Black Beauty Eggplant
Seed Count: Approx. 50 seeds
Days to Maturity: 74-90 from transplant
Description: This heirloom variety that is over 100 years old was an immediate hit in 1902 because the plants ripened perfect fruits dramatically earlier than other varieties. Fruits are large and glossy, I've even had some weigh 2-3 lbs. The flesh is smooth and slight nutty, with a good meaty texture. Black Beauty was so popular it became the common market eggplant. Harvested fresh, however, makes all the difference, because it will lose its perfect shine and great taste with age.
Mint2Grow Tip: This variety of eggplant is what got me the title of "Eggplant Queen" among my Instagram family. I had one Black Beauty plant that reached 4 ft. wide and almost 5 ft. tall. I would drastically cut it back to 2 ft. and it would just go crazy again. At any given point in time it had 6-10 eggplants on it, and with my long growing season the plant lived to be exactly 1 year old before aphids over took it. I harvested over 40 eggplants! My plant even survived 2 weeks of 30 degree nights with a good mulching. It easily became my favorite eggplant variety, and I always had an eggplant army in my fridge. I had so many eggplants, that all of my dishes included it. Eggplant fries, eggplant omelets, eggplant ziti, eggplant Parmesan, ratatouille, eggplant tomato soup, eggplant steaks, eggplant tacos, eggplant veggie burgers; you name it, I made it. I guess you could say I was the Bubba of eggplants.
How To Grow
Sowing: Places with long growing seasons can direct sow their seeds when the soil reaches 70 degrees F. However, for short growing seasons, it’s best to start seeds indoors. About 8-10 weeks before the last spring frost, plant the seeds in pots 1/4" deep. Keep them in a sunny window or under a grow light, maintaining a temperature of around 80 degrees. Germination of eggplants can be spotty, and may take several weeks. Keep the seedlings moist, and provide organic matter for the best development. When the average air and soil temp. reach 70 degrees, or about 3 weeks after the last frost, plant seedlings in well drained soil in full sun; for fullest growth, allow each plant 2-3' in all directions. Eggplants also grow very well in containers.
Growing: Eggplants thrive in the full heat of the summer; row covers, black plastic, or other methods to conserve heat may be necessary in some climates. If temperatures threaten to fall below 55 degrees F, cover the plants. Though I have had my mature eggplant plants do well up to 30 degrees. They wont fruit, and will drop their flowers, but the plants were fine. So in Florida, I was able to have a year old eggplant bush, resulting in my infamous eggplant army. Keep the soil evenly moist, and apply fertilizer or organic matter once monthly. I use a mixture of fox farm big bloom and fish emulsion every month to get loads of flower and fruit development. I've been able to sustain about 13-15 eggplants at once on this bush by fertilizing it this way. Keep in mind that aphids, hornworms, and white fly can be big pests to this plant.
Harvesting: When the skin of an eggplant begins to take on a high gloss, it is nearly ripe. To test for ripeness, press gently on the skin; if the flesh remains indented, it is ready to be harvested. Eggplant reach their best eating quality at about 1/2 their mature size, since over-sized eggplant can turn tough and bitter. For freshest taste, use immediately. If necessary, eggplant can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. If the seeds inside begin to turn brown, this indicates that your eggplant is overripe.