Date: May-16 - Last Date: May-30

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 a 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 Maturity
55 days
Fruit Size
4 inches
Full Sun
32 inches
33 inches
Sow Method
Indoor Sow
Planting Time
Sow Time
8-12 weeks BLF
24 inches
Life Cycle
Eggplant, Early Midnight Hybrid is rated 3.7 out of 5 by 69.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Easy to grow & high-yield! This is my first time growing eggplants. I’m in zone 7a and I started the seeds indoors in mid February. Here they are now 4 1/2 months later (mid June). I’m growing them in 5 gallon buckets with a few 1/2 inch drainage holes. One plant per bucket.
Date published: 2019-06-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Will definitely order again! I’m a first time gardener and have struggled with a few things - mainly getting a late start and testing the soil too late to amend. I’ve got heavy clay, so lots of nutrients, poor soil structure and extremely acidic 5.3 pH soil. I’ve got 10 huge tomato plants refusing to set fruit because it’s over 90 degrees now. Anyhow, these eggplant and a zucchini plant have been two of my biggest successes. I purchased 3 plants. Only 2 made it. One was twisted or pinched at the base of the stem when it arrived and didn’t survive the first 2” rain we got. The plants are extremely vigorous and I’m harvesting at least 2 fruit per week from each plant. Will definitely purchase again, and probably start my own seed next year. We got 3 straight nights of Oklahoma storm winds and 3” total rain earlier this week. I lost about 1/3 of a plant in the wind and their spread is well over 3’ with heavy fruit so should probably cage these as a single stake isn’t enough. For the record I also lost 2 sections of fence.
Date published: 2018-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from heavy producer clearly we have had great deal of rain,but i have never experienced so much production from this eggplant variety.each plant has produced at least 15 eggplants.many more than we can consume. we have given many away.
Date published: 2017-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Eggplant I grew mine from seeds and planted in medium size pots in late May. I have grown these many years before. They are extremely productive (Note: Use a good potting soil mixed with a slow release fertilizer and some cow manure). Do not let plants fry out, in summer I basically give a gallon of water to each pot. I just picked a couple yesterday but not full size, I pick them half size so there are very few seeds. We cut thick slices, brushed with a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and when they got soft we put on each slice a slice of Provolone. They make a great lunch or dinner served on sliced toasted Italian bread. I will grow these forever. F.M.
Date published: 2017-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love this eggplant!!! I bought 3 of these eggplant plants and received them in early May.. I planted them in my raised bed. That have done exceeding well with their growth and production. So far I have harvested 3 mature eggplants with many more on the plants in various stages of developement. They are very white inside with very few seeds. I baked one today by slicing into one half inch slices, brushing them with olive oil and topping with garlic salt, oregano and parmesan cheese. I baked them at 400 degrees for 30 min. It was a wonderful dish, low calorie and tasty!! i highly recommend this eggplant!!!
Date published: 2017-07-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Seeds did not germinate Planted seeds as directed, did not sprout. All my other seeds sprouted but none of the ones from Burpee. They are sending replacement packets.
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So early and delicious I've been growing eggplants for years. This one is one of the best I've tried. The earliest of all, so beautiful, glossy, easily picked and delicious. I'll keep growing it forever
Date published: 2017-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pretty to look at and not bitter at all I had very good luck growing these eggplants in NW Indiana during summer 2016. I started them from seeds. The plants were sturdy and produced fruit that was pretty to look at and not at all bitter (no need to sweat out liquid with salt). Worked well for me, but apparently not for all commenters.
Date published: 2017-02-02
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