When growing different varieties of eggplant, fertilizer is essential for supplying nutrients and increasing purple eggplant production. Although you can use either natural or commercial fertilizers, the better option is going natural in the long run. In this article, we’ll cover why you should select a natural fertilizer for eggplant crops in your garden and when to fertilize eggplant.
Natural and commercial fertilizers act as plant food and provide plants nutrients. The difference between them and the importance of selecting natural options is how commercial fertilizers and their manufacturers affect the environment through their creation.
Water from fertilizer manufacturers and excess water from fields treated with inorganic fertilizer leads to streams and lakes. This runoff is high in nitrogen and phosphorus, contaminating the water and leading to issues like oxygen depletion for fish, resulting in death that degrades water quality.
- What Makes a Good Eggplant Fertilizer?
- The Downside to Using Manure as Natural Fertilizer
What Makes a Good Eggplant Fertilizer?
To contribute to an environmentally organic solution, explore natural options and the many benefits of using natural fertilizers over commercial. This article addresses different natural eggplant fertilizers to help you grow eggplants.
Whether you follow the way to grow eggplant in a pot or the garden, eggplants (Solanum melongena l.) enjoy sandy soil. The best fertilizer for eggplant crops leaves the soil with an acidic to neutral pH and provides nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK).
Ultimately, natural fertilizer should be cost-effective. Instead of purchasing a synthetic fertilizer, reusing items in your kitchen ensures you get total value out of them.
Save Kitchen Scraps for Fertilizer
When it comes to a natural eggplant fertilizer, compost is likely the first that comes to mind. Compost is a blessing for gardeners living in dry climates as it helps retain soil moisture. To start composting, home growers designate a space and create their pile with leaves, shredded twigs, and scraps from their kitchen to make their compost.
To achieve what gardeners refer to as “black gold,” several factors make composting worth the effort. Start composting roughly three months before you plant eggplants in the garden, so the compost is ready to till into the soil before you start growing eggplants.
Organic matter combines brown and green materials like twigs, dead leaves, and fruit rinds. Brown materials provide carbon, while green materials provide nitrogen. Add these materials at an equal ratio and shred or break them into smaller pieces to speed up the process.
Including materials like burned cucumber skins and waste from shrimp or crabs boosts the amount of phosphorus in your compost.
Bacteria aid in the decomposition process, and with the above ingredients, you allow bacteria to break down plant material into compost. Decomposition produces heat that concentrates in the center of the pile.
Moisture is essential to support decomposition, and if compost piles become too dry, add water to dampen the compost. Turn over the pile and add dry organic materials if you over-water your compost.
Turning the compost and bringing materials at the edge into the center also supplies your compost with oxygen. After starting your compost, wait two weeks to allow the pile’s center to decompose before turning it.
Compost is ready for use in the garden after about three months, though cold weather slows the activity of bacteria. Apply a three-inch layer to your garden bed and till into the soil when ready.
To improve the yield of your Black Beauty eggplant or another eggplant variety like Rosa Bianca, add compost after your plant sprouts while avoiding the base of your eggplant crop.
Saving and Using Grass Clippings
If your lawn is free of chemical treatments, rake the clippings to use in the garden after mowing the grass. If you have a bag attachment for your lawnmower, this process becomes a lot easier.
Reusing grass in your garden works well as a natural mulch to block weeds and regulate soil temperature and soil moisture. Grass also contains nitrogen which is essential for healthy eggplants, so consider using a half-inch of clippings in the garden after mowing the lawn.
Are Weeds the Best Fertilizer for Eggplant Plants?
Weeds are bothersome obstacles every gardener has to overcome. Most plants do not enjoy growing near weeds, and some crops like corn lose the battle for nutrients in the soil.
It may seem counterproductive to pull weeds and then throw them back into the garden; however, weeds are rich in nitrogen and boost the growth of your plants. Instead of placing weeds back into your garden, gather a bucket of weeds to make a “tea” out of them.
