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Baba ganoush, that tasty Middle Eastern dip, is just one of delicious eggplant dishes you can make. Bonus point: They serve as great ornamentals in containers or the flower garden.
Hardiness: Grown as an annual.
Planting advice: Best to use transplants. Set them every 18 to 24 inches, with rows 30 to 36 inches apart. Plant after the last frost when soil is warm.
Harvest tips: Matures in 50 to 80 days. Pick fruits when 6 to 8 inches long and still shiny, and keep on their green "hats."
Or use the thumb test: If the flesh rebounds when gently pressed, they're ready. Eggplants spoil quickly, so don't wait long to cook them.
Recommendations: Black Bell, Ghostbuster (white), Slim Jim (container gardens), Easter Egg (yellow ornamental).
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Source: Birds & Blooms "Grow Veggies for Less"