That we are big fans of the eggplant is, of course, no secret! But did you know that it takes about five months to go from seed to eggplant? In this post, we’ll tell you what path the eggplant takes!
Phase 1: The seed
The eggplant’s growth phase begins with a tiny seed. The breeder develops and propagates the seeds that we eventually purchase in October. There is still quite a difference between the seeds themselves, for example, there are different eggplant varieties available. Based on product, quality, shelf life and coarseness, we choose the best variety.
Phase 2: The plant grower
After the seeds are purchased, they are taken to the plant breeder in November. Several plant breeders can be found in the Netherlands. They ensure that the seed eventually becomes a real eggplant. A fun fact: the eggplant is grafted onto a tomato rootstock at the plant breeder. So the root of an eggplant is actually and tomato! The reason? The eggplant root is not strong enough by itself. By using a tomato rootstock, we can increase production.
Phase 3: Planting
A month later, the seeds have grown into tiny eggplant plants. The plant grower’s job is done and the plants are transported to the sites. At our locations, they will then be planted in December.
Phase 4: Start cultivation
Cultivation will begin in January. The plant takes root in the mat, three strings are tied to each plant, the biological control agents are built up in population and the plants flower for the first time.
Phase 5: First harvest
A month later, in February, the first eggplants are finally harvested! All locations are in production and deliciously fresh eggplants are available every day. From then on, harvesting is done on every day except Sunday.
Phase 6: Building harvest to top productions
In the months of March and April, the weather can be very changeable. This affects a host of processes, but mainly production. Production in turn also influences many processes, such as labor planning. Fortunately, the days do get longer and lighter again during this period and the sunshine comes through more vigorously. This in turn ultimately causes production to go up! During this period, it is important to have enough staff available to get the work done.
Phase 7: Peak months
May through July are the peak months. During this period, we are running top production and working very hard every day at all our locations. In addition, this is also a very exciting period. This is, in fact, where it will be seen whether the build-up of biological control agents has been successful. If this is the case then we can get through the summer without any major worries of aphids, caterpillars, thrips or sprints!
Phase 8: Wind down harvest
The months of August and September are generally warmer. The crop is already thinking of retirement during this period. The crop is getting longer and longer, and that combined with less light is making it increasingly difficult to run top crops. Rainy days also make cultivation more difficult at this stage.
Phase 9: Crop rotation
Crop rotation takes place in October and November. During this period, the old crop is cleared and everything is carefully cleaned and disinfected. This is also the period when maintenance work is done in the greenhouse and shed; there is little time for this during cultivation. Everything is about getting ready for the new year!
Wondering how our eggplants get to consumers? You read it here.
* The above timeline applies may vary by location.