Okra

token28001(zone7b NC)March 22, 2009

I know it likes hot weather. Isn't it a hibiscus? Should I wait and just direct sow?

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trowelgal(Kansas Zone 5)

I am going to watch this tread. Yesterday I helped my neighbor girl plant 7 Okra seeds. Hope they germinate fine.
Has anyone else wintersown Okra? Results?
Trowelgal

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 8:57PM
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seedmama(7)

I have found it to be well worth the effort to WS okra. Yes, okra is a heat lover, which is why it benefits from WS over direct sow. The soil in a container heats up a little sooner than the ground itself. Once planted out it also benefits from 2 liter cloches over the plant, because of the heat.

Before I knew about WS in containers, I direct sowed it under cloches, the idea being to heat up the ground for faster germination and growth. That gave good results as well, but I like WS better.

Yes, it's in the hibiscus family. This year I'll be growing Clemson Spineless, Emerald, African and Red Burgundy. I like it fried and pickled, and in some cases in stews. Best of all, it's a real friend maker in the South. "Oh, you have okra in your 'flower beds'."

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 10:05PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Last year, one of the nicest houses on the nicest street in town had okra in her rose garden. I saw that woman out there pulling pods one afternoon with blue striped socks on her forearms. I thought to myself, that is so wrong. She ought to be wearing red stripes to match her culottes and sandals.

I'll wintersow some on Thursday, the next best day for starting seeds.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 10:26PM
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soonergrandmom

seedmama - Do you start it in milk jugs? How many to a jug? Doesn't it get big very fast? I will start mine whenever you say the time is right. Our soil temp seems to be only about 4 degrees different so I will follow your lead based on your experience.

Token - Only you would want her socks to match. LOL

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 11:34PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

I don't know what your temps. are in NC, so you may be able to get away with WSing Okra. I cannot successfully grow Okra here in the north until the soil warms up - late May to early June. As a matter of fact last year, the wife of the U.S. Ambassador was lamenting that she could not grow Okra in her Ottawa gardens (she is a Southerner). I have tried it earlier and the seed just sits there - doesn't even germinate when it warms up. I have grown (direct sow) several varieties but my favourite is Clemson Spineless and I get at least one good harvest a year. Last summer was wet and cool here and the hard frost found many young fruit still on the plants. They are members of the hibiscus family and the flowers, though pretty, are borne in a very inconspicuous manner, you could even miss them. Let me know how it turns out.
Northerner.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 5:40AM
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seedmama(7)

Soonergrandmom, Thanks for asking the question. Just as I was giving serious thought to record keeping, you asked a question which shows why I do it. Last year, I sowed both Emerald and Clemson Spineless on 4/7 and had germination on 4/13. I put 36 seeds to a milk jug, 6x6. Everything I did last year was late because of the new arrival. I hope to put okra in jugs sooner this year, but looking at the calendar, it may not be by much. I liked the speed with which I harvested WS okra and I liked being able to place it just so in the ornamental border. If you plan to put okra in rows, you might find for the trade off in labor and potting mix expense vs. your time, that 2 liter cloches in rows are a better choice. I hope you'll experiment and let us know about your experience.

I have also WS cucumbers and here's my two cents on that. Until I handled WS seedlings I had no idea how much of that heady cucumber scent existed in the plant. Digging in the dirt and smelling the cucumber fragrance was much like a spa experience. This year however, I will WS only my small quantities of slicing cukes, and will direct sow the larger quantity of picklers. Why? Because of time and timing. I have many more pickler seeds available this year and can afford to lose a few. There's a lot of time involved in planting out, and I really need to use that elsewhere. Additionally, cuke sprouts grow so quickly here in the south that there is a very small window of opportunity in which to get them planted out without stunting growth. That said, it's the WS slicers that will bring me the most joy, and it's the closest I'll get to a spa until Oprah discovers me.

Some folks like to WS corn. I tried it last year and discovered it's not for me. Again, our heat facilitates rapid growth. I planted out two days after I got sprouts and still it was too late to get an established footing with the roots. All my corn blew over. I can't lay the entire burden for that on WS, because Oklahoma winds are famous. It may also have been the variety of corn I tried. However, in researching various discussions here I've reached anecdotal conclusions that those most satisfied with WS corn tend to live further north than I. I have to assume it was the rapid container growth in the south that contributed to the corn's demise. That said, I encourage you to have your own experience.

Token, "I thought to myself, that is so wrong. She ought to be wearing red stripes to match her culottes and sandals." Now THAT'S funny. As if men aren't visual enough already, architects have to take it up a notch. I know because I live with one. He might have taken you to task on the matching, as he prefers CONTRAST. Tells me so every day, in between comments about proper SCALE. I really thought we were going to have to name our first child SCALE just to shut him up.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 10:31AM
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