This is supposed to be a native of South America, but its origin seems uncertain. It is used as a vegetable in all the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, and is grown in all climates where dent corn will ripen, and the New York Purple is grown in the North where the eight-rowed early corns do not always mature. But to reach proper size of fruit at the North it must be started early in hot-bed, and by potting the plants should nearly reach the stage of blossoming prior to
setting out the first of June, when the ground becomes warm. The writer has set out plants in six-inch pots on which fruit had already set. In private gardens for home use it may be set in a warm corner in beds rather than rows at the North.
The plants in rich soil may be planted two feet way. The gain in bedding is that the cross-fertilization of the flowers favors the setting of the fruits and increases the size. If set in single rows, it often happens that the blossoms are not properly pollinated, and it seems incapable of self-pollination. If not pollinated, the fruits will develop partially, but never attain proper size, and very many of the blossoms will not develop fruits.
Fig. 106. - New York improved egg-plant.
Fig. 107. - Black Pekin eggplant.
When of full size the fruits are as large as small squashes (Figs. 106 and 107), but they can be used to about as good advantage when half grown. It is a standard vegetable over a large portion of Europe and Asia and in the South, and as shipped in over the Northern States. But outside of cities it is not as yet commonly grown in gardens.