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Monday, May 23, 2011

To Annual or Perennial and Things I Don't Much Like

Eggplant - Slim Jim
I don't like to pull up living plants. I don't like to thin out seedlings. And I don't like to pull out weeds (but that's 'cos I'm lazy, not 'cos I have some strange love for weeds).

So it is with reluctance today that I pull up my eggplant plants.  I'd read that you can grow them as perennials. To be honest, I'm such a novice, dodgy gardener that I had to google "annual" and "perennial" just to make sure I knew what was what this morning. Then I googled eggplant and annual and discovered that they'll probably only keep if you have warm winters. I don't think we qualify. I'm already sporting my red scarf and fingerless gloves and grizzling about Melbourne weather... and it's not even Winter yet. While I'm onto things I don't like, that's another one - Winter. Don't like it. So much so that I'm tempted to stop reading one of my favourite bloggers Hazel who has a countdown to Winter on her header at the moment.  Grrr. Makes me grumpy. Now I know some of you international visitors are rolling your eyes and tsking your tongues at my whining and moaning. I know, I don't even know what Winter is... 15ยบ is not actually cold... and I've only ever seen snow three times in my life! So I'd better stop before too many of you decide to stop reading and I have to re-name myself The Grizzler.
Back to the eggplant plants - I will pull them out. But look at them - they're so pretty. And they're still alive. Such a pity but out they must come. These are little skinny ones called slim jim grown from a packet of Diggers' seeds. Probably, a few of these eggplants needed some more time to grow but given the cold that's not going to happen. Reminder to self for next year to plant more of them and to plant them earlier. Anyway, today I snipped them off and decided to put them in a pot for lunch. Actually, what I really wanted to do was fry them but I knew I'd need to use loads of olive oil. Nothing like an eggplant to suck up the oil. I had a big slice of apple pie with double cream last night so I've decided I'd better go easy on the kilojoules this week. Instead, I sauteed them in a bit of veggie stock and added leftover roast veggies. I was about to take a photo but decided it all looked a bit grey. Those eggplants definitely looked better uncooked. So I fancied it all up with some chopped parsley. Nothing like a garnish to make you look like a masterchef.
Chilli plants
Now, I will bring myself to pull up the eggplants but I will not touch these chilli plants. They are in a nice warm spot and surely can survive a Melbourne Winter.

Eggplant Stew with Leftover Roast Veggies
• Eggplant, chopped (I used about 10 slim jims but 1 big one will do)
• 1 big tomato, chopped
• a little stock
• 30g low fat feta, crumbled/chopped
• leftover roast veggies
• parsley, finely chopped
• sourdough toast to serve

Saute the eggplant in a pot with a little stock until soft.  Add the chopped tomato and leftover roast veggies. Cook stirring for a couple of minutes. Add the crumbled feta and parsley and stir through. Serve with a piece of sourdough toast.

14 comments:

  1. Now I know what to do with the eggplants that I have to pull out. The stew looks delicious and easy too.

    I leave my chilli plants in. Some survive and some don't. They lose all of their leaves but sprout back in the spring.

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  2. Hey VG. Don't feel too bad. I complain about Winter and I live in S.E.Qld - It's all relative. I hate the short days even more than the cold.

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  3. Good Missy, now I don't feel so bad. You must be a true whiner! :) I don't mind the short days so much - although I'm not working as much as you so unlike you I do get to see daylight.
    Tracy thanks for the information. I have no idea about chilli. I planted them at the wrong time but they've grown so well. There are green chillies on them at the moment but I guess they won't redden?

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  4. I am soooo jealous. I planted my eggplants in the grow house - a bit late I admit, but it wasn't built until mid December. And what did I get? One, yes, one little eggplant. I think I may have planted them too close as I had about six plants I'd grown from seed and then we had a non-summer this year. I am about to pull them out and plan to plant earlier this year so that I don't run out of summer again.
    Jan

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  5. I have had eggplants last for about 3 years but I don't think it ever gets below 6 or 7 here and they were in the warmest spot. Can you build a mini greenhouse type thing around them, some kind of cloche arrangement maybe?

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  6. I never tried growing slim jim before. It looks very prolific. You got a nice harvest there. I just leave our chilies alone some survive some don't. The weather can be erratic if you suddenly have warm weather continuosly for a few days, some do turn red in winter if this happen.I am growing some broccoli around our chili plants this year to protect them from winter and wind which work well last year that keep them alive and they are still prolific at the moment.I planned to pull up my old eggplants last week but they are such a tease. Suddenly they give me bloom as if they give me some eggplants if I let them be.

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  7. Don't know about Eggplants, but I can certainly vouch for the fact that chillis can be perennials if you want them to be. Here in the UK you would need to keep them indoors during the Winter, but I have successfully done this in the past.

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  8. Some people enjoy the changing of seasons, some people enjoy one season - me I love Autumn and Spring - winter and Summer are for someone else.

    I am with you on the pulling of live plants and thinning out - I cheat and try to find them somewhere else to live in my garden. Or someone else's garden. And weeds are just annoying - you pull them out and they just come back.

    Liked your eggplants - very nice looking.

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  9. I'm leaving my eggplants in. I haven't got the foggiest idea of whether or not they'll survive, but it's worth a shot, I figure.
    With you on the Winter dislike too, I'm dreading it already!

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  10. I know how you feel. I just pulled out our eggplant in Sydney too. :( I was going to try to leave them in but the carrots are waiting for that patch of dirt! I'm also with you re: thinning seedlings and weeding.

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  11. Oh no, I should have found this website sooner.
    I too have some beautiful eggplant plants but I just found out that they can be perennials. All you have to do is build a cold frame that you can set over them and mulch them heavily to keep their roots warm. Wish I could visit Melbourne someday...

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  12. Great info. I live here in Port St Lucie (60 miles south of Melbourne,Florida) I left my eggplants in my raised bed this year. We had a very mild winter and now the plants are full of flowers. I'm confident they will set soon. Does anyone have suggestions for types of mulch?

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  13. Hi, I agree with Barnes - my eggplants have survived in Melbourne with a nice layer of mulch around them. They are growing in a sheltered spot against a sunny wall, though. So that might have helped. Mine are still flowering, too, but I doubt there'll be any more fruit. - Partly perhaps because I am done with watering until next spring, and they're out on their own now... On similar note, has anybody ever managed to get their Basil over the winter?

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  14. Interesting. I live in Dubai and temp here today is 46 degC. Struggling to grow anything in my yard. Can anyone suggest whats the best mulch for eggplant?

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