No Respect for Raised Beds—Topaz with Some Volunteer Bachelor's Buttons Last May
I'm working on a cookbook all about making the most of your seasonal bounty no matter where it comes from, and I would love your input. I'll be posting random questions here every few days, and all comments are greatly appreciated.
Is it just me, or are eggplants some of the most beautiful vegetables in the garden? I love the look of 'plain old' Black Beauties, but of course there are dozens of other varieties you can grow. Eggplants come in all shapes and sizes—and quite a few colors, too.
The first year I gardened in Missouri I had a bumper crop of eggplant, which is what happens when two dozen plants (what was I thinking?) decide to flourish. The only trouble I had was with hungry flea beetles turning the leaves of the young plants into lace, but although they looked terrible they survived just fine.
I've really slacked off on my eggplant production since then, though. Joe doesn't care for eggplant, and they simply aren't a real priority for me. This year, however, I'm jumping back on the eggplant bandwagon big time, and am going to try growing some interesting heirloom varieties from seed (which I will start in containers and then transplant into the garden once the soil warms up and we're well past our frost date), including these (descriptions from the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog):
Pandora Striped Rose
A great market variety, teardrop-shaped fruit are a lovely lilac-rose color with thin white stripes. Strong, thornless plants give heavy yields; tender and delicious. A real eye catcher.
This beautiful heirloom comes from Turkey. The 3" round fruit are best cooked when they are green to light orange. This variety has very sweet and flavorful flesh. It imparts a strong, rich flavor to any dish. The small plants yield well. This variety is great for ethnic markets. Very ornamental looking.
Listada De Gandia
One of the most popular heirloom types, this one has 7"-long fruit that are white, with lovely bright purple stripes. They are so beautiful and have fabulous flavor, with sweet, tender flesh. This excellent variety hails from Spain, a country that is renowned for fine food.
So what are your favorite varieties of eggplant to grown and/or eat? And what do you do with bounty left on the vine that's a little past its prime? Cook, curse, compost?
© Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the inquiring foodie farm blog where it's quickly becoming obvious that I won't always have appropriate pictures to go with my questions, so when that happens I'll simply post random garden photos (rather than no photos) from my files, like this one of the annoying but cute Topaz relaxing in a raised bed as if she owns it.