Fairy Tale Eggplant: The Complete Guide From Seeds to Harvest, With Recipes
Fairy Tale eggplants are a small, elongated eggplant variety with purple and white striped skin and a delicate, sweet flavor, with just a few seeds and no bitterness.
Fairy Tale eggplants are well suited for growing in small gardens or containers, requiring very little space. They can be rather productive but also decorative plants.
Published: January 9, 2023.
Intro To Growing Fairy Tale Eggplants
Fairy Tale eggplants are rather compact plants growing up to 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm).
Generally, Fairy Tale eggplants don't require support, but they can provide plenty of fruits, so, just in case, consider adding a few stakes or a small tomato cage, or if You have a trellis system, plant one or more rows of Fairy Tale eggplants and enjoy growing them, but also their excellent taste.
When fully ripe, Fairy Tale eggplant fruits are ~4 inches (~10 cm) long and some 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches (~2 to 3 cm) in diameter.
Fairy Tale eggplants need plenty of sunlight to thrive, so choose a location in your garden that gets at least 6-8 or even more hours of sunlight per day.
Fairy Tale eggplants prefer well-draining soil with a pH of 6.2-6.7, but generally, they accept anything from 5.5 to 7.0. If your soil is too heavy, you can improve it by adding some sand, peat moss, compost, worm castings, and other organic material - the soil must retain moisture and nutrients well, but it also must have good drainage.
If the soil is really bad for growing eggplants, consider growing them in raised beds, pots, containers, or even in grow bags.
When preparing a soil patch that already features good, slightly acidic soil with plenty of organic matter, be sure to add some aged manure, compost and/or worm castings and to till the soil at least 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) deep.
Also, adding some balanced 10-10-10 or 15-15-15 NPK fertilizer can help with the growth of young plants - balance is the key since too much of nutrients is not good, especially too much nitrogen, which can cause plants to grow quickly, but they are actually weak and prone to mechanical damage and diseases.
When choosing the location for eggplants, don't plant the eggplants in a location where you grew eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, or peppers in the last 3-4 years - this will reduce the danger from soil-transmitted diseases.
Sowing The Seeds
Since eggplants are generally very sensitive to frost, You can either start the seeds indoors 6-10 weeks before the last frost date in your area or purchase seedlings from a nursery or garden center.
Sow 3-4 seeds per inch in a good potting mix, some 1/4 inch (6-8 mm) deep, and keep the soil temperature relatively high (at least 75°F, 24°C) for the eggplants to germinate. When true leaves form, remove excess seedlings, leaving small plants some 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) apart.
Or, sow 3-4 seeds in small plastic pots with good drainage and when first true leaves are formed, leave the best seedling in the pot to grow and remove other plants.
Before planting the seedlings outside, reduce the temperature to about 60-65°F (16-18°C), expose the seedlings to direct sunlight, and water them less regularly. Seedlings' hardening should start ~1 week before transplanting them to their permanent location.
Note: Hardening is not an absolute requirement, especially in areas with a warm climate, but hardened plants are much tougher to lower temperatures and drought.
When planting, space the seedlings about 18-24 inches (46-61 cm) apart in the row to allow for adequate room to grow.
Note: If You have a small garden, consider sowing 2-3 pots some 10 weeks before the danger of the last frost, 2-3 weeks later 2-3 pots more, and again, 2-3 weeks later 2-3 pots more. This will give You 6-9 pots with Fairy Tale eggplants and a rather long harvesting season. This goes not only for Fairy Tale eggplants but for most similar vegetables.
Watering and Fertilization
Fairy Tale eggplants need a consistent supply of water to grow well, so be sure to water your plants regularly, especially during dry spells.
Fertilize the plants every 3-4 weeks with a balanced fertilizer and some compost/worm castings to provide the necessary nutrients.
When the soil is properly prepared, when adding fertilizers in smaller amounts regularly keeps the nutrient levels more or less constant, helping the plants grow, flower, and grow tasty fruits with no bitterness.
If possible, use a dripping system to water the eggplants - this will keep moisture levels rather constant, and actually, it will save plenty of water.
Mulch can protect the soil from strong sun and wind, decreasing moisture evaporation.
Also, as the mulch decomposes, it slowly feeds the plants and keeps the soil slightly acidic.
For the patches where the gardener has to work with the soil often, for example, to fertilize every 3-4 weeks, perhaps the best mulch is straw (straw, not hay; hay can be full of various seeds).
Add a layer of mulch some 3-5 inches (8-12.5 cm) thick around the eggplants, and when fertilizing the plants, simply move the straw aside, fertilize the plants, water them, and put the straw/mulch back into its position.
After the harvest, collect the remaining straw and use it to make your own organic compost.
