Slim Jim is a terrific dwarf aubergine variety from Italy – an award-winning all-rounder in the patio vegetable category. Its dark-purple foliage and clusters of long, slim, purple fruits make it a perfect choice for ornamental and decorative gardens. Even though the variety’s origins are not clear, most accounts agree that it is southern-Italian in origin and was first introduced by Italian seed company Fratelli Ingegnoli.
Aubergines originated in Asia, being recorded first in the 6th century Chinese agricultural treatise Qímín Yàoshù. The plant was introduced to the Mediterranean region by Arabs in the Middle Ages. Aubergines have a somewhat unusual reputation in Italy – historically, it was thought that the whole plant could cause insanity. The name melanzana is derived from mela insana, meaning ‘insane apple’!
Latin Name: Solanum melongena
Variety: Slim Jim
Quantity: 30 seeds
Plant Size: Height - 70 cm, Width - 45 cm
Container Size: Height - 30 cm, Width - 35 cm
Sowing: Indoor - Mar-Apr, Outdoor - May-June
Timing: Germination - 10-30 days, Harvesting - 90-120 days
Spacing: When sowing - 3-5 cm, Depth - 0.5cm. When transplanting - 30-40 cm
Growing: Sunlight - Full sun, Soil - Well-drained, moist and fertile soil. Watering - Regular watering up to twice a day. Feeding - Heavy feeder
Caring: Eggplants are a bit slower to germinate than many other plants. They require a temperature between 25° and 30°C. When the young plant reaches 15 cm in height, cut the top off to encourage branch production and increase future fruit set.
Pollinators - Although eggplants are self-pollinating plants, pollinators will increase fruit set.
Pests - To prevent a whitefly attack, grow aubergines with a sacrificial trap crop such as bell pepper to divert pests away from the plant.
Harvesting: Harvest Slim Jim aubergines when they are about 10cm long. Don’t leave mature fruits left on the plant as this will decrease further fruit production.
Medicinal properties - Despite its historical reputation for causing insanity, aubergines are rich in nutrients and can be eaten freely!
How to eat - Even though fried aubergine is famous throughout the world as a key ingredient in parmigiana, the thin and firm Slim Jim variety lends itself to many culinary uses – try it pickled with garlic and oregano, roast it gently to make a delicious dip, or grill it and dress with olive oil and parsley.
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