“If you research it, plant it, water it, stress over it, add in extra dirt, stress some more, hand fertilize it, and wait – it will grow!” ~ The Gardening Dietitian
The eggplants in my garden have been a source of “gardening stress” for me since we moved into our new house. When we moved in the previous owner proudly showed me the flowing eggplant plants while proclaiming, “you will have fresh eggplants any day now!” So I excitedly waited for the eggplants to appear… I waited and waited and waited.
A month later – lots of flowers and still no eggplants. Of course I blamed myself – I must have done something wrong. So I started researching eggplants. Did you know they are technically a fruit just like tomatoes? The gardening blogs I read said there were 2 reasons that my eggplants would produce flowers but not fruit: 1. The eggplants were not getting enough water and 2. They were not getting fertilized by bees. So I started with watering – it seemed easier to deal with. I deep watered my eggplants every other day. After another several weeks and much stressing (and complaining) still no eggplants.
Next I knew it was time to try hand fertilizing. I then pulled out a paintbrush and with the help of my toddler hand fertilized all the eggplant flowers we could get our hands on. He really enjoyed “painting the flowers.” I was confident that this would solve our problems! Ha! A few weeks later still no eggplants.
MEANWHILE my CSA boxes were FULL of eggplants! Every gardener I follow on Instagram seemed to be busting at the seems with eggplants and I sadly kept watering my plants knowing I was an eggplant failure.
AND THEN IT FINALLY HAPPENED! I walked outside and I saw it. A real, live eggplant growing on my eggplant plant. I ran inside and made everyone come check it out – my brother, his friend Sarah (hey Sarah!), my husband, my son – everyone! I had grown an eggplant! One beautiful eggplant. I didn’t want to pick it, I didn’t want to eat it, I just wanted to sit there and watch it grow. I did eventually pick that first eggplant and it was the most delicious eggplant when we finally ate it!
Today I have about 6 or 7 eggplants growing on my eggplant plants at the same time. More eggplant than I know what to do with. I think the real problem with my eggplants not producing fruit was that it just wasn’t time yet. Patience is a skill I am constantly working on. I want things “right now” but timing makes a huge difference when it comes to gardening and when it comes to life. Now when I see an eggplant – like a talisman it is a tangible reminder that everything happens in its own time and that sometimes I need to just slow down and enjoy the journey.
Happy Planting and Eating!
~ The Gardening Dietitian