So, you wanna be a home gardener. It’s worth the work, especially when growing yellow squash and eggplant. Not only are these hardy plants easy to grow, they can produce enough fruit in a single season to feed the entire family. The steps are fairly simple, while the recipe possibilities are seemingly unlimited.
Yellow squash are a type of summer squash known to have short storage lives. There are several varieties of these beauties, though you typically have to purchase them as seeds.
Eggplants are a type of Nightshade, and by botanical definition, they actually fall under the classification of berries. They’re related to the tomato and potato family and originate in Southeast Asia.
Starting Seeds in Peat Pellets
Yellow squash seeds are very large, while eggplant seeds are extremely small.
For yellow squash seeds, only about two seeds fit in a single peat pellet. These seeds are pretty bulky, and the seedlings produce tall and dense compared to other plants. Remember to keep only one plant that germinates.
Eggplants can be a little tricky. Instead of giant seeds, they have small seeds. Some worry that instead of planting two, they’ll accidently plant two thousand, and that’s okay! Eggplant seedlings can be plucked easily enough to make room for one plant.
Start Squash plants indoors three to four weeks before the date you plan to plant them outside. Biodegradable peat pellets are perfect starters, as squash dislike root disruption. They grow best at temperatures ranging from 60 to 85 degrees F.
Eggplants should start about 6 weeks before the last frost, or about 8 weeks before you expect the outside temperatures to be 60 degrees F at night.
Put the peat pellets in a plastic tray and spread them apart from one other.
Fill the tray with water until the peat pellets expand in size and absorb the moisture. This could take 30 minutes depending on the size of the peat pellets. For yellow squash, it is recommended to have larger peat pellets.
Helping Your Seeds Germinate
It takes yellow squash about three to 10 days to germinate at 85 degrees F.
For eggplants, it takes five to 10 days to germinate with temperatures consistently at or above 70 degrees F.
Heating mats can be helpful for germination in colder areas.
When watering peat pellets, it’s essential to water from the bottom and not the top. Gardeners should aim for the roots.
Splashing water on plants can spread disease, which is why watering from the bottom is preferable.
It’s optional, but some use a grow light to help seedlings that need a light source nearby to grow. A sunny window location can also be helpful.
Transplanting and Harvesting for Dinner
It’s helpful to give both squash and eggplant seedlings time to become acclimated to the outdoors before planting. Place them outside with a covering for at least one week for about one to three hours a day. This can prevent transplant shock, which as the name suggests, is a poor adjustment to their new outdoor climate.
For yellow squash, look out for both male and female flowers. The female flowers will eventually become full blown squash. If the bees don’t visit your garden too often, hand pollinating may be the way to go.
There’s no such worry with eggplants, as their flowers will self-pollinate and produce fruit without the need of outside intervention from humans or bees.
After the harvest comes most folk’s favorite part of the process – cooking your crops!
There are a few great recipes that really shine when prepared with home grown crops, so feel free to get things cooking.
Here are some healthy and delicious recipes that will pair perfectly with your garden goodies:
For this recipe, you can cut your veggies in any way you want, even star shapes!
A great recipe for gardeners by a gardener