The best okra variety you've grown?

anney(Georgia 8)January 30, 2008

One last seed packet to get, and that's okra. I'm considering growing Clemson Spineless because I grew it years ago and loved it. It's reliable, highly recommended, and I can save the seeds! But that's the only one I've ever grown.

If you've grown it and other okra varieties, how did they compare? Production, plant size, pod size and texture, taste? You know, what we'd all want to know.

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Personally, my favorite is Stewart's Zeebest. It has long slender pods. Sometimes they are still tender at over 8". The plants branch more than Clemson Spineless. This is an heirloom from LA. There is a thread from 2006, with pictures. But I haven't been able to find it lately. Am very grateful for those working on this problem.

Anyway, the seed is now available through Southern Exposure, if I recall correctly.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 12:33PM
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anney(Georgia 8)


Thanks. I found it at Baker's Heirloom Seeds and may order it since you say it stays tender when it's relatively long.

I suspect the link below is the one you meant.

I worked outside today but didn't stay long -- it was just too cold, though I did get some more soil in one of the raised beds and set up an 8-foot trellis before coming back in. Ice was still on the overnight rainwater in the wheelbarrow and some damp soil in a bucket I'd left out had a solid-frozen center!

I was going to plant peas and lettuce but decided the weather is just a little too uncertain for the peas even if not for the lettuce. I'll give it another week and see if this cold spell breaks. It's supposed to get even colder tonight.

But we're certainly glad for the rain to ease the drought some.

It's a different kind of story when it comes to okra with its love of hot weather!

Here is a link that might be useful: This is probably the link you meant.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 2:15PM
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Yes Anney,

I'm sure that's the link. I'm away from home, in Mexico, for couple of weeks and don't get to the Internet that often, couldn't remember, and didn't want to take time to do a search. That's probably the only company carrying the seed at this time.

I received my seed, in a National Gardening Assoc. seed swap, back in the mid 90's, from someone in LA. Unfortunately I lost their name and contact info.

Here's a picture of Stewart's Zeebest.

Never mind. I put in a link since GW doesn't seem to be doing pictures anymore.


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 4:58PM
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--GW doesn't seem to be doing pictures anymore.--

Sorry to hear that. I loved the pictures. Will miss them greatly.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 9:23PM
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That looks quite a bit like that I grow. I like it because it remains tender at a larger size also. The first year that I grew it, I thought that it was perhaps a bit more bland than the others like Clemson Spineless etc. that I had grown before, but that grown from seed that I saved in the following years taste very good. I don't believe that it causes you to itch when gathering it as much as most of the other ones do, either, but that may just be my imagination.

It does not take much okra seed to go a long way, it is a very productive plant.
Bill P.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 10:42PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Emerald grew very well for me here in Massachusetts. The pods look similar to those of Stewart's Zeebest and White Velvet. Also, the pods were tender at large sizes like those varieties.

Cow Horn did not produce well for me. Maybe it does better in the South.

My neighbors did well with Clemson Spineless.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 11:45PM
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I second Emerald. It has been the best performer for me, but I do like the velvet types better than the ridged types. White Velvet and Green Velvet also do well. Cowhorn produces well, but I don't like the texture as well as the velvets. Have tried hybrids like Cajun Delight,Annie Oakley, and Blondie but not found any advantage in growing them. Blondie is extremely early and performed in southwest Virginia, where it was too cool for most okra. Oddest one I have grown is Beck's Big Buckhorn, which is more of a novelty, than a food okra. Great ornamental and edible. Clemson Spineless grows well here, but it gets tough quick. Not my favorite by any means. Ditto for Burgundy.

Here is a link that might be useful: emerald

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 11:08AM
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john90808(z10 So Cal)

I am also looking for another variety of okra to grow this summer. Has anyone ever grown Silver Queen? I saw this in a seed catalog and it was described as being "well branched with unique white/green pods."

