The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Baby aubergines

Photo: Baby aubergines

Photo: Baby aubergines

I sprang home last Spring with a pack of Chinese legend aubergines, dreaming of a greenhouse full of aubergine plants laden with succulent fruit. By the end of the summer I had not even seen a flower let alone a peep of an aubergine.

Since then I’ve discovered that the seeds need to be sown really early (by January in a heated greenhouse at the latest). So I didn’t bother this year.

About a month ago I was costing a job in Saffron Walden, for my old pal Anna of onion gravy fame. And I popped into the Springwell Nursery to buy some stakes.  Our brassicas need to be protected from greedy gourmet wood pigeon.

I spotted that they were selling off their vegetable plants for £1.25. Small aubergine plants were weighed down with flowers. Aubergines (the fruit of egg plants) are roughly a pound each in the UK. The plant that I bought plant had eight buds. If all went well I could harvest £8.00 worth of aubergines for a fraction of the cost.

With a little nurturing the plant produced another flush of flowers.
“This is the golden goose of aubergine plants.” Danny smiled.

There was just one thing that worried me. The plant was just over a foot high, how could it produce normal sized aubergines (6-8 inches)?

One glorious day a tiny aubergine appeared. We waited and held our breath for it to grow to a reasonable size. It got fatter and paused. Eventually I touched it and it fell into my hand. Half had rotted under the mob cap of leaves. Finally I twigged that a small plant will produce dinky fruit. So a couple of weeks later I harvested these mini fruit. Barely two inches (five centimetres) long.
When I was photographing them Danny appeared.
“No one will know how small they are.” Danny added helpfully.
“If I explain the history and size they will.”

Now I wish that I’d bought three plants. We’d have enough aubergines to make some of Oded Schwartz’s mini preserved vegetables. Meanwhile I’m scratching my brains for a doll’s sized appetiser recipe for tomorrow. Any suggestions would be very welcome indeed.

  Leave a reply


  1. Thank you for all the tips and recipes. I bought a plant a few years ago but it cost £5.00 and it was a mini too so barely broke even. This year am growing from seed in polytunnel. So far a few baby ones but I think the courgette and squash jungle stunted everything and allowed blight too by not allowing air to circulate. I am trying to nurture them. I Like the tip on stingers – will go and get some and soak in a bucket of water – they stink and hubby’s never very impressed but I think it’s a good free liquid feed!

  2. Sandra Malby

    I have just found this website by chance as I too am growing baby aubergines (bought plant, not from seed) for the 1st time this year (Sheffield) I wasn’t sure how big they would grow but looking at the pic I think I might have 2 tonight. Thank you all for the growing advice. I will try growing them from seed next year.

  3. Glennis

    I’ve been buying plantlets of different varieties of aubergines for a few years now, trying to grow them in the greenhouse. While I keep hoping, mostly the flowers go moldy and/or drop off. But one variety works every year, Pingtung Long – long thin lavender coloured. Some are often ready to pick in late July.

    great website – really interesting

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,241,092 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2023 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder