I had been wondering until just a few days ago whether or not the late eggplants I had started were going to flower and fruit at all. Now, following the first really cool, though frostless here, night of the season, I'm wondering just how long the frost will hold off -- and how long these little guys will hold on.
I knew it was late, and probably way late, when I started them after the deer took the first planting. But foolishly or at least giddily I did so anyway, knowing full well how much eggplant dislike chilly weather, much less frost, but curious as to how close I could cut it and still get fruit of enough size to use in the kitchen.
Too close is clearly looking like the answer to that question, though I haven't completely given up hope. The next few nights, perhaps even the next whole week's worth, will be warmer than last night, when we got down into the mid-forties.Days will continue to be fine.
While the upcoming warmer nights may still be cool enough to stunt or even stop the eggplants' growth, they may also be warm enough to spare the plants, and give me time to devise an experiment in protection. Time for a cloche!
I have never built a cloche, nor am I likely to get one of any sophistication built this year.
But sophistication isn't what's needed for these little guys. I have a couple of improvisational ideas that I'll be trying, and I'll be using the next few days, with their warmer nights, to get them put together and ready for the inevitable temperature drops these creatures of summer days and nights so abhor.
Have any of you built cloches, or improvised them for eggplant — or anything else?