A super fruitful eggplant at the Known-You Farm in Pingtung, Taiwan. The four branches of each plant are trained to develop sidewards.

On December 5-9, 2018, we were invited to the 50th anniversary celebration of Known-You Seed of Taiwan. Known-You is one of the biggest seed companies in that island nation specializing in hybrid vegetables and other high-value crops.

While touring the company’s farm in Pingtung county, we saw the most fruitful eggplants we have ever seen. These come in various sizes, shapes and colors. Although most of them are purple, there are also green and pinkish that are striped.

We learned a very simple technique for inducing the plants to bear a lot more fruits than usual. The technician explained that when the transplanted seedlings have developed six leaves, the growing point is pinched so that new branches will sprout. Usually four branches will come out. As they grow bigger the four branches are trained to develop sidewards instead of growing upwards. This enables the plants to produce more fruits.


Fruitful eggplant with striped pinkish fruits.Enter a caption


Eggplant with green fruits.

In a previous post we wrote about those who believed in good luck plants. They were winners because their belief motivated them to make their dreams come true. Like the young couple from Bulacan we mentioned in our column who were gifted with a couple of Red Palms by their Ninong.

How about people who believe that some fruit trees bring bad luck?. There are people like that and their belief can bring about something tragic.

Just before sitting down to write this piece, Cles Rambaud, the editor of Bannawag Magazine, was telling us how a belief in unlucky trees had deprived members of the family of his older brother the pleasure of eating sweet and nutritious chicos.

The brother had to cut down a chico tree that was already bearing a lot of fruits in front of their house when a visiting fortune teller told him that fruit trees with black seeds like chico are a no-no to plant  in front of the house. Such a tree would bring bad luck to the occupants.

Cles just shook his head while telling us about the incident. Had he known, he would have prevailed upon his brother to refrain from cutting down the fruitful chico tree.

Wellm, come to think about it, the chico tree was unlucky indeed because it was cut down during its prime. And the owner was just as unlucky because his family was deprived of fresh fruits to eat.

UNLUCKY BAYAWAK – In the old days in our town, Circa 1950s, farmers who were also fishermen believed that there are unlucky creatures that you should avoid when you go fishing.

One of them is the “bayawak” or monitor lizard.  One late afternoon, Mang Kulas was on his way to install his “parisris” in the rice fields where dalag and hito thrived then. (Today, however, the fish In the rice fields are all gone because of too much pesticides.}

The “parisris” consists of a bamboo stake with a line and hook. The hook is baited with earthworm which the fish would eat and thus get hooked. The gadget is usually installed in the late afternoon which the farmer would go to check the next morning. Usually, the farmer would catch enough for the family and sometimes for sale.

One day, when Mang Kulas was on his way to install his fishing gadgets, a bayawak crossed his path. Do you know what he did? He returned home because he believed that encountering a monitor lizard on his way to fish was a sure sign he would not catch any fish.

And bad luck it was indeed because his family did not have fish to eat the following day.

Another technique that helps is to remove all the lower leaves so that there will be free flow of air below. After all, the lower leaves are non-functional. This also minimizes the nesting place of harmful insects.

Of course, it is important to prepare the planting beds properly. Organic as well as chemical fertilizer are incorporated in the beds before the plastic mulch is installed to promote faster growth and more fruits. It is also important to maintain adequate moisture in the soil so the roots will be able to take up the nutrients.

Also important is planting the right variety adapted to the growing conditions in the farm as well as the preference of target customers. Different regions or countries have their own preferences. In the Philippines, some love to cook eggplant in their “pinakbet” while others go for grilled talong, tortang talong, baked eggplant and other food preparations.#CROP VARIETIES

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