Let's talk okra..........

dancinglemons(7B VA)June 3, 2012

Hello all,

I've not seen a discussion about okra. I happen to love okra. If you have grown okra please add to the discussion with the varieties you grow, how you prepare the seeds for planting and how you cook your okra. If you save okra seed please share how you saved the seed and if you have developed any "crosses" that you found interesting.

I'll start......

I started growing okra about 20 years ago in a backyard garden. The type I grew was Emerald - which is smooth, round and spineless. The Emerald pods tend to get woody at about 4 inches. I was introduced to Louisiana Green Velvet the following year and stuck with it until I stopped gardening 5-6 years later (work schedule). LGV could grow to 6 inches and still be tender enough to eat.

When I began to garden again I added Clemson Spinless to the mix and only grew it one year - still do not like CS to this day. I discovered Baker Creek Heirloom seeds and began to grow Burmese okra - great okra but did not stay tender after 4-5 inches. Grew Cowhorn varieties for 2 years with great success - taste was good - size of pods was huge. I then returned to the smooth podded okra 2 years ago with Stewart's Zeebest (Baker Creek) and WOW!! This okra grows to 7-9 inches for me with NO loss of tenderness and is quite prolific. The pods are skinny. My plants are widely spaced because I like my plants to branch. Zeebest gets about 8 feet tall in my raised bed garden. Zeebest slows production in late October here in Central Virginia and stops completely by first frost. 2011 is the first year I saved any okra seeds.

I soak my okra seeds for 2 days before planting -- warm water changed 2X per day. Usually do not sow inside but did this year (2012) because I got late start.

I fry okra whole, steam, boil and use in seafood gumbo.

Okra I've grown + rating (5 great -- 1 never again)

Emerald 4


Burmese 5

Burgundy 2

Clemson 1

Zeebest 5+

Cowhorn 4



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why don't you like clemson spineless?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 8:11AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

I've only ever grown a few types of okra. I think Clemson Spineless was the first I grew, and I didn't like it because it was so difficult to catch the pods in the right stage of readiness. That and the yield seemed rather lacking considering the size of the plants. Then I grew Cowhorn. I liked it, much easier to harvest and yield was wonderful. Then I saw Burgundy and had to try it. I was very pleased with the plants, size, yield and beauty and thought it was the okra I would stick with. But then over the winter, I realized that the various stored forms had a subtle muskiness to the flavor that I really didn't care for. So this year I am growing Cowhorn again. But I am thinking of growing a few Burgundy out front as ornamentals.

I first came to know okra as these amazing little fried disks I could buy at the cafeteria in the basement of the Vetran's Administration Building. Not having a deep fryer at home, I've never replicatd those, but I do like okra fried, sauteed, steamed with salt, pickled, or put in a pot with corn, cowpeas, onion, salt pork, and a little red pepper. I actually like it a lot, for a Northern girl. :)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:28AM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

I grew burgundy and spineless last year and this....

Just one of each last year - hard to get enough to a recipe. This time, 2 of each - so hopefully this will work to be a perfect amount...

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 3:32PM
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Concur with dancinglemons . I have grown Emerald, Cowhorn, Green Velvet, White Velvet, Blondie, Annie Oakley, Burgundy,Cajun Delight. Buck's Big Buckhorn and Clemson Spineless. Clemson is at the bottom of the list, primarily because the pods get woody if if you blink during harvest.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 3:55PM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)


The reason I don't like Clemson Spineless is because it did not produce well for me - not prolific enough. The pods got woody after growing only 2-3 inches long -- most of the pods over 2 inches were not edible. I was not really happy with the flavor either. To my way of thinking the only perk in growing CS is the "Spineless" claim. I just wear gloves when harvesting my okra.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 4:49PM
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We love okra; however, root knot nematodes are a serious problem in our sandy Florida soil. Does anyone know of a variety of okra that is less susceptible to RKNs than others?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 6:11PM
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Growing up in SE Louisiana my parents always grew Cajun Cowhorn Okra. I have continued to grow it now that I live in Northern Missouri with the same seed. Tried CS one year and just did not like it because it got hard so quickly. I have preserved okra many ways. I have frozen it both sliced, sliced and breaded and stuffed with seafood and breaded. I have also pickled it and have started canning stewed okra and tomatoes together.I have dehydrated it also for use in soups and gumbos. My family love both fried okra, any gumbo with okra and our favorite is stewed okra and tomatoes with shrimp over rice.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hickery Holler Farm

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 7:23PM
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My okra is dwarf green pod, because that's what they had when I bought the seeds. Not haven eaten okra before, I hadn't a clue about what to grow. I just knew I liked the lovely yellow blossoms.

