Eggplant - which best colder areas

We live near Vancouver, BC and have been trying to grow eggplants for the last two summers. First year nothing and last year we had one eggplant on five plants.
Does anybody know of a good variety to grow in a Northern climate? I'm ready to order seeds and want to try something new. We're hoping for a warmer summer this year (the last two were milder than normal) so that might help.
Any hints on growing them would be appreciated also. The wife read a lot about them last year and we tried some different methods of growing - but to no luck (well, maybe a little luck - the one edible eggplant gave me hope for this year!).
Gratefully, Mark Thompson
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Mark wrote:

Outdoor eggplants are a dubious proposition in Vancouver. You need lots of sun! (Remember last June? :() I have had best success with the variety Vittoria (available from William Dam).
Ian
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Hi All,

time it may help. hope this helps you.
Richard M. Watkin.

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have you tried the long thin egg plants? i live in the south and they die in hot weather, where the fatter type live till frost, they need lots of water
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Mark wrote:

I am not familiar with the Vancouver climate other than despite being maritime it is somewhat chilly. Eggplant like a long, hot, sunny growing season. According to wikipedia the four warmest months have temperatures ranging from about 11C to 22C. I would say unless you can arrange a warmer microclimate there is no chance of raising healthy eggplants. Also I would start the seeds indoors or in your hothouse and transplant when it warms up to give the plants the best chance of a long growing season.
David
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I'd agree with everything that David said but in addition I would add that they really need more heat for a longer time than tomatoes, so if you can grow good tomatoes then you could still have problems with eggplants but it could be possibile to grow them. I can grow good tomatoes but have had less sucess with eggplants because of a short growing season. This year I'm trying the smaller Labanese style tomatoes rather than the big ones. No sign of fruit yet and the flowers are only just appearring but I've just picked my first tomato for the season, so I'm hopeful that if we get an extended Autumn, I might get some eggplants.
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Try the Japanese varieties and use black plastic mulch. Works for me in the mountains of NC. Steve

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I've been told Territorial Seeds have eggplant seedlings for sale in the next couple of months. It seems it's quite difficult to grow from seeds. Anybody know if other seed companies also grow eggplant seedlings?
Again - thanks for all the great ideas.
Mark
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Mark Thompson said:

Quite difficult? No more difficult than peppers or tomatoes, and much easier than some of the things I've tried growing from seed.
A little warmth until they sprout, and some supplemental light. I start them indoors in early April, plant them out in very late May, and they are easily the healthiest looking of all the plants I start indoors.
I've got a fluorescent light set up in a window that I set seed trays on top of for bottom warmth, and used as a supplemental light source after they sprout. (This isn't my main plant starting set-up, but works just fine on a smaller scale.)
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Pat in Plymouth MI

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Mark said:

My best guess would be that you should try one of the small-fruited varieties. "Fairy Tale" Hybrid is an All-America Selection, which means it has been tested in a wide variety of growing locations. I prefer it to "Hansel," another more recent AAS. "Twinkle" is another small fruited variety, not as productive as "Fairy Tale" but a better texture.
My favorite eggplant is "Neon" but it has not been available through my usual sources the last couple of years. It is an early and prolific variety.

Tuck it up against a south- or south-west facing wall. Use a container to follow the sun around or to allow you to get it up against a wall. For instance, the warmest growing area in my yard would be along the driveway right next to the house, where only potted plants could be located. (BTW, "Fairy Tale" variety is well-suited to growing in containers.)
A small greenhouse or large cold-frame could also be used to grow eggplants, so long as you have good temperature control.
The eggplant flowers in my garden are usually worked over by bumblebees. They latch on to the flowers and give them a vigorous buzz to shake out the pollen. In the absence of bumblebees, you would probably need to act as a pollinator for your eggplants. (If you grow them under glass, that's an absolute neccessity.)
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Pat in Plymouth MI

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I

Perhaps plants suitable for Maine maybe useful.
<http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/search.aspx?scommand=search&search=eg gplant>
Bill
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Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA






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