I dried out some okra seeds and just scattered them in containers of cow manure dirt and in like 24 hours they sprouted and are really taking off. Anyone ever grow these?
Okra is a staple in the south...you can't have a garden unless you grow okra...I don't even eat it often because the only way I like it is fried and truthfully...fried is the last thing I need...I grow it because one of my neighbors loves it and it's a nice way to repay kindness's they do for me.
Depending on how big your containers are, you may want to thin them a bit. Okra plants can get really tall, I grew a dwarf variety last year and plants still went over 5 feet. Okra flowers are very pretty, and when the pods come, don't let them get over 2-3 inches. Keep them harvested and more will grow.
okra grows in just about any environment. my stalks were over 5 inches ACROSS at the base last year! i had to use a machete to cut them down.
how big you let the size of the pod get before you harvest depends on the type okra you have. some the pods MUST be small, others can be several inches long and still soft. we usually harvest ours every other day, otherwise we get too many big hard ones. i usually plant about 50 row ft of okra, and fill a 5 gallon bucket every other day all thru summer.
Ruthie: My goodness, there are tons of great ways to make okra. Instead of frying, I mix with cornmeal and then spray with pam and oven "bake" them. Broil the last few minutes until a little crispy.
I put it in soups ALOT and now in stir fries and casseroles. If you saute it first, you can get rid of the gummy stuff and put it in most stir fries and casseroles and no one will be the wiser.
I can't grow/eat enough okra!
Tomatoes + okra + almost any mix of veggies cooked a bit gets you a mildly-thick soupy veggie mix you can eat with a fork without even a shred of "slime" or weird taste.
It's a great thickener used in the right context.
I still can't get with the "cut it up and boil it" thing. That's just too much slime for me without a vehicle to add flavor to the slime.
Okay, this one is really passive and you can pretty much make any change you want and adjust to your personal flavor...
Okra, tomatoes, onion, pepper fruits, blackeye peas (or any cowpeas canned or cooked), little bit of sweet corn, and some black eye peas...
Mix, heat, stir occasionally...eat.
It's a very vivid mix of colors, imo.
I like to start with a couple slices of bacon fried and then removed from the pan to be cut in small pieces and added back at the end. In the same pan, saute half an onion, then add the sliced okra and cook for a few minutes, then add tomatos (either fresh or canned). Add the bacon back in. Serve with a big slice of cornbread.
Wow 5ft, I had no idea! Once they start to get a bit bigger I will thin them out as I have way too many in there now if they are going to get that big. I have lots of neighbors so can give away any excess ones. Sounds like tomato is a key ingredient to cooking with them. Of course fried is best but not healthy. I've started doing that pam and oven baking myself lately, that's a good way to cook them maybe.
i am going to try okra growing for the first time,,,i have been holding off on starting them, we are having a record setting cold spring here (pacific coast canada)and i know they like warm weather,,should i start them the same as i would tomatoes, as in individual pots in unheated greenhouse with bottom heat? has anyone tried Cajun Delight variety? thanks for any tips
I grow Stewart's Zeebest, a Louisiana heirloom. This one grows pretty bushy, which is nice, since some okras just grow UP like a stick. Pods can get to a foot long or even a little longer. But generally they aren't tender past 8". When the weather is extra hot and dry they can get tough past 5".
Hey, we like to sautÃ© our okra in olive oil. We don't bread it at all. It's great! Also (and my wife thinks I'm a little over the edge on this) I like to pop tender pods into my mouth and eat them raw when I'm out in the garden.
Here's a picture of Stewart's Zeebest:
Just be sure to space them when planting. 6" apart does not cut it. They need at least a foot to do well and 2 foot doesn't hurt.
I have not grown okra before but want to give it a try. I purchased a dwarf variety seed as I'm container gardening.
Would you start the seed in seedling trays and pot up after true leaves develop or just sow directly into potting mix in 4" pots?
Don't forget that the soil must be VERY warm when you sow okra. Optimal germination occurs when the soil is 95 degrees! The optimum range for soil germination is 75 to 95 degrees. Once germinated, the plants themselves will grow in a slightly cooler soil temp.