Pests and Diseases
Fairy Tale eggplants can be prone to pest problems, so be sure to monitor your plants regularly and take steps to control any pests that may appear. This should include companion gardening and crop rotation, and if really required, some organic insecticides and fungicides.
Typical Fairy Tale eggplant pests include aphids, cutworms, flea beetles, hornworms, etc., while typical diseases include Verticillium wilt, Fusarium wilt, Powdery mildew, etc.
Note: Ladybugs can protect your garden from aphids in a rather natural way ...
Prune your Fairy Tale eggplants to encourage healthy growth and remove any damaged or diseased branches. You can also train your plants to grow in a particular direction to use your space better.
Remove all suckers, and prune the plant to 2-3 main stalks - some gardeners leave up to 4 stems and spread them evenly in all directions to use the space better.
Note: one of the important goals of pruning is to ensure good aeration and sun exposure of the plants, leaves, flowers, and fruits. This can help fight many diseases.
Growing Fairy Tale Eggplants in Raised Beds, Pots, Containers, and Grow Bags
When the local soil is not ideal for eggplants, grow them in raised beds, pots, containers, or even grow bags. This allows the gardeners to tailor the soil to fit perfectly to eggplants - pH 6.2-6.7, well aerated, good drainage, plenty of organic matter, etc.
Also, when the plants are grown in pots, containers, and grow bags, this allows the gardener to place them on the carts with wheels and move around as required, including indoors, when there is a danger of frost.
So, fill the raised beds, pots, containers and/or grow bags with good potting soil, thoroughly mix with worm castings, compost, and aged manure and add some balanced NPK fertilizer, 15-15-15, for example. If You can find NPK fertilizer with a gradual release, even better.
When the danger of frost is gone, plant young seedlings some 18-24 inches (46-61 cm) apart. If You are planting Fairy Tale eggplant in the pots, a 16 inches (~40 cm) wide and deep pot is large enough for a single plant, although an 18-20 inches (46-51 cm) pot is much better.
Similarly, when planting them in containers, 16 inches wide and deep containers are good enough, but 20-24 inches (51-61 cm) wide and deep containers are much better.
Note: the more soil a single plant has, the better. Plants grown in pots are very susceptible to drought and nutrient spikes.
After planting, consider placing a few stakes per plant to support them later or place a small tomato support cage.
Harvesting Fairy Tale Eggplants
Finally, a harvest. Fairy Tale eggplants are fully ripe when they have bright, shiny, thin skin and the fruits are firm.
Depending on the number of plants, the harvest of Fairy Tale eggplants can yield a large harvest, despite plants being relatively small and compact.
Many growers train branches to grow wide, and when the fruits start to gain in volume and weight, they hang outside the pot, not touching the floor or soil - very similar to growing strawberries in pots and containers, just one has larger plants and fruits.
Fairy Tale Eggplant Recipes
Fairy Tale eggplants are prepared just as any other eggplant - roasted, cooked in stews, baked in an oven, grilled, and similar.
Since eggplants are low calories vegetables, they can be used even in low-calorie and low carbs diets and meals.
On average, 100g of eggplant consists of the following:
- Protein: 1g,
- Carbs: 6g,
- Fats: 0.2g,
- Fibers: 3g.
Also, they also contain some vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds.
Note: Nutritional profile depends on the variety, growing season, conditions, etc.
One of my personal recipes is grilled Fairy Tale eggplant.
Grilled Fairy Tale Eggplant
So, clean and slice the Fairy Tale eggplant in 1/2 - 3/4 inch (~1.2-1.9 cm) slices, add just a little bit of salt, a drop of two of olive oil on each slice, and grill on the grill pan or barbecue.
After a few minutes, flip them over, and after a few more minutes, they are done.
Note that the actual grilling time depends on the slice thicknesses - the best thickness is around 1/2 inch.
This is a great recipe that can be easily improved - peel off the garlic and slice it thin. Also, cut some bacon into very thin slices.
Now, using a very sharp knife, cut horizontal holes in the sides of the eggplant slices and gently push the garlic and bacon slices into them.
Grill on a non-stick grilling pan using just a little bit of olive oil.
When the eggplant slices are almost done, put just a little bit of butter on top of each slice and let it melt - when the butter has melted, remove the eggplant slices from the pan and serve them warm as a side dish.
Long Story Short: Fairy Tale eggplants are rather simple to grow, just be sure to have enough sunlight, moisture, and nutrients. If required, prune it and add some support.
When growing in the pots, it can be grown as strawberries - let the fruits hang over the pot. This prevents many diseases and can be rather decorative.
Best of all, harvest can provide great yield, and the eggplants taste excellent.