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General information and discussion about cultivating eggplants/aubergines.

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Old June 18, 2020   #1
TomNJ's Avatar
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Floyd VA
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Default Eggplant and row covers

After suffering extensive flea beetle damage to my eggplant in previous years I am growing them under a row cover this year. So far so good, but I don't know if I need to remove the row cover for pollination.

I have read that eggplant are self pollinating like tomatoes, but I have also read that row covers should be removed when flowering starts in order to facilitate pollinating insects. This seems to be a contradiction. Mine are beginning to flower now but I am afraid to remove the row cover out of fear of a flea beetle attack.

I understand flea beetles are an "early" spring pest. So when is the threat of flea beetles over? Is it essential to remove the row cover for pollination or can it be left on for the entire growing season?
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Old June 19, 2020   #2
Join Date: Jun 2010
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I think they are more an early threat than an early pest. I put autumn cauliflower in July and out of nowhere it was full of flea beetles (they love them a whole lot more than eggplant or anything really).
I would guess keep the cover for now and see if the fruit forms. They are self pollinating.
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Old June 19, 2020   #3
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I'm more afraid of the potato beetle. Because of her, I didn't grow eggplants for more than ten years. This year is a new premiere after a long time.So far, I had eggplants under glass, I removed the cover yesterday.
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Old June 19, 2020   #4
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I don't think flea beetles ever go away! However there seems to be less of them this year (at least so far). I don't know whether a wet spring had anything to do with it or maybe some early preventative spraying helped. I put some permethrin on all empty beds early in the season. You could see them scurrying! A month or two later I reapplied and so far there aren't many.

The only things that have hit the eggplant so far have been a few Japanese beetles lacing up the leaves. But the eggplant is with the tomatoes up by the house, not in the garden so that might have helped too.
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