Here is a link that might be useful: okra and tomatoes

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 9:27PM
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dancinglemons, thank you for the names & rating.
I have only grown no name(it has a name, but I did not ask)& CS. I like CS, when the deer do not eat it to the ground.
I will have to try the others now.
We cut the okra before frying, now I will try the okra whole.
My Father like to pick it 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, no matter how you cooked it. So we never let it get tough/woody.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:38PM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)


I never thought about stuffing okra with seafood. I can't wait for my okra to fruit this year and I already have some shrimp and lump crab in the freezer. Do you have any recipes for stuffed okra?? If so please share.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 1:59AM
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(This is a Justin Wilson recipe)

Cajun Fried Stuffed Okra

20 fresh young okra, sliced in half lengthwise and seeded
1 quart oil for deep frying


1 cup corn flour
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 tsp salt
2 large eggs beaten
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup crabmeat, carefully picked free of shells


2 cups corn flour
1tsp salt
Ground cayenne pepper to taste


1 large egg beaten
1/2 cup white wine
Salt to taste
Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste

In a large mixing bowl, make the stuffing by mixing the corn flour, bread crumbs, onion and garlic powder, pepper,parsley and salt.

In a smaller bowl mix eggs and wine then pour into the flour mixture.

Add crabmeat and mix well.

Refrigerate for two hours or unti stiff and the stuff the okra halves and pat down to make firm.

Mix the corn flour salt and pepper in flat pan to make a dredge.

Make a drench by combining the egg, wine, salt and hotsauce in a small bowl.

Preheat oil to 375. Put one okra at a time into the drench and then roll in the dredge, making sure to coat all sides. Fry in batches for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Drain in paper towels and serve immediately.

Notation : I make these and freeze them to take out and fry as I need them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hickery Holler Farm

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 8:33AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Ooo, that sounds lovely! And here in crabbin' country it sounds like just the thing to do with those leftover crabs...

Dancinglemons (or Farmerdill), I'm curious, what makes Green Velvet better than Cowhorn? Flavor, size, texture? Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 11:12AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I love CS, it has out preformed all of the others that I have tried. Maybe it is because it was developed in my area? I live about 30 miles from Clemson. And before someone say's it's because I'm a Clemson fan, Nope I'm Carolina all the way!

I think the reason that most people don't like CS is because they want bigger pods and they don't want pick it every day. It grows very fast, so you have to pick it! If it is almost ready, pick it or go out early the next day! My Dad used to pick it twice a day.

I have grown CS and other different variety's at the same time. I had almost twice as much CS daily than the other variety's.

It is the perfect size for pickling. I pickle, fry with no batter, boil, microwave, and add it to homemade veggie soup. I pick really small pods and put it in salads.

It stores very good, I found a bag in the freezer that was 2 years old and it was still great!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 1:48PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

"I've not seen a discussion about okra."

Actually, okra has been frequently and enthusiastically discussed here. A search of the forum yields 194 hits. Many of us love okra.

But I will not discourage more okra discussions. Please continue.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 2:29PM
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grandad_2003(9A/sunset 28)

I also cast a negative vote for Clemson Spineless. I gave up after growing it for 2 years. It seemed to get woody at a rather small size.

Cowhorn and Emerald get my high votes. For the last 3 years I've only planted Emerald due to it's compact stature. I believe Cowhorn is a bit more productive than Emerald. However, at the end of the season, the Cowhorn plants were about 10 or so feet tall. I keep telling myself to plant both and/or maybe also try something different. But I always seem to go back with Emerald.

Regarding the cooking process... both Emerald & Cowhorn taste great. But if frying the okra, I find that the velvety okra does a slightly better job of holding on to the corn flour.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 2:44PM
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I'm new to growing Okra. I have three young plants in the ground about a foot tall. They are the Chant Hybrid.

MAMCKEE that recipe sounds amazing! I can't wait to start harvesting some okra and eating them stuffed and fried.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 3:03PM
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Completly okra newby here as well,we discover okra 3 years ago when we moved to NC @ BBQ place that makes it from scratch,OM... my kids love it fried:)so this year I am growing some,recomended by a GW member I received in a trade eagle pass and perking long pod,also growing red dwarf variety "millionarie"I belive...So far is getting there,the one thing I learned already is not to plant too early the ones I had planted right after last frost day are as big as the ones I planted 3 weeks later(they sprouted in 3 days),I am really scared about the itchiness ya'll talk about...also since I've heard here:las week I purchase some from the store label as "american okra",just stir fried in EVOO with onions,garlic and red pepper flakes it was yummy:o)

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 9:20PM
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I love okra but it is THE most difficult plant to grow up here in zone 2b. Last year I grew Annie Oakley in a hoop house. It grew and produced but not as much as I would have hoped given all the space it used up.

This year I am trying out Lee, Green Fingers, and Jambalaya. All are described as dwarf, compact varieties. Have any of you tried these?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 10:14PM
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Hey lgteacher - those pretty blossoms are quite edible also, stuffed they way you do zuccini blossoms. Last year was my first year to grow okra, this year I planted extra just to enjoy eating the flowers.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 10:57PM
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Okra should be planted into moderately fertile soil about 2 weeks after the local frost free date. The soil can be prepared with an application of rabbit or cow manure well tilled into the soil. Plant okra in hills with 5 to 8 seed very closely clumped together per hill and each hill about 18 inches apart in rows at least 36 inches wide. Cover the seed no more than 3/4 of an inch with soil. If the soil happens to crust, having several seed in one spot will permit them to break through. Once the okra plants reach about 6 inches tall, cull the plants to 2 or 3 per hill leaving more plants for shorter and less vigorous varieties and less plants for more vigorous types. When the plants are about 1 foot tall, side dress with a balanced fertilizer with a moderate amount of nitrogen. (Chicken manure would be a bit too high for nitrogen. Composted rabbit or cow manure would be just about right.) Spray with neem a couple of times to discourage pests.