Since I'm aiming for only eight plants, I've just started mine inside under lights and with heat. That's the only way I can provide the warmth they need unless I wait and direct-sow them in late June or July!
Here is a link that might be useful: Vegetable Germination Temperatures
I'm in Florida and while I'm really in Zone 9 my microclimate would actually be closer to 10b...I never get frost. Daytime temps already approaching 90, night temps 68-72. I can put the cukes, zukes and pole bean seeds right into my 7 gallon containers, the peppers and maters I start in seedling trays and pot up to 4" pots when they go outside, then into containers. Temperature not being a factor, I still have the starting option of seedling trays and grow lights inside, 4" pots inside or outside, or right into the 7 gallon containers outside. Having not grown okra before I'm wondering what would be the best route to start with.
True, wait for warm soil, then direct sow. Here in Z7b I planted them out after two weeks of hot weather in late May for my first year's experiment. I had 8' tall plants and after I ate, pickled, gave away, and sold as many as I wanted to harvest I whacked off the tops thinking to do them in. HAH! They all branched out and produced even more pods! This year I will be lopping their heads off very much earlier to make picking them easier. The more you pick the more they will branch and produce. If you are allergic to the little hairs on the pods and leaves, wear long sleeves and always wear gloves, or use rubber gloves like those for washing dishes. The plants will produce up to first freeze which is in November here. I will plant fewer than the 50 I grew last year, for sure! Measuring in August, the pods each grew 1" overnight so picking had to be done daily and I got really tired of it. However, my stash of pickled okra will last until the harvest this year.
Has anyone grown Alabama Red Okra? I got the seed from Bakers Creek. I thought it would be a neat change. I also grow Clemson Spineless. It has been very successful for me.
About the hairs, Am I the only one who they don't bother. I have grown others non spineless and I have never had any problems. I usually am picking them in shorts and tshirts, no long sleves here!
Jay, sorry to step over your post but I need to ask Nancy a question.
Nancy, part of the reason for my trying okra this year is that I LOVE pickled okra. Tell me how to make it, please!
Lots of recipes out there - mostly the same. They are easy and fast to make but please let them sit for several weeks before eating as the flavor will be much better. After opening be sure to refrigerate. I think they crisp up a little when cold too. You can use Pickle Crisp for more crispness, I'm told, but I like the chewy and not quite crunchy ones I make.
This recipe is from a respected GW member (Linda Lou) with a great deal of canning knowledge. Check out the Harvest Forum for more info and use the Search field there for specifics of canning. I leave out some of the dried hot pepper in one batch for my taste and add more for my husband's taste in another batch. I line up the okra so they are all the same length and so that they will fit in the jars, don't try to trim them to fit and don't use any that are too small - they float. Leave about 1/4" to 1/2" of stem on. Don't pack too tightly as they swell when heated and may break your jars.
Here is a link that might be useful: GW's LindaLou's Pickled Okra
davidandkasie said okra grows in any environment. This is not true. Okra will grow anywhere but it must be HOT. The hotter the better. Nighttime temperatures must not be below 60 farenheit. Also, it should be a well-drained area. Other than that okra can handle drought or tropical amounts of rain and any kind of soil. As a matter of fact, one gardenwebber said he found that okra prefers POOR soil.
Well I am also trying okra for the first time this season - a variety called Dwarf Green. I have about a dozen small plants waiting in the coldframe until it gets hot enough here in 6b. I fear I am not far enough south for it to do well, though, but I love these experiments.
Okra can also be dried and used as a thickener. Cut the okra in VERY thin slices and dry in a dehydrator or in the sun in a south facing window on aluminum foil. Dry it well and then place in a freezer bag in the freezer. Use to thicken soups and stuff without having the slime.
Yeah, St Pete is right across the bay but probably does stay warmer there on the island.
Mine are coming along fine. I thinned them out and stuck those ones in the ground and even they came back, though they are smaller than the original ones. I need to put them in 5 gallon buckets and get them out in the direct sun. They only get partial sun where they are right now.
I'm growing 1 Clemson Spinless plant in Gonfishin's memory. Come September, when I harvest that one and only pod, I'm sure he'll get another good laugh!
