Hi everyone! I recently moved to Eastern OK, and I have no clue if this is the right forum for my area! I see a lot of you from AR, so I hope I'm in the right place.
I have a question about okra. We are doing a market garden this year, and okra is really popular around here. Our whole family hates it, so we've never grown it before. We picked up two varieties of seed, Lee and Clemens Spineless. My thought is to plant two rows of Lee with one row of Spineless behind them so they don't shade the shorter Lee plants. The former owner left behind okra cages, but I assume since the Lee only get 4' high, only the Spineless will require cages? If you have any feedback about either variety (flavor, production, hardiness, etc.), I'd appreciate it.
I'm not familiar with Lee, but have grown Clemson Spinless in the past with much success. However the deer seem to have found my garden the last couple of years, so the okra didn't make it. I have never staked or caged my okra but then I have not grown it for market purposes either. In a really bad wind storm I have had them bend over but not uproot. As far as growing it, just keep in mind the ground needs to be really warm. I've heard some people nick the seeds to speed up germination and sprouting. Thin the plants if necessary. The main thing with okra is to harvest every day. It can really get too long and tough quickly. It keeps the plants from getting top-heavy too. Good luck!
We didn't nick the seeds, but I had tried to start some in pots (they got too leggy) and they germinated wonderfully. Our soil is pretty warm now - we've been getting mostly 70-80 degree days, and I know it's supposed to be about 10 degrees higher for germination. We'll see how it goes. I guess since we have the cages, we'll use them, but I'll see if the Lee will hold up on its own. Picking every day shouldn't be a problem, but does it keep for a bit after you pick it, or do I need to sell it daily? Ordinarily, I just set up my stand on the weekends. Thanks!
Good luck with the okra, Eileen! Like Outside said, the okra won't even start coming up until the heat sets in for good and the ground is really warm. I've only grown the Clemson Spineless in the past, and there's no need to stake it. A good tip on keeping it growing taller and producing more okra - after you cut a pod off, cut off the outward stem just below it. The stalk will grow tidy and tall. And, when you do pick, wear a light long-sleeve shirt - even with the spineless variety, your arms will itch and you'll be scratching away on your arms!
I've grown Lee and am again. It is a smaller, non branching okra and won't need staking or cages. In fact I've grown mine in containers. I've never seen anyone in this area cage their okra. Lee is as tasty as any, just pick all okra when it is smaller and tender.
And, I'll second wearing a long sleeved shirt when in the okra patch.
I soak my seeds (not nicked) in water with a bit of peroxide added. They are usually sprouting before planting when doing that. An older friend uses water and bleach but I'm not sure why? Good luck.