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Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville
EGGPLANT PRODUCTION GUI
Florida eggplant production extends geogra
ically from North Florida to Homestead in i
Florida. The crop is produced in some area of
state almost every month of the year. Comnm
cial shipments are reported for every 'month k
cept August, with heaviest shipments in Nov
ber, December, January, March, April and
Eggplant sales in 1968 amounted to $3,116,0
Areas of production, yields and acreage for 19
69 are listed below.
AVERAGE HARVESTED ACREAGE
Harvested Avg. Yiel
Acreage Bu. Per Ac
Northwest Florida 480 209
North Central Florida 190 284
West Central Florida 440 318
Southwest Florida 90 478
Southeast Florida 1,000 623
State Total 2,200 437
Additional information on various aspects of
producing eggplants can be obtained in the fol-
lowing publications available from your county
Fla. Exp. Station Cir. S-116, Control of In-
sects and Other Pests of Tomatoes, Peppers and
Eggplant. November 1959.
U.S.D.A. Leaflet 351, Growing Eggplant.
U.S.D.A. Agricultural Handbook 28, Market
Diseases of Tomatoes, Peppers and Eggplants.
Fla. Ext. Cir. 193G, Commercial Vegetable
Insect and Disease Control Guide. June 1970.
Fla. Ext. Cir. 196C, Commercial Vegetable
Weed Control Guide. September 1970.
Fla. Ext. Cir. 225A, Commercial Vegetable
Fertilization Guide, May 1970.
YIELDS, COSTS AND RETURNS FOR
PALM BEACH BROWARD AREA'
Item 1964-68 1969
Bushels per acre 565 677
Production costs, $ 681.10 954.94
Harvesting & Marketing costs, $ 638.45 829.59
Total crops costs, $ 1319.55 1784.53
Sales F.O.B., $ 1309.90 2451.61
Profit or (loss) per acre,$ (9.65) 667.08
SD. L. Brooke, Fla. Agr. Exp. Station, Ag. Econ. Rpt. 2.
Florida Market-Resistant to "tip over" phase
but susceptible to fruit rot phase of Phomopsis.
Fruit, dark purple with long oval shape. High
yielder, but initially some fruit may be off-color.
Florida Beauty-Resistant to "tip over" phase
but susceptible to fruit rot phase of Phomopsis.
Earlier, particularly in North Florida fall plant-
ings, and more oval shaped than Florida Market.
High yielder, but initially some fruit may be off-
Grower Selections-Some growers on the lower
East Coast save their own seed and grow selec-
tions which they prefer over commercially avail-
PLANTING RATES, DISTANCE, TIMES
North Fla. Central Fla. South Fla.
Spring Jan.-March Dec.-Jan. Dec.-Jan.
Fall Aug.-Sept. Aug.-Oct.
Spring Feb.-April Jan.-March Jan.-Feb.
Fall Aug.-Sept. Aug.-Oct.
Seed to Transplant
(Days) 42-56 42-56 42-56
Days to Maturity
Transplants 80-85 80-85 80-85
Field Direct Seeded 95-110 95-110 95-110
Between Rows 36"-48" 36"-48" 36"-48"
Within the Row 34"-48" 34"-48" 34"-48"
Seeding Depth %" %" %"
Direct Field Seeded 1 lb./Acre 1 lb./Acre 1 lb./Acre
Seed-bed transplant % lb./Acre % 1b./Acre % lb./Acre
PLANT BED MANAGEMENT
Eggplants can be direct field seeded. The fol-
lowing outline is concerned with eggplants in-
tended as a transplant crop. To produce sturdy,
disease and insect free plants for transplanting,
the following preplanting and production proce-
dures must be followed:
(1) Plant Bed Site-Select the plant bed site
in an area which has good air and water drainage
with protection from north and northwest winds.
Avoid using land where eggplant, pepper, toma-
toes or potatoes have been grown.
(2) Plant Bed Layout-Lay out beds east and
west and slope toward south so covers are re-
moved toward north.
(3) Soil Preparation-Prepare soil thoroughly
by plowing and disking or rototilling following
soil testing and liming if necessary. Mineral soils
with pH value of 5.5 or below should be limed as
discussed under land preparation.
(4) Fertilizing-Apply 4-8-8 or similar ferti-
lizer; broadcast at the rate of 2 to 3 pounds per
100 square feet of bed and work fertilizer into
the top four inches of soil. At least one-half of
the nitrogen should be nitrate-nitrogen.
