BY VINA MEDENILLA
Talong or eggplant (Solanum melongena) is a vegetable that is extensively grown locally. Producing this crop will only take three to four months when grown from seed.
Eggplant is a popular ingredient in various Pinoy recipes, such as tortang talong or eggplant omelet. Aside from the common purple variety, there are other eggplants that come in colors white and green as well as in different shapes like the Thai purple ribbed type.
This guide focuses more on the regular eggplant grown in the Philippines. Here how to raise this particular variety from seeds:
The materials needed are vermicast, compost, carbonized rice hull (CRH), polybag, shovel, sprayer, cotton, and eggplant seeds.
Soak the seeds. Immerse the eggplant seeds in clean water with no chlorine for 30 minutes. This allows the seeds to germinate faster. Using cotton as a strainer, transfer the seeds to a saucer or any plate, then set aside.
Prepare the medium. The soil mix must contain an equal amount of vermicast, CRH, and compost. Once combined, add the medium to the polybag. Sow the seeds in holes that are one centimeter deep. Spray the seeds with water afterward.
Place this in a safe and shaded area.
Nurture. Keep the seedlings moist every morning, but be careful not to overwater to prevent diseases.
Transplant. When two to three true leaves sprout after a week, this is the time to transfer the seedlings to a wider growing space.
For this stage, the necessary materials include vermicast, complete fertilizer, plastic container, sprayer, one liter of water, vegetable, baking soda, dishwashing liquid, and pruning shears.
Fill the upcycled plastic gallon with the medium. Gently transfer the seedlings and water them after transplanting.
Store it in a shaded area for three days. After doing so, gradually expose the plant to the sun.
Fertilizer can be applied a week later. Vermicast or complete fertilizer may also be used depending on the availability and grower’s choice.
Protect from pests and diseases. Experiencing pests and diseases in the garden can be stressful. To cope with this, create a natural concoction made from baking soda, dishwashing liquid, vegetable oil, and one-liter water. Spray this to the infected parts.
Also, prune the leaves that touch the soil to impede the threats of pests and diseases.
Harvest. Lastly, harvest the eggplants once they mature, which usually occurs from 40 to 50 days after transplanting.
For more information, contact the farmers’ contact center at 09209462474.
The procedure was demonstrated in AgriTalk’s 2 Easy Learning Video Series that presents instructional guides on organic fertilizers and pesticides, urban agriculture technologies, and the production of fast-growing crops. The online series is made possible in partnership with the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Center and Manila Bulletin’s Agriculture Online.