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Eggplant is best known for being in Eggplant parmesan but it is also commonly used as a replacement for meat in vegetarian dishes. There is more variety in color than is typically known. Most commonly known is the glossy, large, pear-shaped purple eggplant Black Beauty. There is also a more cylindrical longer and white variety Gretel Hybrid. Then there is the in between variety that is more pear shaped but smaller with purple and white stripes. A good example of the inbetween is the Fairy Tale Hybrid. Like tomatoes and peppers, eggplants like it hot. In colder climates it is important to start the seeds inside in a sprouting tray 8-10 weeks before the last frost date. Because they are heat lovers it is best to start eggplant seeds with bottom heat with a seedling warmer and keep the ambient heat around 70 degrees. Once they sprout they will probably need additional artificial lighting to assure that the seedlings are bushy. Plant them outside after the risk of frost has past. In order to prepare the seedlings to the outside elements place them outside in ever increasing increments over the course of a week. Eggplants are heavy feeders so it’s a good idea to amend the soil with compost before planting. It is also a good idea to mulch around the plant to retain moisture.