I grow Cowhorn okra. And, I'm in sync with Ruthie - I really only like it fried. However, other members of my family enjoy it cooked other ways.
I was looking at the Cornell web site to see the okra recommendations. The feedback looks to be a bit lean. So the "okra fans" who are also members of this site may want to put in their two-bits-worth.
Here is a link that might be useful: Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners - Okra
I'm in southern Wisconsin on top of a hill facing southwest and I grow okra. I like it fresh right in the garden, like green beans.
First I grew Clemson Spineless. It set lots of pods but they grew from closed flower (very pretty, like hibiscus) to 4" - 5" woody pod in less than a week and it was hard to keep up with them.
So last year I grew Stewarts Zeebest from George (Thanks George!) This is a very slow to mature variety compared to CS. It seemed less slimy, more veggie than CS too. I think the slime is mostly in the immature white seeds. SZ sets long, smooth green pods with few seeds and stays tender for what seemed like weeks on the plant. I wondered if it was a cowhorn variety.
George, the slow to mature aspect of SZ may have contributed to the problem with germination. I think seed pods have to be left on the plant till the pod dries up and turns grey. I did that and so far got germination of 11 seeds out of 16 in just a few days.
I germinate them by soaking them in a cup of water on top of the water heater overnight, then pour off the excess water and leave a bit of soaked paper towel on top so they don't dry out completely, and put back on top of the water heater. When the shoot emerges, I put into cells and put out in the sun.
Yes, two years ago I believe that I didn't let the pods on my Stewarts Zeebest Okra mature enough. I picked and picked and.. . oops! noticed that it was getting late and I needed to save seed. Last year I planted two patches of it. One was designated for seed.
Happyday, I'd very pleased to hear that this variety did well for you in WI. That's really something, a far cry from its native Louisiana! Here in Oklahoma, with our extreme July & August heat, Stewarts Zeebest sometimes toughens up in just a couple of days on the plant. It seems related to stress. When it's not stressed the pods can be tender until over 10" long. I have friends who plant cowhorn okra. That variety has much thicker pods and not as bushy growth habit.
I should be planting tomorrow. We have had a long, wet, cool spring and in the last couple of weeks I can see that the heat is on!
Update: the last 5 SZ seeds were not germinating so I poured out the water and poured in hydrogen peroxide and let them soak. 4 of 5 sprouted in just hours! The one remaining holdout is smaller than the others, maybe not a complete seed. Much better than last year! :D I also took the seedling flat in out of the sun and left it on the water heater overnight, and in a north facing window during the day. After days of inactivity, they are jumping up out of their shells after just two nights of this. So, bottom heat is definitely a factor in getting them started, even more important than full sun.
George, I was pleased too with the SZ. I like that it is more veggie than slime, and that it stayed tender for such a long time. They only got to be about 3.5 to 4 feet tall before freeze up, though. (I want to move south!!!)
I presprouted my okra by putting it on a wet paper towel in a baggie and placing it on top of the refrigerator. It was the fastest sprouting ever (1-2 days) and after planting the sprouted seeds outside I had the best stand of okra ever. Now if the &^%@@#! bunnies would just leave my tender plants alone!.
Sounds like we have a lot of okra lovers here. Didn't know that stress would make them tough sooner. I always planted Texas (Louisiana) long horn (hook) a old variety from way back and would pick three days after the blooms fell off. My plants would get over 8' tall but I let them grow through each other and never had a problem with production. It has such a great flavor I never have tried anyother. The worse problem was fire ant and a good soaking with a soapy water solution seems to do wonders for those ants. I like the looks of the SZB sure would cut down on the space needed to grow them, do they produce well?
Yes, Stewarts Zeebest produces well. Like you, Wally, I have simply stuck with it because I have been so well pleased. In the past I've grown Clemson Spineless and Emerald. But back in the mid 90's a member of National Gardening Society (formerly, Gardens for All) swapped with me and sent me this seed. We were living in Mexico, in a region where okra didn't do very well. I planted it, and only got back very little seed. Then, in 2002, being back in my native NJ, I planted it again. It did great. But it REALLY likes our Oklahoma heat.