.(5) Fumigation-Fumigate soil at least three
weeks before seeding to control nematodes, weeds,
insects and most soil diseases. Keep area moist for
two weeks before treatment. Methyl bromide in-
jected and immediately sealed in with plastic film
covers, at the rate of 2 pounds per 100 square
feet of bed area is recommended. Do not treat
when soil temperatures are below 60 degrees F.
or when soil is very wet or very dry. Leave plastic
covers on for 48 hours; then remove covers and
aerate soil thoroughly. Be careful not to recon-
taminate treated area with untreated soil from
tools or workers' feet. Do not remove covers when
weather is wet or cold.
(6) Plastic Covers-If plastic covers are used
for plant beds, keep covers tightly closed until
seed germinate. Following germination, covers
should be raised or removed on sunny days to
keep foliage of plants as dry as possible. The
high humidity and high temperatures that de-
velop under plastic covers cause weak, soft growth
and increase disease problems.
(7) Seedling Diseases-Keep seedling diseases
under control with a regular spray program. Be-
gin spray application when plants emerge and
repeat at seven-day intervals.
Select land several months prior to planting so
that clearing may be done in time to remove all
large debris, and, in order that sufficient time is
allowed for break-down of turned-under organic
material. Good water control is essential for both
irrigation and drainage. Low spots and potholes
should be filled and leveled, or avoided. Take soil
samples to determine lime requirements, so that
lime may be applied at least two months before
planting. On mineral soils where pH is below 5.5,
the soil should be tested and limed at a rate in ac-
cordance with soil test results. Dolomitic lime-
stone should be used if soil tests show that mag-
nesium is needed, i.e., if soil test value shows less
than 150 lbs. MgO per acre. A ratio of calcium:
magnesium of about 5:1 should be maintained.
Eggplants grown on mineral soils with favor-
able moisture content, during a favorable growing
season, respond to high rates of fertilization.
Apply one-third to one-half of the initial or basic
application of fertilizer at planting, and the re-
mainder when the crop is one-third grown. Apply
the initial fertilizer in two bands, each located
2 to 3 inches to the side and 11/2 to 2 inches below
the level of the seed or plant. Subsequent appli-
cations should be banded 4 to 6 inches to the side
of plants, the amounts and frequency depending
on length of harvesting period. On muck or peat,
all fertilizer may be applied broadcast at time of
planting. Eggplants do not produce well on marl
or rockland soils even though some are grown
commercially on these soils.
FERTILIZATION OF EGGPLANTS
ON DIFFERENT KINDS OF SOIL
Basic Actual Lbs./Acre
Soil Application Applied Each Number
Types Actual Lbs./Acre Application of
N-P20.-KO N-P20s-K20 Applications
Irrigated 108-144-144a 30- 0-30 1 to 6
Unirrigated 90-120-120 30- 0-30 1 to 3
Peat & Muck 0-120-240b e c
Rockland 45- 60- 60 30-30-30 1 to 4
Marl 54- 72- 72 30- 0-30 1 to 3
a This total amount may be applied in split applications to
reduce leaching and fertilizer burn.
b Rates suggested are for new or low P20s and KLO or-
ganic soils. When soil tests show a medium level of
P20s, reduce amount applied by one-third. When P0ss
levels are high, reduce by two-thirds. Follow the same
suggestion for K20. On new organic soils, apply 15 lbs.
of CuO, 10 lbs. of MnO and 4 lbs. of B20a per acre before
o During cold weather or following heavy rainfall, nitrate-
nitrogen sidedressing may be needed.
Several minor elements (micronutrient ele-
ments) may be supplied in adequate quantities
through the fungicides used. These include man-
ganese (maneb), zinc (zineb) and copper. Man-
ganese deficiency on some soils with pH 6.0 or
above may be prevented or corrected by using
fertilizers containing 1%o MnO, or by spraying
with 11/2 to 2 lbs. of manganese sulfate in -100
gallons of water per acre. Magnesium needs may
be supplied best by using dolomitic limestone be-
fore planting or by including 2% MgO in the
fertilizer. Magnesium can also be supplied by
spraying with 2 to 4 lbs. of magnesium sulfate
in 100 gallons of water per acre. If minor element
deficiencies are suspected to occur, than an appli-
cation of 30 lbs. of FTE 503 per acre formulated
in the fertilizer is a good practice.
a Do not apply after fruit is set.
b D o not mae more than 2 applications per season.
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a Do not apply after fruit is set.