To produce a seed crop:
When the plants produce edible pods of okra, harvest the okra for the first 3 weeks, then stop harvesting and let the plants set a seed crop. If done properly, these steps will bring the plants to an optimum maturity to produce a heavy seed crop.

Re an okra that is nematode tolerant and will grow in Florida conditions, the only one I know of is African which Sandhill sells. It originated from a stand that had "gone native" beside a woman's house in central Florida. It is the most ornamental tropical looking variety of okra I have grown. I would caution that it is also the most spiny variety of okra that I have grown so be prepared!


    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 12:07AM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

Thanks for that recipe - can't wait to do stuffed okra.

Somehow the gremlins keep messing up my searches. Thanks for the info :-)

Thanks for that info about Sand Hill okra seeds - will have to try them in 2013.

I like Lo Green Velvet better than Cowhorn (but not by much) because of how long the pods get and the flavor.

For those who have not harvested okra - some types are more spiny than others. I always wear long sleeves and gloves when I pick okra (yes even when 100 degrees).


    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 3:31AM
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DarJones - Thanks for the info that African okra is nematode tolerant and will grow here in Florida. Unfortunately for me Sandhill does not have it available in 2012 and I can't find seeds anywhere on the net. I'll put it on my wish list and hopefully they'll have it next year. Jerry

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 7:01AM
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I planted some Clemson Spineless for my wife, but the negative comments are making me second guess. Next year, perhaps I'll grow a different variety - any suggestions for 7b?

Here is a link that might be useful: video of my okra

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 9:02PM
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Clemson Spineless is good if you're willing to get out there every day (every other day at the very least) to check on and harvest 3-5" pods.

The plant can set larger pods, but it seems to slow down production the more it hangs onto pods compared to other some other okras I've seen.

It also tends to naturally branch way less, especially when crowded.

It's one of those varieties that's awesome for mass production in rows, but there might be better options for the home gardener if they can put up with a spiny okra.

I grow it, myself, because I like the vertical mostly-non-branching nature of C.Spineless. I wish I had more time to pick the pods before they went tough/woody or slowed down the plants, though I grow a small enough amount to monitor it well. Tradeoffs...

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 9:21PM
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Granny Franklin - This is an old family heirloom from NorthWest Alabama. It is the most versatile okra I've yet grown. It can be fried, boiled, stuffed, or pickled and performs admirably. It is also highly productive. Negatives are that it is mid-range for spines meaning roughly similar to Clemson Spineless and it gets tough if you don't pick it at least every other day.

Cowhorn - This is the tenderest most nearly spineless okra I grow. It is highly productive and very good fried. It is too tender to make good pickled okra.

African - I got this from another Gardenweb member about 7 years ago and he had gotten it from the woman in Florida who had it growing wild beside her house. It is a highly ornamental okra and good fried. It will produce over a very long season but is about 1 or 2 weeks behind most okras in producing the first pods when planted as seed. As noted above, it is very spiny. I am growing it this year for seed to send to Sandhill so they can offer it next year.

I've grown Evertender and thought it to be a pretty good okra, but one trait I did not like was that the stems are very thin and flexible. It leans over in a strong wind. Otherwise, it is a good frying okra but a bit skinny for stuffing.

I grew Longhorn for a couple of years. It is extremely productive, but a bit spiny. It is good fried and stuffed and boiled but not so good pickled.

I am growing White Velvet this year. No idea what to expect, but I hope to get a seed crop.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 10:11PM
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Just wanted to put in a vote for CS. Like others here have said you gotta check it every day or it will get woody quick,but it has been the long time backbone to my okra crop.
If there is any one to stay away from that would be burgundy, it's pretty, but I didn't like it and everyone I tried to give it away to didn't like it and it's roots got all knotty and it died. good thing I also planted CS

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 10:38PM
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I feel the need to throw my favorite okra prep out there...

Without getting all technical, because it's all "to-taste" anyway...

Tomatoes (chopped well), okra, peppers (sweet and/or hot), onions, summer squash/zukes, and some sweet corn all cut up + stewed together with some fresh herbs.

The okra "slime" (flavorless) thickens things up with the tomato enough to eat it all with a fork, though it's not exactly paste-thick. The "green pod" has it's usual taste, and the seeds are very soft + sweet...so sweet that I usually take it easy with the sweet corn because not all of them stay within the pods while cooking.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 11:26PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Oh, I'm sad to hear that Cowhorn isn't good for pickling. I love pickled okra. Are there any other varieties that are good for pickling? Besides the one Dar mentioned, that is.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 10:46AM
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I'm in Zone 7a and grew CS for the first time last year. It did quite well and I had plants that were probably 10 ft. tall by the time I quit harvesting the pods. I direct seeded without soaking the seeds first and they came up without any problem. My husband bought a few potted plants and those also did well but not significantly better. I think a package of seeds cost less than one of those plants!

