It's Day 40. I've had to raise the hood twice since my last update. I'm seeing buds on both, but I think it's going to be a while before the eggplant is ready to be pollinated. Though some of the pepper buds are getting close...
I hate to say it, but my only success with eggplants was in a 5-gallon bucket. I used a 6-inch net pot and clay balls. The one plant was 3-feet wide and 3-feet tall. The leaves were huge. I believe they were the same variety you are growing.
I'm raising the hood at least every other day for the eggplant. This is nuts. But today, the first flower opened wide enough to pollinate! The pepper is flowering as well and one flower dropped to reveal the very first pepper forming. It's now day 46:
Beautiful plants and lovely flowers. Do you guys shake/vibrate to pollinate or individually daub each flower with a q-tip, etc? I've never had to self-pollinate, so to speak. Even in my greenhouse I must have had buckets o'bees, because every summer my two each of tomatoes, peppers and cukes would produce enough food for the whole neighborhood.
I have two Braun electric toothbrushes, with a high and low speed selection, and tons of new replacement brushes. Perhaps I could try that to start. I see a lot of videos where they're used and they swear by this method.
Do you guys shake/vibrate to pollinate or individually daub each flower with a q-tip, etc?
For the tomatoes, I've been brushing the opening of each flower with my fingers. I've found this to be incredibly effective, though at this point I might have more tomatoes than the little plants can support!
For the peppers, the flowers that are opening are right against the main stem, and I can't easily hold the branches out of the way without breaking them, so I have a paintbrush for the eggplant and a paintbrush for the peppers that I use to pollinate those.