Eggplant from Mary’s Heirloom Seeds.
Growing eggplant is new for me this year. I have a small space garden and eggplant takes up much needed space. I think it will be worth it when harvest comes. Mary’s Heirloom Seeds offered to let me try a companion planting combination pack and so I thought I would give it a try. I found it’s easy to grow eggplant from seed.
My main emphasis is on food producing plants. I do grow flowers, but only if they are beneficial as companion plants or medicinal herbs. I grow fruit, vegetables, and herbs for several reasons. I enjoy digging in the dirt and gardening is relaxing for me. I love the whole process of dreaming about the harden in winter, planning what I want to grow, and starting seeds in anticipation of the garden year. I have been gardening for over 20 years and still love the challenge of it all.
While it may be fun and challenging, there is also a practical reason for gardening. It is an excellent way to take a bite out of your grocery budget, to eat varieties you cannot get in the store and growing organically keeps chemicals away from my family. I can’t think of one reason not to have your own garden!
Here’s what I got from Mary’s. This Eggplant Companion Planting kit includes 1 full pack of the following Heirloom Seeds:
Black Beauty Eggplant (50 seeds)
Genovese Basil (35 seeds)
Borage (50 seeds)
Marigold – African Crackerjack (100 seeds)
Nasturtium – Dwarf Jewel Mix (25 seeds)
In my opinion, these packets contain generous amounts of seed (it’s going to take me awhile to use 50 eggplant seeds). I ordered herbs from another company earlier this year and I was surprised how little seed I received for my money – not so with Mary’s Heirloom Seeds! The seeds arrived within a week of my order.
Mary is a wealth of gardening knowledge and I follow her blog each week. Be sure you check out her 2015 Planting guide for growing information about every kind of heirloom seed she offers.
Why Heirloom Seed?
While I occasionally purchase starts from the local nursery, growing from open-pollinated, non-GMO, heirloom seed has the added benefit of making my garden sustainable for years to come. These are the only kinds of seed you should be saving from year to year, because the seed will grow a plant true to its parent.
These heirloom seeds give you added variety in your food supply and have stood the test of time. Some heirloom varieties are over a hundred years old. See my trick for storing seeds for up to 10 years.
How do these companion plants benefit eggplant?
I believe in companion planting, In addition to natural fertilizers, it is a natural way to bring benefit to your garden plants. These are the things I learned about my eggplant companion planting kit:
Eggplant and tomatoes like similar growing conditions and do well in containers, a raised bed or regular garden. Pinch off the growing tip then the plant is 8 to 12 inches tall to encourage branching. You can harvest eggplant as soon as the fruits are large enough for your requirements. It is susceptible to flea beetles, spider mites and fusarium wilt. Do not water from the top.
Borage benefits eggplant by being a health improver. It is a plant that imparts a positive influence on the other plants around it, promoting healthier and stronger growth
Borage leaves and shoots are edible, but harvest when they are young. Chop new shoots finely before adding to salads and drinks – they are covered in bristly hair. They have the taste of cucumber. It self seeds each year and grows to about 3 feet tall.
Marigold is well knows as a health improver. It also is a soil conditioning plant and will improve the soil structure, texture and humus content around it.
Marigold is not edible, but still has a coveted place in my garden.
Nasturtium is a wonderful pollinator and attracts a variety of insects such as bees and butterflies. It is also a trap crop, that lures pest away from the main crop – in this case my eggplant.
Nasturtium is a climbing plant that will scramble up supports and weave throughout your garden. Sow it in late spring, in an area with full sun. The leaves and flower are edible and have a peppery taste. Harvest them as needed.
Basil deters pests, is easy to grow, and good to eat!
I received these excellent seeds in exchange for this review, but the opinion are entirely my own. I am not an affiliate of Mary’s Heirloom Seeds. The companion planting information comes from the book Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting by Josie Jeffery.