This time, this past fall, I found the plants needed frost protection once again. A warm, sunny September had allowed another heavy crop of around fifteen or more eggplants to set up.
But by the middle of October I was watching the temperatures each night with keen eyes. The days were still so glorious; strong sunshine that still branded pink cheeks. And this crop was a bit small, they could use every extra day of growth. So I left them on the vine.
When temperatures dropped below forty degrees I conceived a plan. A cocoon of sorts, like a tent/greenhouse, to protect them from a freeze. My first idea was to drape a tarp around them, that was too heavy, and actually would have trapped condensate inside. So I kept the concept with one modification; cotton sheets. They would breathe and trap ground heat at the same time. Perfect.
The sheets were draped over the stakes at dusk. Tucked under the drooping eggplants, they formed a breatheable cocoon. Able to trap warmth but exchange moisture to avoid condensation.
It worked! I was finally forced to harvest this bowl of eggplants on November 1,2013.
They were definitely worth the effort, a very nice Halloween "treat". Try some of these recipes with your own crop, Minto Island.