You can grow okra without any problems. I have grown it for the last couple of years for a nieghbor and it grows just fine, wind up having plenty to give away, but will try the pickled okra recipe this year.
Okra is one of my favorite crops. Not only because I love to eat it (and I also eat it raw, right in the garden) but because it has GORGEOUS flowers. It is also pretty low maintenance. After struggling with tomato vines, squash vines, watermelon vines, cucumber vines, I find okra such a nice, tidy plant. Yes it grows tall, but it doesn't grow all over the place or require staking like tomatoes. I love growing okra!
A sure fire way I've found for getting okra to germinate is:
When your garden soil is quite warm (here it is mid-May or early June) soak the seeds in plain bleach for exactly 5 minutes - no more than that. Rinse and pat with paper towels several times. Smell them and when you can't smell the bleach you have rinsed them enough. Let them dry for awhile, like an hour or so, then sow, watering in well. They should germinate the next day. I think the bleach softens the seed coating. Don't use the scented bleach they have out now, it does not work.
I've grown Annie Oakley hybrid, Emerald, and Clemson Spineless. They all look and taste the same to me.
Newbie home gardener here. I don't want to overplant my okra (like I did my summer squash - 25 seeds in packet? 25 seeds in the ground! Oy! Who knew I should only plant 1 seed per household member; anyone want squash?) so I am hoping you guys can help. For 2 families of 5, 10 people overall, how many plants should I put in? I've got Clemson Spineless.
Ruth, so much depends on how much your families like to eat okra. For some, five plants might do it. Given how my family loves to eat it frequently, and in quantity, I'd put in at least 25 plants. We have had four at home and I probably have forty plants each summer.
George, Thanks so much! I think I will shoot for the diff. Say 12-15 plants. It would be great to know how much yield you get per plant over a given period like a week. I am probably only going to be cooking about 2 lbs at a time perhaps once a week and giving the rest to my neighbor (we share gardens - I was over there this morning trying to hand fertilize her eggplant) and friends.
Very tasty Okra recipe can be found in this site.
Hey George, my Stewarts Zeebest are about 3 inches tall and I am about to plant them out. How far apart should I space them?
They will have about 3.5 months to go, maybe 4 before the frost comes. Last year I put them about a foot apart in a block, this year I have a long row. If I space them farther apart will they grow taller, do you think? What is the optimum spacing?
This message made me go buy okra seeds yesterday. Clemson spineless was the only kind I found. I have had them soaking in water in a plastic baggie on top of the fridge since yesterday and plan to plant them today. Should I wait till they sprout to plant them or just plant them?
After you've grown it one year you'll have a much better feel for how many plants to grow. Also, the variety makes a difference. Some are more prolific than others.
I plant mine about a foot apart in rows about 4' apart. But the truth is, if the plants were 2' apart, they'd fill in the space VERY well.
Here's a picture of how this variety branches, though you've seen it in last year's garden.
Other varieties have very different growth habits. I've seen cowhorn okra reach something like 14' tall with very little branching. The okra most folk around here grow gets about 6' tall and branches very little.
Daphne, I'd just plant them on the schedule you planned. They'll come up as long as your soil is warm.
"I'm growing 1 Clemson Spinless plant in Gonfishin's memory."
I will remember Bill with every okra I harvest. What a guy!
This is how I grow big tender okra pods:
I mulch my okra beds with 3-4 inches of hay or more, and water weekly with a soaker hose when there is weekly rainfall. The pods don't get go to seed, becoming woody or tough. I get tender pods 8-12 inches long. I grow Clemson Spineless, Cajun Velvet Green (that I've grown from saved seeds since I lived in Louisiana in the 70s), and Royal Burgundy that I ordered on eBay from a husband and wife farm in east Texas. All these Okra grow to well over 7-8 feet tall. All are prolific producers of big, tender pods.
Here's a picture of my Royal Burgundy Okra. Notice it was already making pods when it was only four feet tall. They make 12-inch deep purple/burgundy pods. The flowers are a creamy, buttery color with burgundy stems. The stalks are a deep burgundy and the huge leaves are lovely medium green with burgundy veins. Just a beautiful plant in every way.
