Garden egg farming is now largely done for economic purposes unlike before when they were mostly farmed for home use only. In Nigeria every region consumes garden egg, this transcends to other African countries and the world at large.
It is widely distributed throughout the tropical and temperate regions; eggplant is grown mainly for food and medicinal purposes.
It was given the name garden egg because of the egg shape it possesses and the whitish colour which some of the varieties displays.
The botanical name for garden egg is Solanum melongena, eggplant is an economic flowering plant and belongs to the family Solanaceae. It can be called garden egg or eggplant they come in different varieties.
The difference between the green and white varieties is that; the green ones contains chlorophyll which is more liver friendly than the white ones which are sometimes more easily digestible.
The purple eggplant is rich in Nasunin; a powerful antioxidant which is good for brain health. Garden egg is an alkaline fruit which is good for ulcer patient.
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Some people eat it raw, others eat it cooked as sauce for eating yam etc. If you have ever eaten garden egg with blended groundnut mixed with pepper you will appreciate the wonders of the fruit.
In some places in Africa such as the Igbo land in Nigeria, garden egg has some traditional beliefs. It is believed that it represents fertility and blessing that is why it is being served in most marriages.
Clear the land of stump, grasses and debris, the best soil for garden egg farming is sandy-loam. Mixed your organic manure with the soil while preparing the land, the soil should be loosened to allow the roots to penetrate well into the soil. You can mix the organic manure a month before planting.
For a large-scale commercial garden egg farming (in hectares) use tractor but care must be taken in other not to displace the top soil completely. The ground should not be tilled lower than 20cm.
Garden egg can be planted directly or by raising a nursery bed, if you are using tray fill it up with the required soil and broadcast the garden egg seeds on it.
How to start Garden Egg Farming in Nigeria
Plant early morning or let in the afternoon. Put two seeds in a whole for the direct planting or you broadcast them and thin later. Also plant 2 seeds per hole in the nursery tray and transfer them to your already prepared farm which should not be far from the nursery after the seedling most have shown 2-3 leaves.
If you are planting on a plain ground give a space of 90cm by 90cm but for ridges give a space of 60cm between plants and 90cm between ridges.
Eggplants are self pollinated because they contain both the male and female reproductive system. It will not set fruit when the temperature is either too hot or too low that is why greenhouse farming will not be possible with it.
Flowering and fruiting starts from 6-8 weeks after transplanting and will continue development till about 2-3 months when they will be ready for harvest, depending on the variety.
Varieties that are good for commercial garden egg farming are; long purple, black beauty, florida market, baby aubergines etc. It requires warm temperature for optimum growth and development.
Garden egg needs manure at one point or another, apply manure at interval of every month and after every harvest you add potassium Nitrate to it, 400g for a hectare.
Care must be taken not to damage the crop when using chemical.
Garden egg are not fast in establishing themselves as such weeds should not be allowed at all in the farm so that they won’t compete which each other maybe resulting in the weeds overshadowing the eggplant.
Mulching is very important in garden egg farming because of their importance to crop. Use cut grasses and straw to cover the farmland, this will help in; conserving the soil moisture, preventing weed growth, reducing direct sunlight and adding of manure to the soil.
The commonest diseases are bacterial wilt and fruit rot. These are a kind of fungus diseases caused by wind and water. A parasite called Phytophthora also affects garden egg. These diseases can be controlled by removing the affected plants and also by spraying the crop with fungicides.
For pure organic growers use neem oil or water to eradicate these diseases. You can read my post on pepper farming in other to know the quantity of neem oil and water to use. Planting resistant varieties will also help to curb them. Practice crop rotation.
The pest that attacks garden eggs are bugs, flea beetle, egg skeletonize, fruit borer, spider mites and caterpillars. That is why when you cut garden egg maybe to eat you will sometimes find caterpillar larva inside this shouldn’t be strange to you anymore.
Use any of these insecticides; Sevin, fighter, agritgoin, tectrakill technicism etc on the garden egg farm.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO INTO GARDEN EGG FARMING
- It is very profitable; the leaves and fruit are sold alike
- Gardien egg can produce fruits up to 5 months; you can have more than 50% on your return in investment.
- The demand for garden egg is seriously increasing by the day because of the number of benefits it has to man.
- It is not difficult to plant and manage and takes a shorter time to mature for harvest.
Read also: how to start maize farming in Nigeria
It is very lucrative in the sense that retailers buying garden egg makes almost the same amount use in buying the product. Eggplant can be cultivated and harvested within a year so you can lease a land for this purpose.
Unlike most fruits, garden egg does not spoil quickly, they consumption rate is fast. There is no glut of the product because people are just beginning to see the economic benefit in it. Garden egg farming will do well if every management practice is put to use.
Harvesting starts 65-70 days after transporting depending on the variety planted. Harvest them at early stage while still being comparatively young, maybe 2 times in a week. Eggplant is ripe for harvest when the skin is smooth and the sizes are up to the ones attainable in the market.
A few eggplant varieties takes a longer time to mature example is the one with elongated fruit. When garden egg becomes over mature it loses its gloss (smoothness).
Garden egg is just like pepper the more you harvest it the more it fruits. Wisdom demands you keep harvesting them for continues production and prolong harvesting. This can go on for a long time (many months) before it finally dries and die off.
When the eggplant is matured for harvest, the stem becomes hardened; knife is then used to cut off the egg from the plant with the stalk and calyx attached for about 4cm.
Read also: How to make money from okra farming business
Avoid the use of hand to pull the garden egg as it may result in damaging the stem of the plant which can in turn has adverse effect on the plant especially if it is still fruiting.
Care must be taken to prevent them from being damaged either through abrasions, compression or puncturing. Some varieties has skin that can easily be damaged. Average yield of a hectare is between 30-40 tonnes.
Finally wash the garden eggs by placing them in a bowl with water in other to prepare them for market.
BENEFITS OF GARDEN EGG
- It regulates the blood sugar in the body and also improves blood circulation.
- Garden egg is a natural source of vitamin B such as thiamine, niacin, B6 and pantothenic acid.
- It helps in controlling cholesterol.
- Eggplant is beneficial for constipation due to high fibre content.
- It has bone strengthening mineral.
- The egg family has antioxidants that help in protecting the body from health risks such as ageing, inflammations and neurological diseases.
- Garden egg helps in weight management due to its low calories content and increases bowel movement.
In some states like Benue have garden egg market because there are many people who are into commercial garden egg farming. The market has been in operation for a long time now under bridge.
People from different places have been patronizing them especially when they are buying in bulk to sell as wholesalers or as retailers.
You can locate any fruit market and display your product or meet the sellers for negotiations to be distributed to them. Once you have established contact with them they will be the ones to be coming to you to buy and not you going to them again.
Package them in different bag sizes or in baskets for sale.
HOW TO CLEAN THE KIDNEY WITH GARDEN EGG
- Get garden egg leaves
- Cut the leaves into pieces
- Rinse in clean water
- Put the leaves in a clean pot and add water
- Boil for 10 minutes
- Filter into a container
- Allow it to cool, take a glass of it
Egg plant farming is more interesting to do now that the population of consumers is growing. So start yours today!.
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