This is always an interesting vegetable to cultivate, being worthy of a place as an ornamental plant, as well as being much prized for culinary use. It is a native of the Tropics, and peculiarly tender. We find the seeds will not germinate freely under a temperature of seventy degrees; and even then, often tardily, unless the conditions are just right. Nothing suits them so well as a warm hot-bed, and to get plants of the proper size to be set in the open ground by the end of May, the seeds should be sown early in March, and the plants potted into small pots when an inch or so in bight. But as only a dozen or two plants are needed for a family, whenever the plants can be purchased conveniently, it is never worth the trouble to attempt the raising of them from seeds, unless indeed there is room in a hot-bed, or hot-house used for other purposes. Do not plant out sooner than the 25th of May, unless they can be protected by handglasses. Set at distances of four feet apart, preparing the hills as described for Lima Beans. Each plant should average a dozen fruits, which will weigh from ten to forty ounces each. The best flavored variety in our opinion is the Black Pekin, but the most prolific is the New York Market. A pure pearly white variety is highly ornamental, and also of excellent flavor. The Egg Plant is usually fried in slices, but there are other methods to be found in the proper authorities in such matters.
Fig. 83. - Egg Plant.