To maxmex or anyone else:
I would happily swap some of my Royal Burgundy seeds for some of the Stewart's Zeebest seeds.
Send me an email if you are interested in making the trade.
P.S. - "gonefishing"...whata card! :)
God be with You, our old gardening friend.
Ooops! I miss-typed your ID, MacMex
Sorry about that buddy!
Hope the rest of my Okie friends are neither under water nor have they been blown away! The humidity and mosquitos are just awful!
I dropped you a private e-mail.
That's a beautiful picture. I like to plant my okra where I have to walk past every day. It gives me such pleasure to see it growing.
Sure is raining a lot here in Tahlequah, OK!
I'll get that off to you right away.
I just had to post after reading all these interesting ones.
I live in NorthBay, Ontario, Canada, I'm zone 3b -4 and have had huge success with okra.
this year I've planted 40 plants of the Clemson spineless, hoping to start some canning for the first time :)
Anyhoo, just wanted to add that , yes, they are easy to grow and very prolific!!
I sure would be interested in some of those burgandy okra, they are so beautiful!! Let me know where I could get those as I have a heck of a time trying to find the regular okra seeds here in Northern Ontario, let alone a specialized Okra.
I'm still 3-4 weeks at best from seeing okra in my mid-NC garden.
I got started a couple weeks late and direct seeded in early May. I'd probably be getting okra in another week or 2 if I wasn't too distracted in late April to put a dozen holes in the ground. We have a long season here, though. I'll be picking okra from July-early Oct.
Sure have loved reading all the posts. I'm an okra fan too and have several plants in the garden now. Slow start, however, because it has been so cool here in Kansas. Seedlings were just sitting there so unhappy for awhile.
When I lived in Louisiana, a woman there told me to put a splash of vinegar in the water when you cook okra to cut sliminess. Works real well, but now I steam it in those steam bags and that works quite well. I'm guessing okra goes so well with tomato because of the acid in the tomato, similar to the use of vinegar.
Love it pickled! Hope we can all find some of that burgundy species. Sure makes a lovely plant. Will have to look around the web. Will let you all know what I can find.
The great thing about tomato and okra is it takes the "slime" and basically turns it into a thin sauce as it mixes with the tomato.
Add more veggies (corn, beans, peppers, onion, squash, etc) with it in a saucepan on low/medium heat and you have a nice veggie side dish you can eat with a fork because of the increased thickness.
Everyone, here is a link for Diane's Seeds where you can find the Burgundy red okra. Only 2.95 for shipping as opposed to Henry Fields who wants 8.95 for shipping alone.
I ordered a package; Will try a few seeds since there should still be enough time to plant here in Eastern Kansas.
That's the farthest north I've ever heard of someone growing okra! Congratulations!
Hopefully this year they'll do just as well, its been a very wet but humid year so far, so keeping fingers crossed.
I also have alot of luck with sweet potatoes. Apparently its not supposed to be hot enough in our short growing season here, but they turn out amazing.
Sent you an email.
I also have Louisiana Short Okra.
Not for Northern gardens as it takes 85 days to mature.
Very short plants and short, very fat pods. :)
These little Gumbos can be started indoors under lights with heat to add the growing days needed if you don't live in the South and want to go to all the trouble to grow these.
They can be grown in containers, so are great for container gardens.
As for the Red (Royal) Burgundy Okra that I posted above, send me an e-mail for that address. I don't want to post it on here without consent from the owners.
I paid $.99 for 100+ seeds, plus $1.45 postage & handling.
I ordered 2 bags of them on eBay. They have all kinds of seeds, including old favorites & seeds for veggies particularly desired for gardeners in the South.
It is a small "Husband and wife" farm and business.
Nice folks, too.
That's a VERY reasonable price for seeds.
I've been struggling to get everything planted this year. Today, I finally got my okra in (at least part of it).
And I'm growing White Velvet okra sent to me by Gonefishin'. It grows only 4-5 feet tall. I really wish he were around so I could tell him how it grows... What a sweet sweet man he was.