I had about 12 plants and cut okra daily, keeping the pod size around 3 inches and they were perfect in texture. 12 plants gave us enough for a small serving of grilled okra for 2 people several times a week or a larger pot of stewed okra once a week. We enjoy it grilled (coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and throw it on the grill until tender) but I also love it stewed Cajun style . . . this basically means you cook it to death and the flavor and texture is out of this world good!

I'm growing more CS this year but I also have a bunch of Cow Horn okra since they seem to be more productive and you can grow bigger pods that are still tender. The Cow Horn okra took longer to germinate but they're coming along while the CS has it's first flowers today.

Our weather has been wacky (who's hasn't?). Hot March, chilly rainy April and May and June have been fickle. When the 90� temps returned briefly in May I saw a big burst of growth and then it cooled off a little so they've slowed again. It's nice for us but I'm ready for the Okra to really get going!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 11:35AM
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I forgot to add that I also bought some Lee okra seeds but haven't planted them yet. I really don't have anywhere to put more okra but I've got a tomato plant that isn't doing much for me so it may get pulled out to make room for a few Lee Okra plants.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 11:39AM
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Fusion Power can you plant Okra close without crossing the seeds.When I eat it, it will not matter. I would like to plant some for seeds, if I plant near shelly seeds, 50 feet apart, will that work?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 9:16PM
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Okra blossoms are heavily visited by bees. If you want to avoid crossing, at least 150 feet between varieties is the minimum. You will still get a small amount of crossing even then, but it will be at the 1% or less range. This is generally acceptable if you are willing to cull off types in subsequent years.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 9:31PM
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My brother in law called us to come get CS okra.
He has about 100 plants, he picks about every three days.
They have put up okra for them, their children & grandchildren. So they gave us 2 bushels of fresh okra & I have put up 12 quarts of okra today.
I have 6 inch long okra pods that I could snap in my hands, with no woody or stringy parts.
2 bushels every 3 days is about as high of a yield as I could handle.
If you can do better then you have a good okra.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 1:27AM
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IAmSupernova(SE Texas 9A)

I just harvested my first pod today (I started late). This is my first year gardening too, so I don't really have a lot of experience to speak on yet. I will say I know what I'm going to give extra room to next year for the hot summer months. While everything else was wilting from the triple digit temps, it was going crazy and growing noticeably day by day.

I'm growing Clemson Spineless, it is true these pods do grow fast. I only have 4 plants so I don't see it becoming a problem to get and keep it all harvested.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 2:08PM
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MAMCKEE Thanks for the promo on Louisiana Cow horn and many other names it has be given. I did raise this variety given to be by my boss who was raised in Abbeyville La. It was the best tasting okra I have ever eaten. No problems raising it here in my area but now I do not have the room. I found for me that it did not matter how long the okra got as long as it was picked by the third day after the blossom fell off. Not sure if this works for other varieties or not. I had 98 plants and my friends loved me also. I have even put the seeds straight into the ground without any preparations but soaking them until they just start to sprout seemed to work the best over all. Seed harvest is quite easy, just leave one plant for seed and harvest after the pods are dry. I know my plants were over 8 foot tall but I planted them about 2 feet apart and the branches just grew in-between each other with no lose in fruits. If you are cooking Okra and do not want the slim you need to cook them on medium low so that the goo will finally dry up. We do the same when cooking cactus pads. As a stew we just cooked onions, garlic, and okra, until the onions are tender or even browned lightly. Then add Tomatoes, fresh or canned and seasoned to taste. Some may even like a pinch of sugar helps to bring out the flavors but is optional. There are no amounts this is a stew that should be seasoned to your taste. Cook until done to you liking.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 4:41PM
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ju1234((8 Dallas TX))

First year growing Okra, have Burmese, cowhorn and Clemson spineless.

Burmese: thin, long, light whitish color pods, tender for several days, very thin walled, have picked them at 6-9 inches and still very edible. Branching plant, long lenky branches.

Cowhorn: Looks and feels pretty much like burmese except the shape is curved like a cow horn.

Clemson Spineless: much thicker pods compared to above two, thick walled, dark green, one pod of this will weigh twice as much as other two here. So, same number of pods give more produce. True: if i miss it one day, it doubles in size in one day and is no longer edible. I have picked some as much as 6" long that are still edible. The plant does not branch much however I happened to cut the growing top of one plant off accidentally and that did cause braching but still not as much as other two. This plant needs less space that the other two.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 11:29AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I'm picking about 2 quarts a day of CS from about 30 plants. I put them in the fridge and about every 3 days I pickle some and cut some of them up and freeze them. It's gonna be good eating this winter!

