Gretel Hybrid Eggplant Seeds
Compact 3-foot plant is perfect for containers as well as the garden.
These glossy ivory fruits are ready for picking when just 3 to 4 inches long, making splendid "baby veggies" -- a gourmet treat you MUST try. However, unlike others, Gretel won't grow tough and dry as it gets longer. If you don't want to harvest the entire crop young, take the 55-day maturity date as a starting point, and continue to harvest when and as you like for several more weeks! The fruit will be larger but no less succulent and bitter-free.
Nearly seedless, this eggplant is perfect for frying or baking. It appears in clusters of 3 to 6 on plants just 3 feet high and 2 1/2 feet wide -- perfect for containers as well as the sunny garden! Stake or cage the plants to hold up their huge bounty of fruit, then sit back and enjoy eggplant fresh from the garden whenever you like . . . not when nature dictates!
Gretel is a taste treat and a convenient-to-harvest, heavy-bearing variety. With Hansel, it introduces a whole new era in eggplant growing! Give it a try this season. Pkt is 15 seeds.
|Item Form||(P) Pkt of 15 seeds|
|Days to Maturity||55|
|Seeds Per Pack||15|
|Plant Height||3 ft|
|Plant Width||2 ft 6 in|
|Fruit Length||3 in - 10 in|
|Harvest Season||Early Fall, Late Summer, Mid Summer|
|Light Requirements||Full Sun|
|Moisture Requirements||Dry, Moist, well-drained|
|Soil Tolerance||Normal, loamy, Sandy|
|Uses||Beds, Containers, Cuisine|
Eggplant is a versatile vegetable that's an essential ingredient in dishes from around the world! It's naturally low in calories, fat, and sodium, yet high in fiber and loads of other vitamins and nutrients, and it comes in a number of varieties that are just as beautiful as they are tasty! Our wide selection is sure to provide something for everyone. If you're not already a fan of the excellent, edible Eggplant, you soon will be!
Choosing a Variety
When choosing which Eggplant to grow, you have a lovely variety of colors, shapes, and sizes to pick from! The basic types are globe-shaped, elongated and cylindrical, and egg-shaped, with the possible colors for the fruit including white, purple, rose, green, black, yellow, orange, or red, and solid or striped. The most common type found in North America is the Western or oval eggplant. Its large deep purple fruit is used for stuffing, baking, sautéing, and grilling.
When to Start
Eggplants are best started inside approximately 6 weeks before the last frost or about 8 weeks before you expect the outside temperatures to remain above 60 degrees F at night. They can be sown outdoors only in climates with very long growing seasons, when the soil is warm and all danger of frost is past.
How to Start
Park’s Bio Dome seed starter is a great way to sow your Eggplant seeds, as each Bio Sponge has a pre-drilled hole into which you can just drop one seed—there's no need to thin seedlings or waste seeds! And you have a couple options, depending on how many Eggplants you want to grow—our original 60-cell Bio Dome or our 18-cell Jumbo Bio Dome, which grows big, stocky seedlings ready to transplant right into your garden.
If you're using a potting mix, plant at a depth of 4 times the size of the seed (below a ¼ inch of soil). You can use our convenient Jiffy Pots and Strips—Jiffy Pots are constructed of lightweight, biodegradable peat moss, so as the roots develop, they will grow right through the Jiffy Pot walls and into the garden soil.
You can use a seedling heat mat to raise the temperature to about 80 degrees F, but as the first leaves appear, lower the temperature a bit, to 70-75 degrees F.
Fluorescent light for around 14 to 16 hours a day is also ideal for the fastest growth. You will want to keep the seedlings just a few inches below the light so they don't “stretch ”and get “leggy". If you don't have strong artificial light, a sunny window will work, too—just keep the clear dome on your Bio Dome to protect your seedlings from those chilly drafts.
Germination should occur in 10 to 15 days and fruit should appear in 45 to 90 days from sowing, depending on the variety.
About 2 weeks before your transplant date work the garden soil thoroughly. Eggplants like a rich, fertile soil with plenty of organic matter so add compost or manure before planting. You can also work in a time-released fertilizer, which can be reapplied every 4 to 6 weeks. Then cover the soil with a tarp or plastic mulch to keep the weeds from sprouting until you're ready to plant. The use of mulch or a pop-up cold frame will also warm the soil, an important step before planting your young Eggplants.
Three to five days before transplanting, you'll need to start “hardening off ”your young plants by setting them outdoors in a lightly shaded area for an hour or two. The next day, give them a longer visit outside until they remain outdoors overnight, still in their pots. Naturally, if a cold spell hits, bring them indoors again to wait for the temperature to rise.
Your plants are ready to be transplanted when they have at least two sets of true leaves. Plant them 1 ½ to 2 feet apart in rows that are 2 ½ to 3 feet apart. Site them in full sun in well-drained soil, where they will receive 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Water well and mulch to conserve moisture. If you're growing the plants in straight rows, plastic mulch is far easier and effective than loose mulch (such as straw or pine bark).
