Here are best bet, easy-to-grow eggplants divided into shape and size categories: (1) large oval eggplants; (2) elongated eggplants; and (3) white eggplants.
Keep reading to the bottom of this post and I will give you my tips for sure-fired eggplant growing success.
Large oval eggplant:
• Black Beauty. 72-85 days. Fine flavor; holds well. Large round to oval fruit 4 to 6 inches long, 5 inches in diameter; smooth, glossy, purplish-black skin with bright green calyx. Bears 4 to 6 fruits; holds color and quality well after being picked. Medium-tall, bushy plant 24 to 30 inches tall; widely adapted; popular for home gardens. Heirloom. Open-pollinated
• Black Magic. 72 days. Purple-black oval, bell shaped fruit.
• Dusky. 63 days. Firm, very good quality flesh. Uniform, long, oval fruit to 8 inches in length, 3½ inches in diameter; glossy purplish-black skin. Upright plant, 24 to 36 inches tall. High yield. Recommended for home gardens. Tobacco mosaic virus resistant. Hybrid.
• Early Bird. Very early producer. Hybrid.
• Epic. 64 days. Good yield 8 inch long by 4 inch wide deep purple black tear drop shaped strong plants for slicing, stuffing baking plant to 36 inches tall. Tobacco mosaic virus resistant. Hybrid
• Imperial Black Beauty. 70-90 days. TMV. Dark purple fruit. Excellent strain of this popular variety, plants average 18 to 24 inches tall and usually bear four large dark-purple eggplant fruit, 1-3 pound each. Introduce 1910. Tobacco mosaic virus resistant. Open-pollinated.
• Rosa Bianca. 75-90 days. Meaty, very food flavor. Globular fruit, 4 to 6 inches long; lavender to creamy white skin; calyx very large compared to other eggplants. Italian heirloom. Open-pollinated.
Elongated eggplant fruit:
• Ichiban. 58-70 days. Oriental type. Good flavor and quality. Long slender cylindrical fruit., 7 to10 inches in length, 2 inches in diameter; slight tapered toward the blossom end; glossy dark purple skin; soft flesh slow to develop seeds. Upright plant 36 to 40 inches tall. Highly productive. For home gardens. Hybrid .
• Little Fingers. 68 days. Mild, sweet taste, delicate flavor. Glossy black-dark purple skin, green calyx. Slim fruits grow in clusters of 3 or more, each 4 or 6 inches long, but harvest is best when fruit is the size of a little finger. Stir fry, grill, or pickle. Open-pollinated.
• Slim Jim. 70 days. Lavender fruit turning purple when peanut size; matures at 4 to 5 inches long. Plant grows to 36 inches tall with deep purple leaves. Good grower in pots. Fruit for frying. Open-pollinated.
• Casper. 70 days. Ivory white skin, early producer 5 to6 inch fruit, white flesh, succulent mild mushroom like flavor, good in cool regions, very good yield. Open-pollinated.
• Easter Egg. 52-65 days. Small white egg-sized. Edible white fruits the size and shape of an egg, green calyx, interesting ornamental well branched 32 inches plant, eventually turns yellow, pick when shiny white. Open-pollinated
Eggplant success growing tips:
Planting. Set eggplants in the garden 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost in spring when the soil has reached 60°F. Start seed indoors 8 weeks before setting plants in the garden; use bottom heat to keep starts at 80°F until they are established. Do not rush setting eggplants in the garden; temperatures too low will only stress eggplant and decrease the yield or kill the plants.
Care. Much of eggplant growing success has to do with care. Eggplants demand even, regular water. Even one missed watering and the yield will likely suffer. Eggplants need 2 to 3 gallons of water per plant each week. A regulated drip irrigation system will ensure proper watering. After plants are established, mulch around eggplants to maintain and conserve soil moisture. After fruits have set, feed plants every two weeks with compost tea or fish emulsion.
Pests and disease. As crops develop, exclude pests with cloches or row covers. Eggplants should be strong enough to go it alone 3 to 4 weeks after transplanting. Exclude cutworms with paper collars and flea beetles with row covers. Do not allow weeds to grow near eggplants.
Harvest. Know the harvest size of the eggplant variety you are growing; eggplants mature at anywhere from 2 to 10 inches long depending upon the variety. Start the harvest when fruit is half its mature size. Press the skin with your finger; if the skin springs back, it is time to pick. Use a sharp knife or pruners to cut eggplants from the stem. Do not pull an eggplant from its stem.