Upon returning from my trip, I found several wonderful surprises awaiting in my gardens, thanks to a friend who was willing to stop by and make sure they had enough water.
The eggplants I noticed first — I could tell that the flowers were doing well, so I made sure to pollinate daily and prune back the leaves (carefully, to not disturb potentially fruiting flowers).
Lo and behold, at the very back of the plant I noticed this guy!
After spying it, I pruned a bit more and made sure no other leaves got in the way of its light and growth. Based on buying experience at the market, fairytale varieties are ready to harvest when at least 3-4 inches long, so even though I was excited as all getout to start harvesting, I resisted and made myself wait.
That, friends, was last week.
Yup, this little one, no longer little, fell to my pruning shears today. Because a few of my shishito peppers are very nearly ready for picking as well, I set my prize into the veggie drawer of my fridge after wrapping it in a paper towel and sealing it into a glass container. Tomorrow, it shall be roasted in celebration of my labors.
Though I have a favorite recipe for this particular fruit, I’m not sure how well it will work with a singular specimen… heck, I may try anyway. An experiment, if you will, as I wait for a few more to grow and ripen for harvest. Here’s what to look for if you’re growing them, too —
What I’m noticing this week as I prepare for harvest:
- Watch water levels! Fruit set needs a lot more water, or the plant gets stressed. I noticed quite a few flowers wilting and falling off in the past couple of days. It’s not a huge deal, because I have many more coming in, but stress delays fruit growth even if pollination occurs. You can limit the number of blossoms by selectively pruning early. I probably need to do that.
- Even though I pruned as soon as I returned home, the leaves went nuts this week and I had to prune again; too many leaves likely also contributed to my flower loss. It’s important to keep larger leaves from blocking out light, which can destroy flower and fruit.
- Those thorns mean business! Seriously, I know I’ve mentioned it before, but wear gloves when handling fairytale eggplants. Even the green caps on the fruit have them, though they may not be visible to the naked eye, so use caution.
Tomorrow, I’ll show how my shishitos are progressing. Happy Tuesday, everyone!