Black Beauty grows three to four very attractive purplish-black fruits on each plant that weigh one to three pounds. With its excellent flavor, there are many reasons to include this beautiful plant in your garden. It is a very international vegetable. Many unique and delicious recipes using it come from countries such as Japan, China, Italy, and Russia. Try dipping it in flour and sautéing in olive oil (Italian recipe), stir-frying it with bean sprouts, peppers, and tomatoes (Chinese recipe), or roasting it and combining with olive oil, chopped onions, and tomatoes (Russian relish recipe). The beautiful lavender flowers on the plants before developing into fruit are an added visual bonus in the vegetable garden. This packet plants 35 plants (after thinning).
When to plant outside: Spring, after average last frost an d when soil temperatures are at least 55 degrees F. Outdoor temperatures should be at least 55 degrees at night. Some gardeners plant eggplant when the oak leaves are fully developed. The early season use of black plastic as mulch is highly recommended to increase the soil temperature, but make sure it is taken off later in the season.
When to start inside: RECOMMENDED. 8-12 weeks before the average last frost. To germinate quickly, seed requires VERY warm soil temperatures, between 80 and 90 degrees F. Either use a heating cable or cover the seed tray with a plastic bag to contain warmth. Transplant seedlings outside 1 to 2 weeks after last frost.
The National Garden Bureau announced that 2008 is the Year of Rudbeckia and Eggplant.