Like tomatoes, aubergines are members of the solanum, or potato family. Aubergines must be sown early (February to March) and kept in a warm, sheltered spot to ensure a good crop.
Although they can be grown outside in milder areas of the country, the best results come from growing plants on a windowsill indoors or in a greenhouse. Large fruited varieties such as 'Black Beauty' should yield three to six aubergines per plant. Smaller fruited varieties like 'Fairy Tale' will produce at least 10 aubergines per plant.
They're best raised in a warm greenhouse, and if you sow seed later than March, you’re in danger of losing the crop. This is because they need a long season to flower and produce fruit, so if you sow them late, by the time they flower the season has started to change and it's just not warm or light enough for them to do well. They also need a good summer - low temperatures lead to flower drop, resulting in no crop at all.
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- Eggplant 'black beauty'Solanum melongena 'black beauty'