My driveway again will be home to hundreds of growing things in many pots and bags of various sizes. The majority will of course be tomatoes, but there will be no shortage of peppers and eggplant. So here is a little bit of info on the eggplant I chose to grow and my rationale.
These will be my 5 gallon grow bag eggplant:
Early Green Giant - this Johnny's variety (not a hybrid) is really excellent - it is of the classic eggplant shape, but a beautiful light green, with sweet, mild very pale green flesh. It is a favorite for all of our eggplant uses, and I need to save some fresh seed - so there are two good reasons for me to grow it this year.
Listada di Gandia - Along with Zebra (a hybrid), this is to me the most beautiful of eggplant. Also of the classic bulbous shape and growing to quite a large size, it is a striking combination of white with vertical dark lavender stripes, with sweet white flesh. This is another that I need to save seed from.
Louisiana Long Green - I've had this for years, originally obtaining it from Gleckler. I've noted a bit of crossing over the years, as the seedlings can have either the typical pale lavender or nearly white stems. This year I am going to grow out the pale green stemmed version. The fruit from both types seem the same - moderately long and slender, with pale green skin and very pale green flesh.
New York Spineless Improved - A real oldie but goodie, this is what most people think of when they picture eggplant - dark, glossy black purple skin, very pale green flesh, and a perfect size for eggplant parmesan slices. I consider this one of the best eggplant to grow for all purposes.
Ping Tung Long - I've not grown this in some years, and need fresh seed. This is the classic long, slender lavender Asian eggplant that is perfect for grilling and very, very productive.
Prosperosa - Very similar to Italian Pink Bicolor, Violette di Firenze and Rosa Bianca, this is a very old, large, nearly round eggplant with skin of varying shades of purple. I got my start years ago from Tomato Growers Supply Company, and suspect it is an old Italian heirloom.
Ripples - This is a non-hybrid variety that I developed out of Zebra hybrid and appears to be stable. It is nearly a Listada di Gandia lookalike in its purple stripes over white background, but is not as fat - yet not as slender as the Asian types. I like to grow the varieties I've developed to see how I did with my selection and stability - it is a really nice eggplant.
A trio of varieties I developed working with Orient Express F1 - Midnight Lightning, Twilight Lightning and Skinny Twilight. All are of the long, Asian eggplant shape, with Skinny Twilight the most slender, and Midnight Lightning the most darkly colored - nearly black. The other two are more of a dark lavender.
Snow Globe - this is a nice, nearly round white skinned variety I developed from Cloud 9 hybrid. I've not grown it in some time and need to do a confirmation on my selection, as well as save some fresh seed.
The following four are rare eggplant sent to me by my friend, Jeff - I think he may have gotten them in seed swaps, or via Baker Creek. They are Indonesian Pink Blush, Bianca di Imola, Thai White Ribbed and Lao White. I've not grown any of the four in years, and am badly in need of fresh seed. Indonesian Pink Blush looks a bit like Rosita - semi-fat/ semi long, with a deep pink/lavender skin. The other three have white colored skin; Bianca di Imola a semi-slender, semi-bulbous type, Lao White not quite so large and nearly round, and Thai White Ribbed very unusual indeed - more of a flat, lobed tomato shape. I will be sure to take pics of them once there is something good to see.
Now for some of my eggplant experimental work - grow outs of unexpected stem colors of seedlings that indicate crosses, or continuation of stabilization work. I am going to grow these in 2 gallon grow bags, as I am more interested in seeing a flower/ripe fruit and collecting seed than maximizing yields and using for cooking. The first of these is a selection from the popular variety Neon hybrid - my seed saving wasn't very effective (I have two selections, and one didn't germinate at all - this is the lone seedling from the other) - my efforts are toward a non-hybrid version of Neon. Then there will be up to a dozen all from a purple fruited seedling that came from some saved Casper seed - clearly a cross. Last year I grew out 5 of them and had an array of colors - four of them varying shades of purple with a dark purple or green calyx. The most unusual was a nearly white eggplant with a green blush and some pink as well. From looking at saved seed from all 5 of these, it is clear that continued segregation is occurring - so I will plant up to four seedlings of each based upon the color of the young seedling stem (which ranges from nearly white to distinctly purple and lots of shades in between!). I actually find this sort of thing quite fun and interesting.
So that's the eggplant story - wait until I get into the complexity of my sweet and hot pepper excursions of the coming season!