It's (Almost) an Eggplant
Well, we've got a bit of a wait yet before we see an actual eggplant here, but I am happy that we at least have a blossom. This is our first eggplant blossom -- ever.
This is the third year we have tried to grow eggplant and each year the flea beetles have been grateful that we've provided them with their favorite snack. They munch and munch away at the leaves, leaving them riddled with holes and looking like Lacy Swiss cheese. We'd never gotten a single flower, much less any eggplants.
This year, we tried a slightly different strategy. Instead of planting all of the eggplants together, we spaced them throughout the garden (so it wouldn't be as easy for the bugs to jump from one plant to another and back again). The one shown in the photo was also surrounded by marigold plants, which are supposed to help deter undesirable insects.
As you can see, the leaves on this one are exhibiting signs of the Swiss-cheese effect, but overall, the plant is hanging on. It really seemed to thrive on the hot, 100-degree days we had here a few weeks ago.
Will we get an eggplant out of this? Well, we will have to see if the weather helps or not, but as the days shorten and the nights become cooler, I am not counting on much. If we do get an eggplant this late in the season, it will probably be minuscule.
I am happy with the flower, though. It's beautiful in and of itself and it's the farthest we've ever gotten with an eggplant, starting from seed. It's a positive sign that we're on the right track... and maybe we'll do better next year. (Here's hoping, right?)