Eggplants dislike root disturbance, so transplant carefully.
Eggplants are very sensitive to extreme cold, so after you've planted your seedlings, if there's a chance of a really cold or frosty night, securely cover them with a plastic bucket, plastic bag, or row cover.
Unless you have no other choice, don't plant your Eggplants in the same place you planted Tomatoes, Eggplants, or Broccoli & Cauliflower the year before. These veggies all belong to the same plant family and therefore have similar nutritional needs and are susceptible to similar diseases. Their presence can deplete the soil of important nutrients and possibly leave remnants of diseases in leaf litter the following year.Some varieties of Eggplants have spines, so be careful when harvesting the fruit.
- Use a row cover to reduce insect damage.
- Encourage the presence of ladybugs, lacewings, and other beneficial insects in your garden. These “good ”insects prey on aphids and other destructive insects. They're available at many garden centers.
- Use cages or supports to keep fruit-laden plants from falling over.
- The mature size of each plant will determine how much space you need to provide. For standard-size varieties, allow 18 to 24 inches between plants. Smaller types can be placed closer together, perhaps 12 to 18 inches apart.
- In order to remain productive, Eggplants need about 1 inch of water per week. A 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch will help retain moisture as well as offer weed control.
- If the nights become cool once your Eggplants have been planted in the garden, you can protect them with row covers or a tarp. Be careful, however, not to lay the tarp directly on the plants. You will need to use blocks, sticks, or whatever you have available to form a tent over your tender young Eggplants. You can remove it during the day and replace it at night, or leave it in place for several days and nights without damage to the plants.
- Growing Eggplants in containers adds beauty to decks and patios as well as offers a solution if you have limited gardening space or if you simply want delicious veggies within easy reach. You can grow dwarf varieties in an 8-inch pot or a deep window box. Larger Eggplants will need a 12-inch pot or 5-gallon container to allow for root development. Only use containers with drainage for excess water, and choose a potting mix designed for container gardening. Water as needed, especially during the heat of summer and as fruit begins to form on the plants.
- Harvest fruits regularly to keep the plants producing. Don't pull them off, but rather cut them off cleanly—pulling the fruit off may damage the stems. If a stem does get broken, use a knife or cutter to remove it cleanly. Eggplant fruit is best used fresh but will keep for about a week if it's loosely wrapped in a perforated plastic bag and stored in your refrigerator's crisper or a cool pantry.
Pests and Problems to Watch For
- Flea beetles, so named for their tendency to jump when disturbed, love Eggplants. They produce a characteristic injury to leaves known as “shot-holing." Young plants and seedlings are particularly susceptible to this damage. You can use Sevin Dust or organic Neem oil to control them.
- Aphids are often found on the underside of leaves and on stems and young buds. You can wash them off with a strong stream of water or use an insecticidal soap (be sure to follow the label instructions). Check the plants regularly, as aphids can be a recurring problem.
- Mites are extremely small and often not noticed until the damage has been done. A fine webbing on the underside of the leaves may indicate their presence. They thrive under hot, dry conditions, injuring the plants by sucking out the juices, which causes the leaves to discolor and yellow. Mites can be controlled by washing the plants with water every day for about a week or by applying an insecticidal soap to the underside and top of the leaves.
- Verticillium wilt can affect Eggplants, Tomatoes, Broccoli & Cauliflower, and Potatoes. A soil-borne fungus that makes the plants wilt, turn yellow, and eventually die causes this disease. Rotating these plants to different areas of the garden every year can prevent this problem.
Superior Germination Through Superior SciencePark Seed offers some of the highest-quality vegetable and flower seeds available in the industry, and there are a number of reasons for this.
First of all, we have humidity- and temperature-controlled storage, and we never treat any of our seeds with chemicals or pesticides. Nor do we ever sell GMO's (genetically modified seeds), so you always know the products you're buying from us are natural as well as safe for you and the environment.
Superior Standards - University InspectedTo make sure we are providing the best seed product possible and that our customers will get the highest number of seedlings from every packet, we conduct our own germination testing and have quality-control measures in every stage of our seed-handling operation. We hold ourselves to standards that are at or above federal and state standards, including testing specific crops more frequently than recommended by federal guidelines. And in order to maintain our organic certification, we welcome Clemson University to inspect us annually to make sure our organic seeds, which are stored and processed separately, are being handled properly.
Hand Packed By Experienced TechniciansPark Seed has been handling and packing vegetable and flower seeds for 145 years, a history that has given us a great understanding of how each variety should be cared for and maintained throughout every step of theprocess, from collection to shipping.
When packing our seeds, the majority are actually done by hand (with extreme care!), and we often over-pack them, so you're receiving more than the stated quantity.
