Eggplant may not be your first choice in garden vegetable, but many home gardeners include at least one eggplant in their garden. Eggplants thrive in many climates as long as you protect them from cool weather. These heat-loving vegetables grow lush and large as the summer heat progresses. Start eggplant seeds indoors to lengthen the growing season and transplant the seedlings outdoors when the soil warms sufficiently.
Fill peat pots with potting soil approximately eight weeks before the expected last spring frost date. Spray the potting soil lightly to moisten the soil.
Place one eggplant seed into each peat pot and cover the seed with ¼ inch of potting soil.
Cover the peat pots with plastic wrap and place the peat pots in a location with temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees F while the seeds germinate. Keep the soil evenly moist while the seeds germinate by spraying the soil once per day.
Remove the plastic after the eggplant seeds germinate. Move the peat pots to a sunny window or place them under grow lights. Keep the grow light 2 to 3 inches above the seedlings and leave the grow light on for 12 to 16 hours each day. As the seedlings grow, move the grow light higher so it is always approximately 3 inches above the seedlings. If you place the eggplant seedlings in a sunny window, place the seedlings in a warm location (approximately 70 degrees F) each night to protect them from cold.
Keep the seedlings evenly moist by spraying them each day with the spray bottle.
Fertilize the eggplant seedlings approximately two weeks after they sprout. Mix the fertilizer with water according to package recommendations and pour the fertilizer carefully around the soil. Do not allow the fertilizer to touch the plant foliage. Fertilize the eggplant seedlings one time per week.
Prepare the planting area after the final spring frost. Cultivate the planting area with the garden spade down to a depth of 6 inches. Add 2 inches of compost to the top of the soil and work it in with the garden spade.
Dig small holes for each peat pot. Make the holes deep enough so each peat pot will be completely beneath the soil and space each hole approximately 2 feet apart.
Place each peat pot into the prepared holes and cover the peat pots with garden soil. Ensure each peat pot is completely beneath the soil. If you leave the rim of the peat pot visible above the soil level it may wick moisture away from the eggplants.
Provide water once or twice per week while the newly planted eggplant seedlings establish in the soil. Water only to moisten the soil; however, and do not over-water.