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 11:45AM
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I was also looking at Okra varieties the other day. I am very surprised about how many there are! At Cornell University's site there are several pages listed! I think Clemson is one of the "staple" okras available but the information that I got from reading the descriptions of some of the others makes me think that I need to be growing a variety other than Clemson.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 12:01PM
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I've never heard of Zee Best variety of okra until today... I am currently working with my State Ag. University on seed increase of a variety that I've developed over the past several years. I call it "HEAVY HITTER" From what I've seen in photos of Zee Best okra, my new variety has it beat hands down. HEAVY HITTER produces over 50 branches and dozens of tender okra pods in succession, between 200-300 pods per plant, per season. It's won first place in every competition we've entered.

I don't know how to post photos or else I would.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 3:23PM
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It sounds like a great okra variety. I would love to buy some seeds if you have any for sale. I live in Georgia and okra is one of our most popular veggies. Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 4:20PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Don't know if you'll get an answer two years after that last post. But if you google heavy hitter okra, you'll find where this guy is selling it. His email is in this post ill link to. I can't vouch for it, but it sounds intriguing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Heavy hitter okra

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 7:27PM
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Heavy Hitter okra is the absolute best variety of okra I've ever grown! I sell about a half-ton or so of okra per market season, so I know when something good comes along! I've gotten as much as 1,100 pounds of Heavy Hitter okra from just 4 rows, double planted, 150' feet long. Heavy Hitter was developed from the (Abelmoschus esculentus) variety Introduced by Clemson University; AAS winner in 1939. Still the most popular open-pollinated variety on the market. Because of this, Heavy Hitter has all the best traits of its Clemson cousin, but has been selected and bred for heavy production. Heavy Hitter has an open habit with multiple branches producing many crowns of okra pods per plant. Because it is of the Clemson Spineless family, it is a Farmers' Market favorite! Heavy Hitter is only 56 days to maturity! Making it one of the 1st okra varieties to hit the farmers' market each Summer. This early arrival means Heavy Hitter fetches high prices at market, sometimes beating other varieties by two weeks! To top it off, Heavy Hitter is not a quitter. It produces ludicrous amounts of okra right up until frost. It is not uncommon in zones 6 and 7 to plant Heavy Hitter in mid April, and harvest tender 4' inch pods from mid-June until mid-October. !!! HEAVY HITTER IS A MARKET FAVORITE !!! With Heavy Hitter you'll pick a winner every time!

Here is a link that might be useful: Green Country Seed Savers

This post was edited by irfourteenmilecreek on Mon, Dec 29, 14 at 13:47

    Bookmark   December 29, 2014 at 12:51PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

irfourteenmilecreek, where can I get seeds?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2014 at 2:02PM
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This guy pops in every few months for years to bump up old okra threads to market his okra.

Can we get something other than some advertising?

Maybe pass out some seed...

    Bookmark   December 29, 2014 at 3:16PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Thanks nc-crn ! :)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2014 at 5:27PM
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Too much sales talk for me. Has the sound of a used car guy.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2015 at 5:34PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

After reading about the Heavy Hitter, I started paying more attention to my okra last year.

I have been saving the seed for a long, long time, Clemson spineless.

I noticed that I had some that had a lot more branches. I had noticed it before, but I didn't give it much thought.

After thinking a little, I remembered, that over the years they had gone from basically one stalk plants to branching. They have never had branches as close to the ground as the HH though.

When I saved the seed last year I kept the ones with extra branches separate and labeled them.

I plan to plant them in a separate spot this spring and see if there is a difference.

Who knows? I may have accidentally developed my own???? LOL

    Bookmark   January 5, 2015 at 1:16PM
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Ive only grown ONE kind of okra, it was Alabama Red, from Baker Creek. The pods were big and fat, much larger than the normal green kind, at least twice as big around and slightly longer.

The plants grew very tall, over 7 feet, and had spines. They were very red and I had them growing in a semi ornamental fashion, and they did look quite good. I was not terribly impressed with the out put, they grew UP and were not very branched. I had four plants and they barely kept me happy, and I was just starting to like okra.

Tastewise they were quite good, a think maybe slightly less slimy than the smaller greenies, and slightly more fibrous. But delicious. I would definitely plant them again, but more of them to get a better crop.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2015 at 8:23PM
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