Like to grow eggplant but not as thrilled with the associated diseases many classic Italian varieties are prone to? Try growing Black Bell eggplants. What is a Black Bell eggplant? Keep reading to learn how to grow the eggplant variety ‘Black Bell’ and other Black Bell eggplant info.
What is a Black Bell Eggplant?
The eggplant variety ‘Black Bell’ is an Italian type of eggplant with the classic oval pear-shape and glossy purple-black skin. The fruit is generally about 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm.) in length. The overall mature plant size is about 3to 4 feet (around a meter) in height and 12 to 16 inches (31-41 cm.) across.
Black Bell is a hybrid eggplant that is pretty much like the heirloom Black Beauty in appearance, taste, and texture although it does produce a bit earlier. What it has that the classic Black Beauty is lacking is better disease resistance.
Black Bell was developed to be resistant to tobacco mosaic virus and tomato mosaic virus, common problems with eggplants and other nightshade plants like peppers and tomatoes.
Growing Black Bell Eggplants
Black Bell eggplant can be planted in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 11. Start seeds inside six to eight weeks before planting outside. Germination should occur within 10 to 14 days.
A week before transplanting outdoors, harden the seedlings off by gradually increasing their time outside. Space the transplants about 24 to 36 inches (61-91 cm.) apart in an area of full sun (at least six hours per day) in fertile, well-draining soil.
Stake the plant early in the season to provide support for the large fruit and keep the plants consistently watered. Fruit should be ready for harvest within 58 to 72 days.