Dutch organic specialist Nature & More has introduced the International Organic Aubergine Weeks, to take place from 24 June until 11 July, as a way of promoting the versatile vegetable.
“Although cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers are the major greenhouse crops, in organic agriculture the aubergine is probably the most important of them all,” the company stated.
Nature & More, the trace and tell trademark of Eosta, highlighted the importance of its producers’ growing practices, including crop rotation.
“In order to keep the soil healthy, organic growers like Frank de Koning alternate tomato with aubergine cultivation,” the company revealed, thereby enhancing the soil’s fertility.
“If you grow tomatoes in the same spot, microscopic nematodes that eat plant roots will become a pest,” said de Konig. “Our aubergines, however, have roots that repel nematodes. So if we alternate tomato with aubergine cultivation, the nematodes will vanish."
De Konig cultivates two varieties, the common purple aubergine and the striped ‘graffiti’ variety.
"The plant is resistant to the destructive Verticillium mould that blocks the vascular bundles of most other plants,” he added. “The intelligent aubergine forms a natural bypass around the blockage and continues to produce high quality fruit. And last but not least the aubergine plant is a big favourite for friendly insects like the 14-spotted ladybird which helps me keep the population of lice under control. For me, I cannot grow organic tomatoes without these amazing aubergines.”