Locally, eggplant is known as biringanya but its other names are brinjal, garden egg and guinea squash. The price of the eggplants depends on the shape and colour. The straight ones that are purple in colour are more preferred in the market.
Before anything else, one needs to get the correct seeds which are to be planted on seed-beds before being transferred to the farm. The soil should be mixed with well-composted manure before planting the seeds. Then the beds should be watered every day to make the seeds sprout from the soil, which happens after 10 days
The seeds germinate in 7 – 14 days depending on the heat and the moisture content. Eggplant becomes ready in three months, and for one to know when the plant is fully mature, it develops a glossy dark-purpled skin.
Harvest is done 16 to24 weeks after sowing when the skin of the fruit is shiny and unwrinkled. Generally, early short duration varieties yield about 25 to 30 tonnes and long duration up to 45 tonnes.
The vegetable produces large, plump, glossy fruits which are very tasty, especially the young ones, thus before harvesting, the tenderness and glossiness of the vegetable should be checked to ensure it is preserved for some time before it is consumed
Since the eggplant is a heavy feeder, it should be planted in fertile compost soil since the vegetable does best in rich, slightly acidic and well-drained soil. Optimum day temperatures for eggplant are in the range of 25-35degC and night temperatures from 20-27degC. Eggplant is more susceptible to low temperatures than tomato and capsicum and it does not tolerate frost. It is tolerant to drought and excessive rainfall, but struggles to grow when temperatures exceed 30degC, and where water logging occurs.
When temperature and humidity are high, eggplant becomes more vegetative. Eggplant does best in well-drained, sandy loam soils. The best environmental conditions are normally found in lowland areas with relatively little temperature variation. When grown at altitudes above 800 m, growth is retarded and yields reduced. The pH requirements range from 6 to 7 with the optimum being pH 6.4.
Brinjal is drought-tolerant, thus it can thrive well in areas with hot weather. It does well in parts of lower Eastern, Rift Valley, and Nyanza.
With size parameters varying with each variety of eggplant, growth conditions, maturation periods and coloration are some of the factors to look into before choosing any of the varieties below:
- The oval to oblong eggplant produces large, oval-shaped, and purplish to black eggplants.
- The Japanese eggplant matures fast, producing long slender fruits.
- The small-fruited eggplant blossoms into green fruits, including white lavender and purple varieties.
- There are also novelty eggplants that include such unusual types as orange Turkish eggplant, green Thai eggplant, and the egg-shaped eggplant.
Eggplants should not be planted after tomato, pepper, potato, or other solanaceous crops to prevent a recurrence of the same pests and disease pathogens. Rotate eggplants with other crops like onions, cereals or legumes. Planting eggplant after rice reduces the incidence of bacterial wilt and nematodes.
Eggplant is a true source of fibers and acids for digestion. The former provides the body with sufficient roughage for proper digestion and bowel movement. Fiber also stimulates the secretion of gastric juices that facilitate absorption of nutrients and the processing of foods.
Anemia prevention: Since deficiency of iron poses a danger to especially expectant women, as it manifests as anemia, consumption of eggplant is necessary for it fosters the body with the missing iron deposits that help form the red blood cells.
Brain and aural function: as a rich source of phytonutrients, consumption of Kenya eggplant or any other eggplant will improve recognition functions and will improve nerve communication. The brain also requires sufficient blood to function, and with the potassium component, eggplant helps boost brain abilities to see detail, boost memory and enhance other functions.
In weight loss: Fat burning is a must-have in any health list out there and since eggplant has no trace of fat, it is well placed to not only curb weight gain but reduce obesity.
Fights diabetes: with its low soluble carbs, eggplant is ideal for diabetes management. The fruit regulates glucose and insulin activity within the body.
Curbs birth defects: Expectant mothers need high levels of folic acid to buffer the fetus against neural tube defects. With their high folic acid levels, eggplants combine into a ready, nutritional snack when expecting.
For perfect bone health: Eggplants have sufficient dosage of iron and calcium minerals that aid in bone formation.
In cancer prevention: as an anti-oxidant, eggplant consists of chlorogenic acid which is a powerful aide in eradicating free radicals in the fight against cancer.