My Dad always insisted that we plant 2 rows, 150' long. By the time you got to the end of the rows it was almost time to pick the okra on the end you started on! LOL

A lot was wasted because it got to hard, it was easy to miss some with that many plants.

I think the CS makes better pickled okra since it grows so fast. It is tenderer, crispier, and holds it's texture better while pickling IMHO.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 3:59PM
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I picked over 4 rows, 50 feet long, that had been picked yesterday.
Like your Father garden, about ten pods were 6 inches long, over half was over two inches long & the rest was 1 1/2 or shorter. I got about a peck or 1/4 of a bushel, off the plants that were picked yesterday.
I am now sold on CS, but will try cow horn just to see for myself.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 10:23PM
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I know this is a year old thread but I have to chime in for Clemson Spineless. To hear that it is not the perfect okra after nearly forty years of growing nothing but borders on faith shattering blasphemy.
But then I read that the main complaint is that is gets tough much past three inches and all I can say is WELL DUH! it's okra FCOL. I was taught at an early age, Clemson was all that Dad grew as well, that a standard index finger was all one needed to judge when to pick okra.Every day without fail I would walk the rows placing my index finger alongside pods and if the tip touched the crease at the base of the finger that pod got cut, simple as that.
Of course we also knew of that wonderful tasting okra that would grow as long as your whole hand and still be tender called cowhorn as several of our older relatives grew it exclusively but bending over stalks to pick okra for some reason has never appealed to me. Cowhorn is the only garden plant that grew taller than the eight foot plus truckers favorite or hickory king corn. Plus it readily branches for multiple stalk bendings per plant. Clemson depending on how closely spaced can be anywhere from waist to head high for easier access, better production at head high wider spacing.
BTW, I have no clue why Clemson is not liked for pickling. I pick half length pods just for pickling and they are just as firm and tasty as when I eat them raw in the garden.
I pride myself on not being predjudiced and like to try new cultivars every year but I do have a couple hard and fasts that will never change. I thought I'd try a new okra this year and Granny Franklin caught my eye (BTW I'm from Bessemer, AL and never heard of it until this year and there's a whole bunch of Franklin's in the western end of Jefferson county) but after the bashing that I see Clemson getting I've decided to put it right up there on the pedestal with Louisiana Purple Pod pole bean. Neither will be replaced in my garden.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 10:33PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Well said mcleod! I have my seeds of CS saved from last year and itching to plant it. Too cold and wet though.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 12:43PM
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This is a real interesting thread, and very helpful. I don't like okra much (probably haven't had it cooked well though), but am growing it for my mother-in-law who loves it and grew it all her life on the farm. They grew CS forever and she has never tried any others b/c they liked it so much. Picked no bigger than 2 1/2 inches she says! I am growing burgundy variety from Bakers Creek for her, b/c she never heard of a red okra and wanted to try it. She warned me that it is a real prickly plant, wear long sleeves and gloves. So here is my question...is the actual okra spiney (like a cucumber) or just the plant? Northern girl here...forgive me for not knowing about okra. It's all new to me.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 9:10PM
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gardenman101(Z6 Spingfield, Ma)

I agree with Mcloed, I grew CS for ther 1st time here in New England a few years ago, and had terrific yeilds from it. I grew 10 plants fairly well spaced and they did get to be 6-8' tall. The only issue i had with it was I couldnt pick it fast enough. I had a lady who was from the south stop by one day from a few streets over and , she couldnt believe i could get okra to grow this far north, needless to say i didnt have an issue pickling it after that. I tried Burgandy and Annie Oakly with dismal results last year. It will be CS this year for sure.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 11:37PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

".is the actual okra spiney (like a cucumber) or just the plant?"

Not quit the same as a cucumber, you don't feel it right away. They are tiny little spines.

Clemson Spineless is spineless, hence the name.

However, depending on each persons sensitivity it will make some people itch anyway. I sometimes itch between my fingers after cutting it, sometimes not.

My sister-in-law can look at it and start itching!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 12:21PM
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Planted Clemson Spineless a few days ago .... :)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 11:33AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Still too wet to plant anything here. I'm going to have to take an emergency vacation day from work if it ever stays dry for a few days! The boss doesn't like those! LOL

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 12:31PM
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I just ordered Cowhorn seeds on the strength of the positive comments from this thread :).
Found an Ebay seller that sells 2,000 seeds for the same price many sold a packet of 25 for, not that I'm going to plant 2,000 this season.
Didn't order the spineless. Had enough ex husbands that fit that description in my opinion, am not going to order anything that actually has the word in its name.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 6:12PM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

Hello all,

Happy to see folks talking okra! One of my very favorite veggies!! I'm still not a fan of Clemson because I like my okra long and smooth. I've got my seeds for Stewart's Zeebest ready to plant this season. I was able to source a tiny bit of Louisiana Green Velvet after years of not locating seed so will plant a few plants of that also.

Good harvest to all in 2013!!


    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 4:23AM
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Just a note for Mcleod that the Franklins in Western Jefferson county may be related. One large branch of the family lived in that area in the 1930 census.

