WHERE TO PLANTTo succeed with brinjal,or eggplants, you’ll need to supply them with steadily warm growing conditions for at least three months. Eggplants growing in cold soil or exposed to chilly weather are more prone to insect and disease problems.  Provide your brinjal with a place in the sun, which is best for ripening their large fruits.

SOIL CONDITIONSBrinjals require a soil that is rich in nutrients and drains well.  Work through some well rotted compost and if your soil doesn’t drain well, consider adding a few spade-fulls of sand.

Brinjals can also be grown in pots.  This means that you can find a sunny, sheltered corner for them.  Just ensure that you pack your pots with nutritious organic material and keep them well watered.  If so, you should be rewarded with their eye-catching, tasty fruits.

MAINTENANCEOnce established, ensure that you water your plants regularly. Mulch around the base of the plant will assist in moisture retention.  However, keep your mulch about 5cm’s length away from the stem.  Brinjal stems tend to rot if kept too damp.

Give your brinjal plants a liquid fertiliser every two weeks.

HARVESTINGPick your brinjal when the skin appears glossy. To test, press the skin. If the indentation doesn’t spring back, that fruit is ready for harvest. To harvest, cut the stem with a knife or pruning shears.

Brinjals will keep for 2 weeks if refrigerated.  On cutting a brinjal open, if the seeds inside have turned brown, the fruit is past its prime quality and the flavor may be bitter.COMPANION PLANTSMarigolds, peas, thyme and tarragon.