The Park Seed Gold StandardAnd many of our seeds are packed in our exclusive Fresh-Pak gold foil packets, which are lined to keep moisture out, so the seeds stay fresher for longer. We carefully pack very tiny or fragile seeds in crush-proof vials to ensure safe delivery to your home. Some of the small seeds are also offered as "pellets" (have a clay coating) to make sowing and growing easier. When it comes to the kinds of seeds we offer, we are constantly seeking something new and provide many unique and hard-to-find varieties from all around the world. Our on-staff horticulturists are ready and available to share their expertise to help you with the success of these seeds, so you can grow a beautiful and productive garden!
Does Park sell GMO's or treated seeds? It is important for our customers to know that Park Seed does not sell GMO or treated seed. We do buy a small amount of traditional hybrid seed from Seminis, a division of Monsanto Co., but that is all we purchase from them.
What are the differences between organic, heirloom, and hybrid seed?
Basically, organic seeds are seeds that are produced without the use and exposure to artificial/chemical fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and other chemicals. They have to be grown, harvested, stored, and handled under very strict organic rules and procedures. All of our organic seeds are USDA 100% certified organic through Clemson University and the certificate has to be renewed yearly.
Heirloom Seeds are open-pollinated -- they are not hybrids. You can gather and save heirloom seed from year to year and they will grow true to type every year, so they can be passed down through generations. To be considered an heirloom, a variety would have to be at least from the 1940's and 3 generations old (many varieties are much older -- some 100 years or more!).
Hybrid seed are the product of cross-pollination between 2 different parent plants, resulting in a new plant/seed that is different from the parents. Unlike Heirloom seed, hybrid seed need to be re-purchased new every year (and not saved). They usually will not grow true to type if you save them, but will revert to one of the parents they were crossed with and most likely look/taste different in some way.
What are pelleted seeds? Why do you use them? How do I handle/sow them? Extremely small seed such as Petunias and Pentas are shipped as pelleted seed to make them easier to handle and sow. Pelleted seed are coated, usually with clay, to make them larger in size. After sowing, the coating will dissolve when wet and the seed will germinate. Pelleted seeds are shipped in vials placed inside seed packets, which protects them from being crushed. When sowing, be certain to use thoroughly moistened soil, to be sure that the clay coating absorbs enough moisture to dissolve. For sowing pelleted Petunia seeds, place the seeds directly on the soil surface and do not cover with soil, as light aids in the germination.
What is ideal temperature to germinate most seeds?
The ideal temperature to germinate most seeds is approximately 70 degrees F; give or take 1-2 degrees either way. This would be a good germination temperature for most flower and vegetable seeds and would be the most practical and feasible temperatures achieved for gardeners starting seeds in the home. You will notice for some seeds that it is recommended to use alternating day (warmer), night (cooler), temperatures, which is fine if one can provide such conditions. But most people are unable to provide those temperatures in a home setting, so just use the overall 70 degree F recommendation and the seeds should germinate well.
How long should grow lights be kept on per day and how close to the plants should the light be kept?
For germination and seedling/plant growth, you want to simulate the natural day-night cycles, and as a general rule, grow lights should be on 8-12 hours per day and off at night. You can vary this timing, as some seeds such as tomato, pepper, petunia, impatiens, and others, benefit from 14-17 hours of light per day (and the remainder of the 24 hour period in darkness). The most common grow lights used are fluorescent; using cool white, warm white, and wide-spectrum fluorescent tubes. These lights work well for germination and for growing plants up to a transplantable size. Fluorescent lights should be kept close though, 3-6 inches above the soil or the growing plants, adjusting the height as the plants grow.
How long will seeds keep in storage?
Park Seed stores seed in a special temperature- and humidity-controlled storage facility, which keeps seeds in excellent condition. Our seeds should be good for at least 1-2 years on average. Seed viability and storage time will vary depending on the seed item; some will keep a shorter time and some will keep longer. Seeds should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place. A basement will do (if not too humid), or a cool, dark room or closet. We recommend the best way to extend seed storage life is to store them in something air tight, such as a plastic zipper storage bag or canning jar, and place it in the refrigerator. This will extend the life of seeds for many years.
What is the best way to store seeds over a longer time period?
We recommend the best way to extend seed storage life is to store seeds in something air tight, such as a plastic zipper storage bag or canning jar, and place it in the refrigerator. This will extend the life of seeds for many years.
What depth should I sow various seeds?
When sowing seed outdoors, we recommend a maximum planting depth of 4X the width of the seed. When sowing seed indoors, the planting depth can be less, depending on the seed being sown, so it is always best to check specific directions. Here are some general guidelines concerning planting depth in relation to seed size: Tiny, dust-like seeds need to be sown on the surface of the growing medium or soil, uncovered, as they need light to germinate. The planting depth for small seed can be anywhere from barely covering, to 1/8-inch deep, to possibly 1/4-inch deep, depending on the recommendation. Medium seed should be planted at 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep, depending on the recommendation. Larger seeds can be planted 1-inch or deeper, depending on the recommendation.