Pumpkin on a Stick - Hmong Eggplant
Know those long stems of dangling little "pumpkins" that florists have in autumn? Pumpkin-on-a-Stick has been delighting gardeners for decades. In Southeast Asia it's used in stir fries. We grow it for flower arrangements.
This plant looks like no eggplant you've ever seen. It grows three to four feet tall with huge leaves on prickly purple stems, very showy. In fall the 3" fruits turn bright scarlet. Eat them or dry them. Florists strip off the leaves and use the black sticks and bright dangling fruit in floral arrangements. Grow it wherever it can be admired. Half the fun is watching visitors guess what it is.
Eggplant is an annual, easy to grow anywhere. Direct sow when the weather warms up or start seeds early indoors. Plant as you would a tomato, in rich soil, regular water, full sun. The fruits are quite heavy and it will need staking, but the stems are woody and strong. A single plant will yield dozens of "pumpkins". This is an heirloom. Save seeds for more plants and amusement next year.