I hope to get some of my okra in the ground tomorrow...rain or shine! Been weeding and pulling grass for two days.
It's growing REALLY well! Okra will grow really well this year too.
Can't wait for Fried Okra, JalapeÃ±o Cornbread, Turnip Greens w/ Ham, and Cajun Green Beans (has tomatoes)...and cold Sweet Tea! For desert, how 'bout Pecan Pie and vanilla ice cream or Pineapple Upside-down Cake and coffee. Louisiana Soul Food. Yum! Yum!
I planted some okra in ground and saw them germinate in about a week but then the next day, they were all gone. I think they are favorite for slugs. I have a few plants that survive but their leaves are yellow and are I already see a small flower bud progressing. The plant is only about 2.5 inch tall. Should I pinch the bud to let the plant grow more first ? I have never had luck with okra.
I found a hybrid from burpee seeds, North and South hybrid. It was started in 3 inch pots but I moved it up to 1 gal pots last night. I will put them in the ground in a week or two once the freeze is gone at night. Yes it is June, but this is central Oregon, a freeze any night of the year.
Birds, mice and rabbits will also eat young tender okra seedlings.
Yellow leaves sounds like too much water.
Do not pinch it back.
Can anyone tell me about the North/South Hybrid? I just put them in larger pots and found fruit on them this morning. I have not had that happen with other types I have tried here.
Annie, sent you an email regarding Royal Burgundy Okra.
I believe Zeedman has grown the North/South hybrid. I dropped him a private e-mail and mentioned your question. Hopefully he'll show up soon.
George, I believe I grew it in the mid-90's, but that was before I began keeping detailed records, so I can't be sure. At the time, I was trying every "northern" okra I could find; and while some died more slowly then others, all wilted & died shortly after flowering.
Of course, as a dedicated seed saver, I only grow open-pollinated varieties now. Of those, only "Pentagreen" has proven to be hardy enough to take my cool nights without succumbing to verticillium wilt (which killed all the others). In fact, last year's okra harvest was the best I have ever had, better even than my years in California!
Alice Elliot okra is a rather unique one down here. It is the most nearly spineless okra I've ever grown
Granny Franklin is a superb okra for pickling and for frying.
My personal favorite is a select strain of Cowhorn that makes plants up to 20 ft tall and remains tender until it is nearly a foot long.
Thanks Zeedman, Pentagreen!I got the name mixed up in my memory!
I will look for Pentagreen. I have had some luck with Clemson and Louisiana Velvet but not a lot. I only get a good harvest every 3-5 years due to the possibility of a freeze any night of the year. Last night 20 June 08 was the first night over 35 degrees this year. I will have a shorter than normal season :-( So far the north/south has done OK with just some slight yellowing on a few leaf edges.
Planted half of the Tennessee Cut-Shorts today. Very pretty seeds. Hated to bury them in the dirt!
Tomorrow, I am going to plant some of the Zeebest seed.
Mmm - I love the tender small pods raw too - I LOVE the way they taste = )
(I rarely get enough big pods for cooking for just that reason)
I've had success growing okra this year in my container garden. Here in Vegas it's 100 plus degrees daily now and the okra is still bearing.
Other than frying, try throwing it on the grill with some olive oil and Cajun seasoning. See my blog linked below for pics and more about okra in containers.
Here is a link that might be useful: Container Gardening in the Desert
Nice pictures desertfarmerjohn!
Thanks for sharing your work and experiences with us.
Looking at your okra growing so well in those big pots inspired me! I ran out of growing space and wanted to grow more okra and your pictures helped me solve my problem. I grow tomatoes in 5-gallon buckets when I want to grow more plants. Don't know why I didn't think of it for the okra. DUH!
Thanks a lot John.
Bouncing up and down with glee!
Looks as if the freeze will stay away for a bit. Got my North/South okra out of the pots and into the ground. Just over night they look so much happier and gave me a flower this morning to say thanks! Will put some Clemson I have started in a raised bed at Jeanne's. She hates it so I will have to pester her to water it when I am not there. Will it do okay if I put it near the Corn? I know it will get water there.