Chinese Eggplant

  • Sun: Full sun
  • Harvest Size: 18 inches long
  • Days to Harvest: 50 to 60
  • Plant Size: 3 to 4 feet tall, and 2 to 3 feet wide

Named after the town of Ping Tung, Taiwan, Chinese eggplant produces very long, slender fruit with purplish-black skin and almost no bitterness. With tender and sweet flavor, it’s commonly used in Asian soups, salads, and stir-fries. Good for containers.

Eggplant loves warmth. Plant several weeks after the last frost, and be prepared to provide frost protection in the case of a late frost. Rows covers are a good option in cool areas, and even in warm areas during cool spells—just be sure to open them back up for pollination. Gardeners in cooler climates may have better luck with eggplant in black containers that help keep the soil warm.

Plant spacing: 2 to 3 feet apart in rows 3 to 4 feet apart; 18 to 24 inches apart in intensive gardens. Plants per person: 2 to 3.

Secrets to Success »

Plant in raised beds or in pots in soil amended with composted manure. Provide support when planting—either a stake a few inches from the plant or a small tomato cage will do. Keep eggplant well watered; drip systems or soaker hoses are ideal. Mulch generously with hay or shredded leaves to hold in moisture.

Harvest and Use »

Harvest when the fruit is 10 inches long and has glossy, dark skin. Cut with an inch or so of stem using pruning shears. You can refrigerate eggplant for several days.

Eggplant discolors after slicing, so work quickly when prepping slices or skewers for grilling. Use marinades with salt, vinegar, or lemon juice to delay darkening. The sweet Ping Tung fruit is great for grilling, roasting, or stir-frying. Leave the mild, tender skin on.

Try These Garden Companions »

  • Tomatoes resistant to verticillium wilt, indicated by V after the tomato name; eggplant is also susceptible to this disease.
  • Yellow squash and zucchini, also great grilled.
  • Bell peppers: green, red, yellow, and orange for colorful stir-fries.
  • Basil, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, oregano.

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