Fertilizing Eggplant - Knowledgebase Question

bethesda, MD
Avatar for gcahn6
Question by gcahn6
November 3, 1997
In my vegetable garden, I work about a tablespoon of 5-10-5 per transplant into the soil, and 8 weeks later, apply another tablespoon per plant. The plants that I fertilize this way are tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, canteloupe, and peppers.
1. Is this a sufficient amount of fertilizer at transplant time?
2. Is waiting 8 weeks about right for the second application?
3. My eggplant never seem to do that well. The plants seem healthy enough, but they never give me more than about 2 eggplants per plant. My garden only gets 5-6 hours of direct sun per day. I know this is not optimal, but I wonder whether my problem is lack of fertilizer, lack of sun, or something else? Or is 2 eggplants per plant all that I should expect given my lack of direct sun?

Thanks for your help.

Answer from NGA
November 3, 1997
The only way to know for sure if you are giving your plants enough fertilzer is to have a soil test done, and to follow the recommendations. On the practical side, if you enrich your soil with compost or other types of organic matter, they'll providea lot of the "stuff" that plants need to grow. Fertilizer should be used just to optimize crop performance, and is best applied at planting time, when plants flower, and again during fruit development. It sounds like your vegetable plants are performing well - the eggplant just need more light, or are lacking a nutrient that encourages flowering. You can make the most of the sun you get by placing reflectors under and around them, or growing compact varieties in pots placed in the sunniest part of your yard. To have your soil tested, contact your extension service (ph# 301/590-9638). Hope this helps!

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