1. Spider Mites-Several spider mites infest
eggplant. Parathion, malathion and sulfur are
effective against some red spider species, but do
not control certain other species. Sulfur is the
suggested diluent for spider mite control chem-
2. Cutworms--Apply toxaphene or chlordane
at the rate of 2 lbs. active ingredient (5 lbs. of
40% WP or 20 Ibs. of 10% dust or granules) per
acre to the soil surface before planting if cut-
worms are known to be present. Do not disturb
soil for three to five days. A 21/2% toxaphene or
2% chlordane wheat bran bait can be used as
above at the rate of 20 to 40 lbs. per acre. If cut-
worm damage to young plants is noted, baits
should be used at once.
3. Mole Crickets-Broadcast aldrin at 2 lbs. or
chlordane at 4 lbs. active ingredient per acre as
a spray, dust or granules, or a 2% chlordane or
aldrin wheat bran bait evenly over the soil sur-
face at 20 to 40 lbs. per acre before seeding or
transplanting if insects are evident. After plants
are up, use fresh bait on soil (not plants) in late
afternoon when soil is moist and warm. For cut-
worms or mole crickets in seedbeds, use a bait or
drench with one of the recommended insecticides
at the rates given. Treat a few days before
Several species of nematodes cause injury to
eggplants. To control nematodes, the following
recommendations are suggested.
General Directions For Fumigation
When to treat: Soil temperatures should be in
the range of 50-80' F. at the six (6) inch depth.
Soil moisture should be relatively low and soil air
relatively high. A soil moisture content about
midway or less between field capacity and perma-
nent wilting is optimum for fumigation.
Soil preparation: Avoid undecomposed trash
in the field. Disk thoroughly. Cover trash and
allow it to rot before fumigation treatment.
Fumigate only when soil is in good seedbed con-
dition, free of clods, and undecomposed plant
Application: For overall application of fumi-
gants, set chisels 12-inches apart. For row treat-
ment, adjust chisels to same spacing as planter.
Plant directly in treated strip. If two chisels per
row are used, apply at the same rate per chisel
as for overall. Inject at a depth of 8-10 inches
below final soil surface. Seal chisel channels with
a drag, ring roller, press wheel or similar device.
Aeration: Following fumigation, allow an ex-
posure period of 7-10 days before disturbing soil.
Wait at least 2-3 weeks before planting and long-
er before planting in organic and heavy mineral
soils. Also, allow a longer waiting period when
soil temperatures fall below 600 F. or in case of
heavy rains. Aerate soil by plowing or cultivating
being sure not to recontaminate beds with con-
taminated soil or implements. No waiting period
is required when using Nemagon or Fumazone.
DISEASES AND CONTROLS
Phomopsis blight (Phomopsis vexans)-Flor-
ida Market and Florida Beauty are resistant to
the "tip over" stage of Phomopsis blight. How-
ever, the fruit rot and leaf and stem lesion stages
are serious problems. Only disease-free plants
should be transplanted from seedbed to field.
Transplant Bed Spray
Two (2) lbs. 75% zineb, in 100 gallons of water.
To make 6 gallons of spray, use 2 ounces (8
level tablespoonfuls) of zineb.
Make two applications when plants emerge and
repeat at seven-day intervals. For general foliage
and fruit disease control apply 70% zineb or
maneb at 11/ lbs./100 gallons on a regular sched-
ule every 5 to 10 days. A suitable spreader stick-
er will be beneficial in coverage on fruit.
DCPA (Dacthal)-Apply posttransplanting at
101/2 lbs. of active ingredients per acre; apply
directionally to base of plant.
Read the label on each pesticide container be-
fore each use. Heed all cautions and warnings.
Store pesticides in original labelled containers in
a safe place, preferably under lock and key. Dis-
pose of empty containers promptly and safely.
Information is given on recommended pesticides
and minimum days between last application and
harvest. There will be changes and cancellations;
therefore, the grower is urged to keep abreast of
developments through county extension agents,
experiment stations, industry, etc.
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HARVESTING AND HANDLING
Fruit should be harvested when they are large
enough for best edible quality, yet not so mature
that seed are hard and the flesh is spongy. Har-
vested fruit should be held at temperatures be-
tween 45 and 50 degrees F.
The use of trade names in this publication is solely
the purpose of providing specific information. It is n
guarantee or warranty of the products named and
not signify that they are approved to the exclusio-
others of suitable composition.
Prepared by: Thomas G. Hart, Mason E. Marvel
James Montelaro in cooperation with other person(
the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Sp
assistance was given by J. E. Brogdon, D. W. Dici
and R. S. Mullin.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Extension Service, University of Florida
United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
Joe N. Busby, Dean