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Eggplant Trial In Review

I know this is the post you have all been waiting for breathlessly – the post detailing which eggplant varieties I recommend for planting again. (Hey, I can be unbiased. I just put myself into the mental place where I understand that some people thing planting eggplant regularly is a good idea.)

In reality, the results of the eggplant trial are pretty straightforward. Almost everything did pretty well, and they are still producing now, despite being left to the onslaught of insects for the last month.

Top Performers (Highly Recommended for Planting)

Millionaire – Long, dark purple Asian type. This was the earliest producer and was in clear competition with Green Goddess for highest yielding. The skin was fairly tender.

Green Goddess – Long, green skinned Asian type. This variety was fairly early and very high yielding. It was probably a little higher yielding than Millionaire, but it was hard to keep track. The skin was nice and tender and the flesh had a very sweet, floral scent.

Orient Charm – Long, white and lavender Asian type. This one was more uniformly skinny than the other two, but it also had tender skin and excellent yields.

Good Performers (Recommended for Planting)

Traviata – This is the traditional purple Italian type. It did have a tougher skin than most of the others, but it yielded well and the fruit looked good.

Clara – This was the traditional white Italian type. It did well, although was a little later to start producing. The fruit quality was good and yields were good.

Mediocre Performers (Might be Worth Another Try)

Calliope – This variety started out fairly strong but didn’t maintain good yield throughout the summer. The plants were smaller, so it may just have gotten overshadowed by its larger neighbors. If you want a smaller fruit size, this one might be worth another try.

Rosa Bianca – This heirloom was the lowest yielding of all the varieties and the fruit was definitely an odd shape. If those are concerns for you, then this may not be the best choice.

Easy Eggplant Lasagna

Eggplant is my new favorite vegetable. The wonderful varieties growing in the demo garden have convinced me not to overlook this vegetable any more!. My favorite ones to cook with are the asian and varigated colored ones. You have to give them a try, I think you will be pleasantly suprised by how good they really are!

1 teaspoon oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 clove minced garlic
1 cup coarsely chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried) basil
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried) oregano
1 medium eggplant, sliced about 1/4” thick
1 large tomato, sliced very thin
8 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. Wash your hands and work area.
2. Preheat oven to 4250 F.
3. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion
until tender, about 2-3 minutes.
4. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add chopped tomatoes, basil and oregano. Cook gently over medium low heat for 10 minutes.
5. Spread half of the mixture over the bottom of an 8 x 8” baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
6. Add half of the eggplant slices then half of the tomato slices. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese over the top.
210 calories 3 calorie points
12 grams fat 1 carbohydrate choice
11 grams carbohydrate Exchange: 2 vegetables, 2 lean meat, 1 fat
4 grams fiber This recipe is high in calcium, fiber, and in
430 mg sodium vitamins C and A.

Friday PhotoEssay

I have so many great pictures from this week that I feel like I need to do two or three PhotoEssays. Or perhaps I should just plan to write a couple more posts for next week? That might be a plan…especially since I’ve been struggling to get something posted on Mondays this year.

Here’s the whole garden picture from this week, but from the other side of the garden today. The trellis and sweet potatoes are really impressive, but the tomatoes are equally crazy!

It is starting to feel a little bit like a tropical rainforest around here, and some of the plants are clearly thriving in this weather. Some of the begonias are just lush and this zucchini plant has HUGE leaves and flowers. (The white/silver you see on the leaves is just natural coloration for this variety, not powdery mildew.)

We had the hardest time getting the cucumber vine started on the trellis this spring when there wasn’t much moisture. After replanting multiple times, we finally had one seed germinate, and it is just now producing. It is one of the ‘Salt & Pepper’ Cucumbers that we had last year.

After having caterpillars munching on herbs for the last several weeks, it looks like we’re starting to see some butterflies!

We turned the soil in this bed again to keep working in the remnants of the crazy buckwheat. It looks much cleaner after that second turning.

I was busy roasting garlic yesterday so we could taste test it all next week, and I thought I’d take a picture of one of the elephant garlic bulbs and one of the larger regular garlic bulbs. Quite a difference! (In my opinion, the Elephant Garlic doesn’t taste very good roasted either. Maybe it just isn’t garlick-y enough?)

Hmm…this ‘Rosa Bianca’ eggplant seems to be more purple than rose. I wonder if the color is an effect of the cooler night temperatures? It’s certainly pretty, and I’m sure there is no effect on the edibility. It’s just interesting that the colors are so much more vibrant all of a sudden. The ones I picked at the beginning of the week were almost white.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday Sampler this Saturday, August 17th

Our next Saturday Sampler will be held this Saturday, August 17th here in the Demonstration Garden. The program will start at 9 a.m. and we try to finish by about 10 a.m. We will be featuring EGGPLANT this month, and Denise has been busy trying out some dishes. There were a couple of them that were good enough I may consider making them myself, so that tells you that they are excellent!

This Quinoa Eggplant Salad was delicious! You better come out on Saturday for the recipe!

Friday PhotoEssay

Are we tired of rain yet? I’ll be honest that I’ve rather lost track of our rainfall totals…they just keep adding up. It just adds up to “wet” and “very wet.”


I think the garden is starting to look a little bit lush and rainforest-y, don’t you? The sweet potatoes are growing so fast.

I’m afraid this is a portent of things to come with our fall brassicas planting… We have cabbageworms on the plants while they are still seedlings in my office! (We had them outside for ONE day a week ago and managed to get eggs laid and hatched out. Yikes.

We harvested the first of the Yellow Stuffer tomatoes this week and cut it open for a look and tasting during our work time on Tuesday. The cavity isn’t as big as most large bell peppers, but it has a very different interior look than most tomatoes. It wouldn’t be hard to get the seeds out, or just add more stuffing around them.

Denise came and got a huge bowl of eggplant from me on Monday and then tried several recipes in preparation for our next Saturday Sampler on the 17th. I sampled the dishes for lunch on Tuesday. Two of the recipes were okay, but not my favorite and the other three were very yummy. They were almost good enough that I didn’t know I was eating eggplant! You’ll have to stay tuned for some of those recipes.

The ‘Snow Leopard’ Honeydew Melon are appearing quite productive, although we haven’t picked one yet. It is a little bit challenging to tell for sure when they are ripe, and we picked a couple honeydews last year that weren’t quite ripe. This one looks like it is getting close, but I don’t want to pick it too soon. The keys with honeydew is that the rind should be creamy colored instead of greenish, and it should feel waxy to the touch rather than hairy. We may have to try picking this one next week and giving it a try.

You know you’ve had a lot of rain when even the grape tomatoes are cracking this badly!

You also know that it’s been raining a lot when the melons are cracking! Granted, this is an Asian melon that has a thinner rind/skin. It has cracked pretty badly. We had several of these melons ripe this week, including one that was completely eaten hollow by the sowbugs taking advantage of the cracks. We tried this one. It was nice and crunchy and sweet. We decided that if you tell everyone it is a sweet cucumber, it gets better reviews than if you bill it as a melon, because it isn’t as sweet as most of the melons we are used to. It does have a very floral taste as well.

The ‘Super Sweet 100s’ cherry tomato that is on the trellis/arbor is going crazy! It is very much living up to its name. The tomatoes also are getting smaller and smaller as the numbers increase. We discussed this week that this is a good example of why more pruning may have been beneficial on this plant in particular. Fewer, but larger fruit!

Have a great weekend! Stay dry!