Aubergines: Growing Things We Actually Like To Eat
Aubergines are one of those things that are pretty expensive to buy in supermarkets and, if you know how, are actually not that difficult to grow.
I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with them, they’re attractive plants with large downy leaves and pretty largish purple flowers. The dark purple fruits swelling on the plants make for a quite magnificent sight.
In London, I had grown them from seed, originally to impress an Italian boyfriend .(Silly girl, he was an idiot in fact, but at least the aubergines were worth it!) Although they could grow outside in my South West facing walled garden, I learned, over the years, that there was more than a little luck attached to it, the flowers often coming too late in the summer, to harvest a meaningful crop. Latterly, I had quite a bit of success growing nursery reared plants that were further on, then growing them behind the kitchen window. My dear Jamaican friend, Princess, screamed at me if I counted the fruits, believing an old superstition, that counting them, would make them fall off.
Then the move North. We had to build a little greenhouse on the allotment, to grow all the Mediterranean vegetables and herbs that were happy in the London garden, and we’ve had a great deal of success with pretty much everything, but not, at first, the aubergines.
By chance, I picked up a ‘grafted’ aubergine in a garden centre, at great expense of course, but it promised great things. Grafted to what, I’m not entirely sure, but I put it in the greenhouse and followed my own tips for growing aubergines. Ta da! A fantastic success!
So I’m delighted to see that grafted aubergines are now available from Delfland Nurseries, a simply wonderful, independent supplier, of high quality organic plants. They cost £1.85p per plant, which is much cheaper than the garden centre, so I think I’ll run to a couple this year.
So roll on the summer and a great crop of Aubergines. I’ve no Italian to impress now, but I’m hoping to blow away the Big Irishman and our friends in the North