Seeds of turnip (Brassica rapa)

Early december I visited Irkutsk in eastern Siberia. As you may expect, I have brought some seeds back home. I was happily surprised to find an easy accessible and an rich variety of garden seeds in the shops. The turnip seeds I purchased are the former famous ‘Petrovskaja’ and the variety ‘Djetskaja Metja’ (childrens dream), looking to me like ‘Goldball’.

Seeds of pepper (Capsicum annuum)

I hope it’s the earliest varieties I brought home. I’m excited to learn if they are early enough to grow in open ground in my garden. Could it be that just one or two of the peppers or eggplants will be earlier than I seen in other varieties?
Two of the peppers are “housepeppers”, used in Siberia to grow on the window sill. One of those are a F1 hybrid, needing a dehybridizing to be stabilised, if I’m to grow it on in future generations.

Seeds of eggplant (Solanum melongena)

In the shop I didn’t find time to spell my way through all the kyrillic letters. Therefore I had a great laugh, as I later read “Blek Bjuti” on an eggplant seed batch, as I realised it is the wellknown “Black Beauty”. Luckily I also have a white variety, “Vkus Gribov”, translating in to “Taste of Mushroom”. With this name it can hardly be anything but an original russian variety, or at least from one of the neighboring slavic countries.

Eggplants for seed – the little basket contain eggplants from open ground, the rest grown in greenhouse

Today I sensed it’s time to rescue tropical species like eggplants, if I want to harvest good seeds. They are supposed to start rotting before saving the seeds. I’m not waiting that long, but harvested today, to let the eggplants cure in the house.
Eggplant seeds from last year had a lot of vigor, I know it can be done succesfully. If it works out fine this year, I will not know until spring. Normally I would do at germination test in autumn, if in doubt, but eggplant seeds has fooled med, with complete germination in autumn and none at all in spring.

This year I had experience with several eggplant varieties, both in greenhouse and outdoor:

Applegreen – This is my standard variety so far, used for comparison. A tasty and easy to grow variety.
Rima F1 – Standardvariety in Denmark. Grows well, with huge deep shiny black fruits. I tried crossing it with Applegreen, but accidentially the fruit was consumed. Does a sting mean pick or do not pick?
Fairy Tale F1 – Funny short plant with plenty of tiny fruits in trusses. Grows well in a pot on the patio. Fruits are too small for my kitchen.
Czech Early – A little late, but productive with faily large purple fruits.
Almaz – Shiny black fruits, neither early or productive in this company, but still an appealing variety.
Diamond – Similar (same?) as Almaz, but not growing as well (accidentially?)
Skorospely – Clearly the earliest eggplant. Small dull purple fruits, nice size for kitchen, and in abundance. Excellent variety.
Vera – Quite early. In greenhouse very small late ripening fruits. Performing much better in open ground. I don’t understand why!
Thai F1 – Did surprisingly well. Late, but a lot of slim green fruits tender fruits.
Morden Midget – Performed rather poorly in greenhouse. A plant outdoor performed with two Applegreen sized fruits.

I’m surprised, that probably all are able to produce seeds under my conditions. I still don’t know if seeds will have vigor, power of germination, but my guts believe in them.
I did no isolation of the plants, and all might have crossed up. OK, I actually hope they have, as my dream is to produce an easy to grow well performing outdoor eggplant for southern scandinavia. It’s probably impossible, but I also thought outdoor growing of red pepper and melon was impossible, yet it has become a yearly practice in my garden. I will tread the new path, and see where it leads, knowing no professional would be as daring.

Second eggplant harvest of the year from greenhouse

Now it’s time to harvest eggplants again. Skorospely with the small oblong fruits have three fruits ready. Rima F1 and Almaz give their first fruit. Rima F1 is the largest fruit, almost supermarket size. A fantastic variety, but a F1 hybrid. I can’t save the seeds and grow the same variety from them next year. I don’t know if I can save live seeds from it at all.

More posts on eggplant

Skorospely Solanum melongena

The first little eggplant in the greenhouse have sized enough to make me wonder if its time to harvest. Since I’m unfamiliar with the many varieties I try, it can be a bit tricky to know when it’s time to harvest. It might be as peppers, where it’s helpfull to harvest first fruits early, to get a larger harvest later.
The russian name Skorospely is most appropriate, as it means “early”. I must remember to harvest seeds from this variety.

Eggplant Solanum melongena ‘Skorospely’

This year I try out some recommended eggplant varieties. I possible it might end up in a new variety to grow outdoor in our cold summers, but it’s not likely to be possible. First I’m on the look-out for parenting candidates, and getting a little more experience growing eggplants. My first criteria will be the ability to produce seeds in my greenhouse. Varieties able to do that will be interesting to me.

One of my first experiences is that flowers differ in a way of possible importance for the risk/chance of crosses. In the varety ‘Skorospely’ the stigma protrudes out of the anther”barrel”. It’s a situation similar to that of the potato-leaved tomato. Thus the stigma can easily be pollinated by insects. The variaty ‘Vera’ keep the stigma inside the anther”barrel” keeping insects at a distance.
This year I will likely do nothing to avoid crosses, hope for the easier breedable to cross if any cross will happen. From my experience with tomatoes and peppers, insects will note be in the waiting line to visit the flowers, but this can be very different in other environments.
But they are rather pretty.

Eggplant Solanum melongena ‘Vera’

Eggplants this year:
ApplegreenI saved seeds of this last year, and they grow well.
Rima F1 – Standard variety in Denmark, recommenden by fellow seedsavers, although it’s a hybrid
Fairy Tale F1 – Recommended by an ecologic gardener as best to try in open ground
Czech Early – Czech variety, from Lieven David
Almaz – Russian, from Lieven David
Diamond – Ukrainian, from Lieven David
Skorospely – Russian, from Lieven David
Vera – from Lieven David
Thai F1 – Thai hybrid, from Leif Siripot
Morden Midget – North American, from Leif Siripot

Lieven send me a lot of eggplant varieties through Patrick, and Leif send me a lot from his home in Thailand. Thanks to all of you. I’ve saved a lot of the varieties for trial next year, as room is limited.

Does a reader know of a eggplant particularly suited for northern conditions I would like to know.

As eggplant is an unreliable crop in Denmark, I can not be responsible to keep a variaty for the future. Fortunately there is a lot of good people around the world taking care of our heirloom, and willing to share seeds.

seedlings of eggplant Solanum melongena ‘Applegreen’

Last year I tried again to save seeds from ‘Applegreen’, an eggplant suited for northern climates. I first trial I made seeds with vigorous growth in the autumn, but unable to sprout in spring when needed. For this reason I have been waiting anxiously for the seedlings. Now they are up and I’m very satisfied. This is not the last time I’ll save eggplant seeds.

My post on saving seeds from eggplant, autumn 2007