The okra variety Granny Franklin was sourced from Franklin County about 7 miles south and a bit west of Phil Campbell.

I have Jing Orange on the schedule to grow this year. I also need to renew my supply of Cowhorn so have to figure out where to slip in a short row.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 8:10AM
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grandad_2003(9A/sunset 28)

dancinglemons, our local garden center normally sells LA Green Velvet (see link below). However, due to a recent seed crop failure they have been unable to get seed. Maybe they will have it next year. Incidentally, they do mail seeds and just add a charge to cover their shipping costs (no handling fees as best I could tell).

According to Naylor's Hardware, LA Green Velvet & Emerald are close to the same. Supposedly, Emerald grows a bit shorter. So they are recommending Emerald in it's place. I have not tried LA Green Velvet so no personal experience on the comparison - but, shorter for me is a positive attribute.

In any case, my Emerald is planted and sprouted.

Here is a link that might be useful: Naylors Hardware & Garden Center

This post was edited by grandad on Mon, Apr 22, 13 at 13:15

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 10:06AM
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My Stewarts Zeebest was slow out of the gate but it's now lumbering towards a great harvest. Those plants become huge. Their leaves alone are a foot across. And this week they started to send out branches which have already set flowers and pods. I also planted Dwarf Green Long Pod which grew and started to fruit sooner than the Zeebest. I was a little uncertain about the Zeebest because of this but I'm glad I waited. PS-I even ate one of each raw out of the garden and was pleasantly surprised at the taste! I know that sounds weird...

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 11:10PM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

grandad ,

Thanks for the link. I have not been able to find LGV seeds this year. I do have some old Emerald seed (3-4 years) and you are right they are very similar to LGV only plant is shorter.

I'm growing Stewarts Zeebest right now as they grow HUGE plants over 10 feet tall and branch nicely. The best part about them is the okra can get 7-8 inches long and still be extremely tender.

Thanks again for the link.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 3:35AM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

squirrelwhispererpup ,

You are going to really love those Stewarts Zeebest!! This is my 3rd year growing them (if memory serves). They can get 7-8 inches long and still be extremely tender with great flavor.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 3:38AM
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Is everyone's okra plants perennial?

I'm thinking of planting one on the front yard as an ornamental and just harvesting the pods when they are ready?

Are these plants low maintenance? Would my plan work?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 4:07AM
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Almost end of June in middle GA, any thoughts on trying to plant some NOW? too late? I know it can grow here well into November maybe even December? I"m so behind with all the other stuff I have to do day to day with my shop, that my garden just is forced to take a back seat.

I have grown only 2 kinds of okra in the past, I'm sure CS was one since it's most likely what was on the shelves of the stores here, I think I also grew Emerald one year. Cant say I knew enough about them to see any major difference. I'll leave the professional critiques to the professionals on here and just plod along.

I do know from a wise and well seasoned southern gentleman/gardener that a six pack of okra plants purchased from lowes will maybe grow you " a mess" that was my first attempt. The next year I grew 24 plants, and the next season closer to 40.

I bread and fry it, use it in soups is about all. My SIL pickles it and that may be one of the best things I have ever tasted. I LOVED that. Although I have not yet attempted it myself. It's really easy to cut it and bread it and then freeze it for use later, whenever there is surplus. And it amazingly stays perfectly in the freezer.

I want to grow some now, hence my first question....Gardening is very rewarding and sometimes very challenging and discouraging. I hope I never get too busy to stop doing it in one form or fashion.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 9:11AM
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Harvested my first okra today -- 4 WHOLE pods ... LOL

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 1:13PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

rjinga, According to Clemson Ext. In zone 8 SC, you can plant the okra now for a fall crop. It should be the same for GA. Check with one of the GA EXT. services.

Deb, at least you are getting some! I was so late planting due to the weather. Mine are only about a foot tall but are bushier than normal! I may have been planting it too early!

I normally plant in early May as recommended.

Oh well, I still have plenty in the freezer but I like it better fresh!

I will be having a big veggie cooking at work, to clean out my freezer . As soon as my veggies start producing. I do that every year and they look forward to it!

We plan it around what I have. I bring the veggies and they bring the meat and sides.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Is it too late to plant okra now in New England? I told DH I'd grow some for him but it's just been so wet I didn't get it in. Still transplanting peppers now (almost done) and the leftover tomatoes that didn't sell (that will take longer since they're bigger and I have about a dozen, I hate to compost them they look so nice).

Can I grow them in between pepper plants? What pH do they like (I remember they like not high N, not wet).


    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 2:39PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

ajsmama, in 5b it is probably too late unless you will have some really hot weather. Okra originated in Africa and likes hot weather.

Since you seem to be close to the ocean and some bays (NW CT). I'm just guessing, you may have a longer season?

Since it seems that you have time for tomatoes and pepper you might be able to get some.

