How to grow Fruit Bearing Vegetables
We call these plants fruit bearing vegetables because they really are like fruit with their seeds encased in a fleshy pulp which we eat. It is important to remember that these plants are not frost resistant and therefore must be protected from frost until the weather warms up. They all need rich moist soil and lots of sunshine to grow, and they are all rich in vitamin C.
Probably the most popular vegetable to grow, tomatoes are a must for any home grower and provide an excellent example of the difference between home-grown and store-bought vegetables. (I had to buy my first packet of tomatoes from the shops in 9 months this week as it is the middle of winter here and nothing can survive our frost season, and I was horrified at how tasteless, dry and lacking in life they were.)
Tomatoes come in many varieties, including big round ones, plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, yellow tomatoes and salad tomatoes so plant the varieties that your household enjoys. Tomato plants require a well manured soil rich in plant nutrients and lots of sun.
Seeds should be planted in seed trays in a green house in mid spring. Transplant them out at the beginning of summer about 60 cm apart. Plant each seedling against a long stick of about 1,2m high to support it as it grows and to hold it upright when it is full of fruit. It also helps to keep the fruit off the ground maintaining the quality of the fruit. Remove side branches when the plant has been secured in order to encourage the plant to increase the size of the fruit and not continue to grow lateral branches.
Harvest the fruits as soon as they ripen by gently twisting them off the stem. The flavour and nutrient content of the fruit is best if it is allowed to ripen on the plant.
Watering just the base of the plant by the roots can help to keep the leaves dry and free from diseases which breed on moist leaves.
Aubergine/ Brinjal or Egg Plant
The Brinjal is a delicate plant that likes warm climates and needs to be protected from frost and cold. It also enjoys nutrient rich soils and lots of sunlight.
Raise the plants in a greenhouse until planting out in early summer. Plant them outside 60cm apart when they are 10-12 cm high. Stake each plant firmly and tie the main stem to the stake.
You could get between 5-10 fruits per plant. Gently cut the ripe fruit off the plant when they are 7-10 cm in diameter and while they still have their shine. Handle the harvested fruit carefully as they bruise easily.
Once again there are many different types of peppers, your green, red and yellow peppers and then your hot chilli peppers. Peppers are warm weather vegetables which produce a lot of fruit per plant.
Sow your seeds in seed trays in a greenhouse in mid spring and plant outside in late spring 60 cm apart. You can also tie them to a stick to secure them and keep them upright when they are heavy with fruit.
Harvest your fruit once they are the desired size. Red peppers are actually green peppers which have just remained on the plant and matured acquiring a more spicy flavour so if you want red peppers just don’t harvest your green peppers till they turn red.
Hot chilli pepper plants grow many fruit from one plant so you will only need a plant or two to take care of your whole households’ chilli requirements. Unlike other vegetables, peppers and chillies are generally not affected by pests as they don’t like their strong taste. Chillies are one of the main ingredients in organic pesticide.