Aubergines in Love: Eggplantus Interruptus


| 2/3/2010 12:47:28 PM


Tags: Eggplant, Gardening,

A photo of Shannon SaiaThe past year has been rough for me and the eggplant. Here’s how it broke down.

In early April I’m out looking for a good gardening time, and I buy a fine looking specimen of Ichiban eggplant from a local box store. I know, I know, you don’t always meet the best quality plants in a big box store, but this plant was different. I mean, he was big. He was robust. He was gorgeous. We had chemistry. I put him in the garden, four feet away from anything else, because a fellow needs a little privacy. Still, there was trouble on the way. There were potatoes on the block. And his neighbor was a young Black Beauty zucchini, hatched out of an AeroGarden in my very own kitchen, the little traitor. She didn’t look like much when the two first became neighbors, but she grew. She burgeoned. And trust me when I tell you, she had tentacles. Sure enough, before too long, she and Ichiban get to talking.

In the meantime, I am so excited about how well my zucchini and cucumber seedlings turned out, that I decide to try something else. I study the photo on the front of a Hansel Eggplant seed packet. The fruit is trim and svelte. I can imagine myself setting him up in his own apartment, up on the deck, far from Ichiban, and visiting him on the side. Nothing serious, you understand. Just a fling. He promises to produce fruit that is sleek and manageable. So I sign the lease on the deck pot and start the seeds.

The first week of May, Hansel’s seeds begin to curl up out of the soil. They are delicate and lovely. With their arched necks, they look like swans. I think I’m falling in love with Hansel. I didn’t see this coming at all.

A few weeks later I thin the Hansel seedlings. It is truly painful. I hate to do it. I had 3 in one pot and 4 in the other, now they are 2 and 1. It was awful, but necessary. After all, this isn’t just a fling anymore. A relationship takes work and sacrifice. It must be nurtured. It’s important that both partner’s needs be met, and there’s just not enough space and soil in these little starter pots to go around. Things are better now. Still, I cannot fathom that these slim little numbers with their tiny true leaves are ever going to look as big and strong and impressive as Ichiban.

In June I watch with anticipation as Ichiban begins to set fruit. At first it’s just a purple nub, then a knob, and then it begins to swell and expand. It’s glossy and breathtaking. It seems to gain inches a day. I’m planning our future together. The ratatouille. The parmesan. The fritters. The rollatini. I’m ambitious. I’m optimistic.

Ben Dicosta
7/28/2010 5:49:10 AM

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Susan_7
2/4/2010 6:18:09 PM

What a wonderfully told tale! I laughed outloud. Thanks for the great writing.


S.M.R. Saia
2/4/2010 2:20:14 PM

Thanks for all the commiserations!!!!!





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