This is the latest in a series of posts that I’ve done about my favorite varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs we grow at Happy Acres. To see my other Spotlights, and those from other garden bloggers, visit the Variety Spotlights page.
Today’s spotlight is on a variety I’m growing for the first time, Patio Baby Eggplant. Patio Baby is a 2014 All-America Selections Regional Winner (Northeast) with deep purple, egg-shaped fruits that are 2-3 inches long and mature in about 50 days from setting out. The F1 hybrid plants themselves are compact, topping out at 24 inches tall. Johnny’s Selected Seeds calls Patio Baby ‘the best container variety’ and based on my experiences so far I can’t disagree!
Patio Baby is a true ‘mini’ eggplant, with fruits that are perfectly shaped at every stage of growth. It’s highly productive too, with up to 50 fruits per plant. I’ve gotten about 20 from my one plant already, and it is still blooming and setting on more fruits.
The fruits grow in clusters of two or three fruits. The leaves and calyxes are also thornless, which is a plus when it comes to harvesting.
I’m growing Patio Baby in a container that’s 14 inches across and 12 inches deep. So far the plant has stayed upright and hasn’t needed staking. At planting time I added a bit of compost and some Happy Frog Tomato and Vegetable Fertilizer (7-4-5) to the potting soil. In the below photo I’ve got Patio Baby next to one of my other favorite eggplants, Fairy Tale, which is a 2005 AAS Winner. Both do quite well in containers, and next year I will try Patio Baby for an in-ground planting as well, since Fairy Tale grows well that way too.
In the kitchen, Patio Baby has mild tasting flesh that has few seeds when harvested young, and a tender skin that doesn’t need peeling. I have enjoyed it stir-fried and grilled, and imagine it will be tasty when roasted in the oven. For grilling, I slice them in half and brush with a little olive oil before placing them on a hot grill pan. The pan helps keep the small eggplants from falling through the grill, and they are done in a matter of minutes.
I hope you have enjoyed this spotlight on my new favorite variety of eggplant. Seeds for Patio Baby are widely available from a number of sources in the U.S. I’ll be back soon with another variety.
To see my other Variety Spotlights, visit the Variety Spotlights page.