PH should be between 6.5 and 7.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 3:06PM
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NW CT is about 60 miles from ocean at closest point - we're in the foothills of the Berkshires, zone 5b, 1000ft elevation. Been so wet (and alternating hot/cold) the past 2 months that I didn't get tomatoes and peppers out til this month (peppers this past week, really) b/c I had them started and figured might as well put them in, though I'll be lucky if I get any late-season tomatoes, or any bell peppers at all (definitely not ripe bells). July and early August are usually pretty hot and dry, but this year who knows? First frost in early October. How many DTM is okra (guess I can go look on package of CS from last year - only grew 4 plants, Yankee like me didn't know that wasn't enough to do anything with)?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 6:43PM
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Is everyone's okra plants perennial?
I'm thinking of planting one on the front yard as an ornamental and just harvesting the pods when they are ready?

Are these plants low maintenance? Would my plan work?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 7:07PM
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Okra is a perennial but is usually grown as an annual because it is not frost hardy.

Most okra is 75 to 80 days from seed to first harvest. It takes 3 more weeks to get to the most productive phase.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 8:59PM
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Thanks Dar. Too late for okra here this year then. I didn't even replant the 2/3 of my edamame that drowned since that's 90 days. I'm still hoping for Brandywines.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 7:11AM
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goldenbuckeye(5/6 OH)

I'd love to trade for some fresh Cow Horn okra seeds this fall if anyone has any and is willing to trade. I don't know what happened with my seed this year but couldn't get any to germinate and planted it 4 times. I think maybe it got too warm in the garage with the woodburner. I usually keep it in the fridge but forgot to this past year.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 1:13AM
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Just posting a progress report. I am harvesting a little more than a pound of okra per week now. Tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers are gone but okra just keeps blooming and growing. The so called "dwarf" green long pod plants are almost six feet tall and have started to branch, which I did not expect. The zeebest are branching and producing the same size and quality pods on those branches that their apical growth tips are putting out. If I had a whole row I'd be cutting plenty on a daily basis but with the smaller planting I usually get about six to eight pods every other day. I wrap them unwashed In a clean paper towel and store them in the fridge crisper drawer in one of those green bags that retard produce spoilage. Every Saturday I take stock of whether to cook it or freeze it. So far we've done both. Nice to have in my freezer for gumbo in the Fall! DL, you are right, the zeebest is super and pods as long as eight inches stay slender and tender.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 10:32PM
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This week the take was a pound and a half from my seven plants.
Dwarf Green Long Pod plants are over six feet tall and I am considering cutting them back one or two feet. Has anyone done that, and what were your results? I will have to bring a stepladder out soon if I don't do this.
Zeebest is slightly less tall but it's branches are almost as high as the main trunk so an intervention might be needed there as well.
Uscjusto, their ease of growth depends on your growing conditions. I am on the Gulf Coast where the high daytime temps are almost uniformly in the low 90's and this is just what okra likes; in areas with less extreme and constant heat, they would probably be slower to produce. They stop doing much when temps stay below 70 or so. They are fairly drought tolerant in the ground but require regular water in containers, which is where I am growing mine. In ground okra plants can sometimes become infected with root knot nematodes, which causes the root to become clubbed and non-functional. Containers reduce the chances of that happening though sometimes small roots can penetrate to the ground, depending on the type of container used (for eg. Fabric smart pots). I feed my plants weekly with a soluble fertilizer, also because they are in containers and thus can't draw what they might need directly from the soil. Pest problems have been minimal, an occasional worm i picked off, and just a few aphid outbreaks on some buds, which were easily dealt with using insecticidal soap followed by a rinse with the garden hose. The flowers are really pretty but last literally only a few hours, I had four or five this morning and all have fallen off now, with little baby okra showing where the blooms were.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 6:00PM
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well .... i'm now having to stand on a step stool to pick my okra - Clemson Spineless - I'm 5'2" with a 6'2" reach ;)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 1:04AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Well you can, in zone 8, in South Carolina....haha
Good for you !'
I used to grow then back in GA.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 6:11AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

My 20 CS plants are short, about 4' tall, but extra bushy and producing like crazy now!

I've been freezing 2 quarts a day for the last 4 days,sliced up!

My garden was planted late due to so much rain, so my tomatoes, and crowder peas are producing almost too much to handle!

There will be a lot of veggie soup this fall and winter!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 12:39PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Boy you both are doing great. My okra is doing nothing.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 4:34PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

squirrelwhisperer, I cut my okra back about 3 weeks ago to about 3 feet above the ground. It almost instantly began to put out side branches in several spots along the stalks. I actually had 3 pods this week! That was fast! I am hoping to get multiple pods from each plant once they get cranked back up. It may be more difficult to spot the pods since they'll be at all different levels, but my garden is small and I don't have but about 12 plants, so I'll be happy for more.

