Aubergine Black Beauty (Heirloom/Heritage Variety) Although best grown like a Tomato in a greenhouse, these are well worth trying outside if you can find a sheltered, sunny spot.
Popular with home gardeners is this reliable and medium early variety producing large, 4-6 ins. long, smooth, glossy, round-oval, purplish-black fruits with good flavour.
Sow early October to November, or mid-November to December, or late January to February, Easily grown in the greenhouse outdoors can be more difficult. Sow indoors. Surface sow onto moist well-drained seed compost, allowing 2cm between seeds. Just cover with soil. Ideal temp. 18-25°C. Germination takes 14-21 days approx. Transplant when seedlings are large enough to handle to 8cm pots and grow on with a min. temp. 15°C. If planting out harden off and move to a sunny, sheltered spot with well-drained soil. For the greenhouse grow in 20cm pots filled with compost or plant ingrowbags, 3 plants per bag. Stake plants for extra support.
Remove growing point when the plant reaches 30cm. Stake for added support. Mist plants regularly. When 5 fruits have formed remove lateral shoots and remaining flowers. Water regularly but do not soak. Add a potassium rich soluble fertiliser each time you water once the fruit begin to swell. Can be prone to red spider mite, aphids and whitefly, treat accordingly.
To harvest cut the fruit from the plant when it has reached 15cm long approx. Harvest while the fruit is still shiny, dull fruit tend to be over-ripe and bitter. Aubergines will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.