Post by Ismail AbdulAzeez on Jun 23, 2021 20:24:27 GMT 1
Garden egg is an egg shaped vegetable with shiny skin typically dark purple in color but occasionally white or yellow; some varieties are even dark green, as seen in some regions of Nigeria.
It is a type of eggplant that is used as food crop in several countries of Africa. The name garden egg was derived from the egg shape of the fruit; and it comes in many varieties too.
The botanical name is Solanum melongena. It is a flowering plant and belongs to the family of Solanaceae. The names garden egg and eggplant can be used interchangeably as the stand for the same fruit.
Garden egg is an important crop in several African countries, but indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa.
In Ghana it is one of the three major consumed vegetables, it can be eaten raw or used in making stews. The stems and leaves are also consumed in some African countries.
In Nigeria, both the leaves and the fruits are almost accorded equal prominence as the leaves are used for medicinal purposes.
Garden egg farming is now conducted for economic purposes unlike in the past when it was done for subsistence farming by mostly small scale farmers. It is a big time business in many countries of Africa currently.
Nutritional Facts of Garden egg:
Let us look at the nutritional facts of garden egg. (Amount per 100 grams)
Fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Potassium: 229 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 6g
Dietary Fibre: 3g
Sugar: 3.5 g
Vitamin C: 3%
Vitamin B-6: 5%
Reasons why you have to start the business of farming garden eggs:
It is not difficult to plant and manage, and it takes a short time to mature and harvest.
Garden egg business is very profitable, its leaves, fruits and stems are sold for money.
They can produce fruits up to five months thereby giving quick return on investment within a short period.
The demand is daily increasing as more people are realizing the health benefit of the fruit.
Garden egg is highly sought after both in Europe and the US.
Eggplant can be planted and harvested within the same year. You can therefore lease or rent a piece of land for the farming.
There is no glut in the market as the consumers are much, and it does not get bad easily; it can even be dried for preservation.
The purple variety is rich in Nasunin, a powerful antioxidant good for brain health. It is an alkaline fruit, therefore good for ulcer patients.
Consumers in the South East of Nigeria eat it with peanut butter mixed with pepper as a delicacy. It is known to be good for those suffering from diabetes as it does not contain cholesterol.
The best soil for garden egg farming is sandy loamy soil. You have to loosen the soil for easy penetration of water and other essential materials. Mix the soil with organic manure one week before planting.
For large scale farmers using tractors, do not completely displace the surface soil, the ground should not be tilled more than 20cm deep.
Garden egg can be planted directly or by raising a nursery bed. If you are using a tray, you can fill it up with soil and then broadcast the seed on it.
Planting of garden egg:
It is always best to plant early in the morning or by late afternoon. Put two seeds in one hole for direct planting. Same for nursery tray put two seeds in a hole for nursery tray. Transfer them from the nursery after the seedlings must have shown 2-3 leaves.
If the planting is done on a plain ground, give a space of 90 X 90 cm for ridges, and 90 cm between ridges.
Eggplants are self-pollinated; they possess both male and female reproductive systems. It will not start fruiting if the temperature is too hot or too cold.
The eggplant starts flowering and fruiting from 6-8 weeks after planting. The plant will be ready for harvest in about 2-3 months.
Varieties best for commercial farming:
The following are some of the varieties best suited for commercial farming;
Baby aubergines, etc.
They require warm temperature for optimum growth and development.
Harvesting of Eggplant:
It is advisable to harvest at the early stage of maturity; do not allow it to be over matured before harvesting.
You can harvest 2-3 times a week; it pays better to harvest more regularly as it will produce more as you harvest often.
Continuous harvesting can go on for months before it will finally dry and die off.
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