Eggplants are vegetables that belong to the nightshade (Solanaceae) family of plants. The Ichiban eggplant is a Japanese variety of eggplant that has elongated fruit and is mild and sweetly flavored. They can grow to between 2 and 5 feet tall and are heat-loving annuals which are killed by frost. Plant Ichiban eggplants in full sun, and give them fertile, well-draining soil.
Place seed starting mix into cell-type planting packs about 6 to 8 weeks before spring. Pack the seed starting mix down firmly in each of the cells. Then, place the planting packs into a plastic watering tray.
Pour water into the tray and allow to planting packs to soak up the water until the soil has become thoroughly saturated. Drain off any remaining water out of the tray.
Plant 2 to 3 of the Ichiban eggplant seeds per planting cell. To do this, pick them up using a pair of tweezers and push the seeds into the soil to a depth of about 1/4 inch.
Cover up each of the Ichiban eggplant seeds with approximately 1/4 inch of the seed starting mix. For good control over sprinkling the seed raising mix, use a spoon.
Cover the planting packs with a layer of clear plastic wrap. Keep the soil moist by adding water to the tray as needed. Transfer the tray of planting packs into the warmest location in your home. Try and provide a temperature of between 70 and 90 degrees F. The Ichiban eggplant seeds will begin to sprout in approximately 7-10 days.
Remove the plastic wrap from on top of the planting packs as soon as you see the Ichiban eggplant seedlings begin to emerge. Transplant the Ichiban eggplant seedlings when they are about 2 to 3 inches tall.
Transplanting Ichiban Eggplants
Turn over the soil in the planting area to depth of between 10 and 12 inches to mix into the soil a 2 to 3 inch layer of compost, leaf mold, aged manure or some other like matter. Create rows in the planting area that are spaced at about 30 to 36 inches apart from one another.
Dig holes in each row that are twice the diameter, but the same depth, as a planting cell. Space the holes 18 to 24 inches apart from each other.
Force up from the base of a cell to remove an Ichiban eggplant seedling from a cell in a planting pack.
Set an Ichiban eggplant seedling into a previously dug hole. Scoop in soil to fill the planting hole full of soil. Water each of the Ichiban eggplant seedlings thoroughly.
Fertilize Ichiban eggplants two to three weeks after transplanting. Use a 10-20-20 fertilizer or similar type granular fertilizer. Always follow the manufacturer's suggestions so you'll know how much fertilizer to spread.