No one here mentioned my favorite way to cook okra: oven roasted. I spray a cookie sheet with olive oil, then lay the okra on it (whole, sliced lengthwise, or cut into rounds), spray the okra with oil and then garlic salt and pepper it. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. It is healthy and delicious!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 9:15PM
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I cut the plants back to four feet about a week ago.
Already I have baby branches and some have flowers.
Temps have been in the upper 90's. Even the okra wilts at 3 in the afternoon. It perks back up by 7 PM. Daily watering has been necessary.
Very limited rainfall, a half inch every ten days or so, but got .75 inch today.
We used to average 40+ inches of rain here in Houston on an annual basis and the really high temps didn't show up until later in August. I don't think we've seen 40 inches in a year for some time now.
DonnaB, I am going to try that recipe as soon as the plants hit their stride again!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 10:47PM
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I am interested in different okra seed . I have these seed to trade
Pulla pepper
Arbol pepper
Orange manzano
Orange habanero
Red habanero
Golden treasure
San Luis poblano
Purple bell pepper
Carlifornia wonder
Upside down pepper
Sweet mint
Summer squash pic-n-pic hybrid
Dragon tongue beans
Organic Ireland creek Annie beans
Petite mix color marigold
Clementine red
Wild flower mix
Poppy mixed
French marigold
Marigold draft yellow
Moon Vine
Zinnia grand champion pink
Sasha daisy
Purple coneflower
Cosmos sensation mix
Gloriosa daisy
Aster purple
Morning glory mix
Hibiscus confederate pink
Blanket flower
Pink holly hock
Rose of Sharon
Summer carnival hollyhock
Heirloom chater double hollyhock
Red and white hollyhock
Thank you

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 5:52PM
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If you are looking for a heavy producing okra variety, look for Heavy Hitter okra. It was developed from Clemson Spineless. Heavy Hitter has an unusually heavily branching habit. It has out produced ZeeBest in Oklahoma Zone 7 seed trails for 3 consecutive years! An important fact to remember is that the tenderness of the pod is not determined so much by the length of the pod, as by the age of the pod. Any pod that is more than 4 or 5 days old will likely be tough, regardless of length. Length is determined by rain fall and night time temperatures, not by age.

Heavy Hitter okra has been known to produce as many as 65 branches, and over 250 pods per plant over the course of the harvest season.

Okra seeds are best germinated by placing them in the fold of a warm, wet paper towel, inside a sealed, plastic, Ziplock bag. Keep the contents of the Ziplock bag between 70 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 to 48 hours. When white root tip breaks through seed hull the seeds are ready to plant. Plant seeds in moist ground no deeper than 1" inch.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2014 at 11:02PM
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I have found Heavy Hitter okra to be the best producing okra variety on the market with high yields of tender pods from June until October in Zone 7.

Google, heavy hitter okra pics for more photos.

Some Heavy Hitter okra plants have as many as 65 branches, resembling small okra trees. Very good, high producer for small gardens.

Heavy Hitter is currently growing in over a dozen States in America, and is doing very well in African seed trials, as the developer of this strain has donated several pounds of Heavy Hitter okra seed to feed the hungry, via USAID program.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2014 at 11:28PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Very interesting irfourteenmilecreek!

I have been saving my Clemson Spineless seed for years and I have noticed more branching on some of my plants. I don't do any pruning, except lower branches when they start loosing color.

I have several this year with 10 or more branches but they are higher up the stalk than yours. They start at about 3' but the plants are 8' tall.

I am going to save the seed from those and plant them separately to see what I get next year.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2014 at 9:42AM
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Kalie(9 - Jacksonville, Florida)

This was my first year adding okra to the garden. I planted 8 Clemson seeds at the beginning of May, all germinated within a week, and by July 4th we were getting at least 20 small 3 inch pods per week, which wasn't much, but was fine for just me and my boyfriend who would fry them up on Sundays with our greens and cornbread. :)

However, in August and September the temperatures were in the high 90s or higher every day and we got more than 20 inches of rain both months. So, with nearly daily thunderstorms, the blistering heat, and the humidity that it caused (read: mosquitos), it was hard to get out to pick the okra quick enough and at the right time. Even if I was out there every day, there were still days when the pods grew from one inch to eight inches within the span of a workday. And the pods were tough and not tasty anymore like the earlier ones were.

It is mid-October and the plants are about 10 feet tall and with the lowering temperatures, the pods are returning to normal. I'm thinking I want to try a different variety next Spring. It is very disappointing to have to pick so many enormous, nearly-inedible pods for months. The best part about the plants is by far the large, beautiful flowers that bloom every morning. The bees love them for sure. :)

This post was edited by Kalie_Florida on Tue, Oct 14, 14 at 9:30

    Bookmark   October 14, 2014 at 9:28AM
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I grew Chinese Okra this year for the first time. Its a beautiful vine plant which produced a ton of okra.The vines grew to about 10 feet long and they love to climb fences and around trees I let some of the pods grow to full maturity which is about 10-12 long. Allowed then to dry out on the vine for next years seeds. Each pod will produce about 100 seeds. After seeding them they make excellent luffa's.
A word of warning if you grow these you want to pick them when they are 6-8'' long after that they are too tuff.
They are great for frying, soups, gumbo and stews. I would not boil or pickle them

    Bookmark   October 17, 2014 at 6:07PM
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