Eggplant seeds are one of the vegetables you start indoors 8 to 10 weeks before transplanting outside, once the danger of frost has passed.

 

Typically the average date of the last spring frost is April 30 and average date of the first fall frost is October 13.(1)

I use Victoria Day long weekend to plant, many gardeners in GTA use this holiday weekend (aka May two/four) as the date to plant and transplant vegetables and herbs that require protection from frost and warmer temperatures to germinate and thrive.

Here are the steps I suggest and took for my eggplant seeds:

Read the seed package for sowing instructions:

  • For my eggplant seeds the package tells me to start the seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost, so the same as the peppers. It also says to soak the seeds for 24 hours in tepid water before sowing in soilless medium.

Find a warm place, almost cove like, for the eggplant seeds to germinate:

  • The area that works best for my eggplant seeds to germinate – because it is consistently warm – is in my kitchen, under a counter by a heat vent. Since seeds don’t need good light this location works great for me

Secure everything you need to start:

  • Eggplant seeds
  • Egg carton as pots and base, peat pots with trays and plastic dome like covers (I use both)
    • In my pepper seed post I mentioned a neat two piece garden tool I saw at the Brampton, Ontario Seedy Saturday that helps you make biodegradable pots for seeds from newspaper. Now I found some additional alternatives to the peat pots. Check these out.
      • make your own square seed pots from newspaper, no tools required

(2)

      • additional ideas to make your own biodegradable seed pots

(3)

  • So these are great ideas, and you have to try different things out to find what’s easiest or best for you.
  • This year I am still using the egg cartons and peat pots with base and cover ($9.99 at garden retailers that have 10 attached pots x 5 = 50 peat pots total). I find the egg cartons are easy to use and they are already attached and biodegradable; and the peat pots with matching base and cover are also easy to use and the actual seed pots are biodegradable.
  • Next year I will try all these other options out to figure out if any are just as easy for me and if I want to change up what I currently use. With any of those alternatives I would then only need to find the trays/bases to put the pots into.
  • Soilless medium or a seed starting mix
IMG_4513
Black Gold Seedling Mix
  • Strips of firm cardboard, plastic garden labels or popsicle sticks to label your vegetables (it is so easy to confuse them so label right away)
  • Water
  • Tape or glue to reseal the seed packages in case you have left over seeds

Plant your eggplant seeds:

  • Open your seed package and empty them into a clear glass with water, leave it for 24 hours
  • 24 hours later, put soilless medium into the peat pots or egg cartons – leave some space for water to run off at the top
  • The eggplant seeds are hard to grab because they are small, wet, are sticking to each other, but just work through it and grab one by one tor two by two to place in the pots
    cover each seed with the surrounding soilless medium based on the depth provided on the seed package. In my case the Black Beauty Eggplant seeds package says 6mm so just slightly covered by the soilless medium
  • Gently put some water on the seeds/containers with your hands, not from sink faucet or watering can as that would be to rough for the seed and the 6 mm of soilless medium.
  • Cover the pots and trays loosely with plastic bags or plastic dome type covers.

Watch and care for them

  • Have a look every 2-3 days to make sure they don’t dry out, but don’t over water them.
  • Once the seedlings sprout  you can move your trays to a place with good light, and eventually place each pot into a bigger pot with more soil for the roots to continue to spread out.

If this is just too much or it is too late to start this year, you can buy eggplant plants already started by nurseries in May at retailers and some of the pop-up garden centres; and plant them outside end of May.

I’ll share how my eggplant seeds develop over the next two months; and your experience with your eggplant seeds are welcome.

Sources:
(1.) Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/climzoneveg.htm, January 2016.
Crouton Crackerjacks, DIY: Newspaper Pots for Seed Starting/Cuttings, March 11 2013.
GrowVeg, How to Make Biodegradable Plant Pots – Homemade Seed Starting Pots, March 13, 2015.
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