If you are looking to diversify your production profile with a new crop, you might want to consider brinjals, better known as eggplants in Mzansi. However, before you start to prep your land, it is important to know that when it comes to farming this crop, climate is everything.
During a recent session of Food For Mzansi’s #GatherToGrow, operations director of Elysian Fields, Yasas Jayakody, discussed the ins and outs to cultivating brinjals.
According to Jayakody, this glossy fruit is extremely frost sensitive and therefore thrives in warm climates.
When it comes to planting brinjals, farmers can plant around the end of August or the beginning of September, when the season is transitioning from winter to spring, Jayakody explains.
The episode also unpacks how farmers can produce their own seedlings, but be warned, growing seedlings requires a great deal of work.
“You need to record a lot of things and pay attention to weeding. It takes a lot of care, especially if you’re growing seedlings through a transition season and trying to grow or prepare them for the next season,” he says.
Sharing his own personal experience, Jayakody explains what they had to do on the farm to ensure that growth of their seedlings. Eventually they switched to buying seedlings from a supplier, he adds.
This saved Jayakody a lot of time, prevented seedling damage, and improved the rate of production.
The growing time for brinjals is not long. Seedlings older than a month, usually take between 60 and 90 days to reach maturity, Jayakody says.
He also explains why the plant prefers direct sunshine and just how crazy harvesting season can get.
The episode also examines:
- Tools required for brinjal harvesting;
- Choosing rainfall over irrigation; and
- Where the brinjal markets are.
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