Fill a bucket ¼ of the way with weeds and fill the bucket to the top with water. Allow the weeds to soak for a week or longer until the water turns brown. To avoid dumping wet weeds across your garden, use a stick or a net to hold back weeds as you pour this water around your eggplants.
Using Manure in the Garden
Manure is a tried and true fertilizer that farmers often use because they usually have a reliable source on hand. Manure for your garden comes from livestock such as cows, horses, and sheep. If your animals are fed organic foods, the organic manure they produce is perfect for your eggplants.
Other manure sources come from poultry and even bats whose manure contains phosphorus. Phosphorus is essential for plants during development as it allows them to absorb energy from the sun for growth and reproduction.
Collect Tree Leaves for Your Garden
If you bag up fallen leaves and place them on the curb, consider saving a bag to use in your garden to boost the quality of your soil. Leaves retain moisture, are rich in minerals, and attract earthworms, all beneficial for your garden.
Add leaves to your garden by tilling them into the ground to improve the quality of your eggplant’s sandy soil. As the leaves decompose, the nutrients and minerals they possess are fed into the soil for your eggplant seedlings to absorb.
Like grass, leaves are helpful to your garden as a mulch to fertilize your eggplant plant and control unwanted weeds.
Introduce Coffee Grounds in the Garden
Coffee grounds have many uses outside the kitchen, and one of them involves improving the acidity of your eggplant’s soil. What plants like coffee grounds? Like a tomato plant or roses, eggplants thrive in acidic soil, and adding coffee grounds is an easy way to ensure your soil reaches the proper pH. Be sure to complete a soil test first to ensure that the coffee grounds will benefit rather than harm your eggplant.
After using your grounds, apply them to the surface of your soil or soak used grounds in water for a week. Soaking your grounds creates a diluted coffee to water your eggplants.
Use Crushed Eggshells to Help Eggplant Yield
Eggplants thrive in soil with a pH of 5.5-7.5. If you have soil that’s too acidic, eggshells are a simple way to adjust the pH level for an eggplant seed. Eggshells also boost the levels of calcium in the soil.
To use them, wash your eggshells and set them aside to dry before crushing them in a plastic bag. Sprinkle them into your garden when you’re ready to use them. Eggshells are also very good for potted plants, both indoors and out.
When eggplants become stressed (usually from a lack of water), they experience a blossom drop, which is when a young plant drops its flowers without producing any fruit. Eggshells are also effective at preventing blossom drop from affecting your plant, which helps your fruit yield at the end of the season.
Because of their dual usefulness in correcting pH and preventing blossom drop, crushed eggshells are likely the best fertilizer for eggplant crops.
Bury Banana Peels for Plant Food
Potassium is essential for plant growth, and eggplants with a stunted plant height may be growing in soil that lacks sufficient potassium. To correct this, the next time you eat bananas, save the peels.
After seed starting, bury banana peels alongside your eggplant seed to allow them to decompose naturally, filling the soil with potassium. You can also bury peels alongside your seedling as it grows.
The Downside to Using Manure as Natural Fertilizer
Next to grass and weeds, manure is probably the only natural eggplant fertilizer that doesn’t cost a penny to find. However, the downside to using it in your garden is that fresh manure burns plants.
To make manure benefit your garden instead of harming it, dry manure out by layering organic material and turning it over to add oxygen. Oxygen allows the materials mixed with manure to break down and counteract excess nitrogen in the manure before using it in the garden.
If you want the best fertilizer for eggplants, consider what items are most accessible. If your garden has insufficient nutrients, add a companion plant for your eggplant. Companion planting helps balance your soil, so your eggplant grows just right for use in your favorite eggplant parmesan recipe.
We hope our natural fertilizer for eggplant suggestions helped shine a light on some organic fertilizer options, and you’ll share our eggplant fertilizer tips on Facebook and Pinterest with anyone who might be curious about switching from inorganic to natural.