Start with the equivalent of a 5-gallon bucket for each seedling. Terra-cotta pots or cedar planters work well—just make sure they have drainage holes. Fill containers with a rich blend of equal parts organic potting soil and compost. Buy transplants from a garden center or, if time allows, experiment with unusual varieties by starting from seed (try Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds).
Place your containers in full sun, and water them whenever the soil surface feels dry (and check out these tips on how to grow the most flavorful eggplant). To harvest, use pruning shears.
By the time fruits lose their gloss, they are seedy and bitter. Slightly immature fruits have the best flavor and texture.