It will help the okra produce better if you cut off the excess leaves. Some times if the okra is slow to start putting on pods, cutting the leaves back, triggers it to get started. It doesn't matter how many you cut off as long as you don't cut the terminal bud. I keep mine cut back even when it is producing so I can see the pods better.
Cow Horn is an old type of okra that gets its name from the shape of the pod. They will get 8 or 9 inchs long before they start getting hard. When they get that long they start getting a curve like a cow's horn. You can buy the seed from some of the catalog stores but it is not the same as I have. I have a friend that keeps me supplied. Between he and his deceased father-in-law, they have been saving the seed for over 60 years. I it is not unusual to cut 10 or 12 pods off one stalk late in the season. I also have 25 hills, that makes for the excess.
Holy moly Jim - that's a lot of Okra! I planted 5 plants of Lee Okra from seeds that podster sent me;o) I'm happy to say they are producing well without a haircut. I'm getting 3 or 4 pods per plant at a time! I'll keep your haircut thought in the back of my mind where all my garden tricks are stashed... I fried it - that's the only way I know how to cook it and it's not slimy like I remember - lol.
60 days, indeterminate — An heirloom variety said to have originated in Eastern Siberia. The indeterminate vines produce flavorful, four to six ounce, deep red, smooth, globe-shaped fruits. Tolerant of cooler temperatures and starts producing early.
I have a tomato that is green with a dark stripes. I thought it was one of the black tomatoes but it just took a yellow cast. One day I felt of one and decided it was ripe. It is really a good tasting tomato but is green inside when you slice it. I guess they mixed my seeds up where I ordered the black tomatoes from. I asked about the muskovich because I had no idea what it looked like.
I only got 4 fruits from my 4 plants but I go to the farmers market to buy .
As promised here is picked okra recipe :
Wash okra well and cut excess stem, drain well
clean canning jars and lids and pack with whole okra,
bring to boil mixture of vinegar, pickling spices, salt, pepper corns, cloves of fresh garlic brown sugar, mustard seed to cover the okra in the jars. Make enough to cover the okra.Seal and refrigerate.
it is best to taste before boiling.
We love it and I can not keep up with the demand. it taste like the ones from the grocery stores.
Let me know how you like it. It has to be refrigerated and best served after few days. i eat them as snacks.
Sounds good. I will try to make some up soon. Nothing ready to pick here yet. I have harvested 1 1/2 qt zip bags of green beans, and a few hand fulls of cherry tomatoes. My son eats the tomatoes before they get into the house. I figure I will have some in a week or so.
Jim41 - Thanks for posting that info about pruning.
Last year I grew a 10 foot row of Cajun Delight okra. It didn't have many leaves on it, the stalks were almost bare, but I thought it produced OK. I'd have to save up about 3 days picking to have a frying pan full.
My wife and I both love fried okra so this year I planted enough that I thought I'd get a good batch every day for frying or freezing. I planted 50 feet of okra, but I switched over to Clemson Spineless 80. So far I've been real disappointed with it, and I was thinking of giving that variety a negative review in PlantFiles for being unproductive.
I've never seen okra plants thrive so. I've got 5' tall thick, bushy plants with leaves up to 18" in diameter. But the production of pods has been so poor I'm not getting any more okra this year than I did last year off a 10' row. I pick daily, and I'm getting only ONE pod for each 4 or 5 plants. That's not right.
After reading your post, I just went out and pruned about 2/3 of the leaves off my plants - including all those real big leaves. The plants still look OK, and I bet that's been my problem.
I've never pruned okra before, but I've never had bushy plants like these before either. Thanks, I'm hoping that fixed it.
My okra is going like crazy, even in this 100º+ temp! We have about 6 Emerald Green Velvet okra plants and we get at least 1-2 pods off them daily. We just cut the tops off and toss into a freezer bag in the freezer. When it's full, we eat it. Right now, DH is in the kitchen getting ready to fry some up.
The okra itself is now above the tops of the leaves! Yikes!
Ozark, don't give up on Clemson Spineless yet. That is about the most popular okra grown in NC with many folks not thinking of ever growing a different kind. Remember, okra (like tomatoes, etc) will tend to produce more foliage than flowers if over-fertilized.
Most folks here do as Jim suggested, trim the leaves as the plant grows. This is normally done below the most recent harvest. In other words, pick the pod(s) and the branches below the lowest one picked get whacked off. By the end of the summer you tend to have a naked stalk most of the way up the plant with few leaves/flowers/pods at the top.
As for me, I tend to get tired of picking okra so began taking my weedwhacker to them, cutting the whole plant down by two-thirds. (I have a saw blade on my weed eater.) This gives me a reprieve from having to pick every day. In a few weeks or so there are plenty of new shoots coming on the shortened plants and I can resume picking up until fall.
Stephanie, Emerald Velvet is a good producer here, too. I also recommend Perkins Long Pod to many of my customers as it can get quite long pods and still remain tender so perhaps some of ya'll might like to try it next year.
And pickled okra? Oh Belle, don't get me started! That's one of the few things I can each year, can't get enuff of it!
Belle, although I have several pickled okra recipes in my Recipe Folder that friends have shared with me over the years I have to admit I prefer to "cheat".
I really think you can't go wrong buying "Mrs. Wages" dill pickle mix and that's what I used for okra. I will point out though that Mrs Wages has a "dill pickle" mix and a "Kosher dill pickle" mix...the kosher mix is far superior to the regular dill pickle mix (at least to my taste buds!).
I also like to add a cayenne pepper (or two!) to each jar so some are spicy.
If you want to store the pickled okra thru the winter, rather than keep in fridge, have your jars nice and hot, fill with okra, pour boiling hot juice over them, remove air pockets, put on the hot lids, and they'll normally seal without water bathing. (If you choose to do it this way I'd boil your jars ten minutes to sterilize them, just for safety's sake.) I've often waterbathed them but it tends to make the okra a bit soft.
And now, off to transplant some of my okra plants, dang deer keep eating them down to nubs so will move them to a safer place.
"Ozark, don't give up on Clemson Spineless yet."
Thanks, Shoe - I'm not giving up on Clemson Spineless. That's the okra variety I grew for years, and I had good results with it. But it's mostly Clemson Spineless 80 I've got this year, and I'm not happy with it.
I mail ordered a pack of Millionaire okra in the spring, and I didn't buy enough seed. I forgot that I wanted to plant a bunch more okra this time, and the Millionaire pack only planted about 12' of row. I picked up three packs of Clemson Spineless 80 at Lowe's and used those to plant the remaining 38'.
Clemson Spineless 80 sounded like a good variety from the description on the pack - it's supposed to be an "improved" version of Clemson Spineless. Not in my opinion, it isn't.
Now when I pick, I get one or two pods off every Millionaire okra plant. I get one pod off about every fourth Clemson Spineless 80 plant - the difference in production is about six to one! You can see the difference from clear across the garden, and I may take a picture for PlantFiles. In the mornings, every Millionaire plant has a bloom or two, and the rest of the row shows a bloom about every four feet. That ain't right.
Since these two kinds of okra were planted at the same time, have the same conditions, and I've trimmed leaves off both of them - I can only blame the poor production on that Clemson Spineless 80 variety. Needless to say, I won't be planting it again.
We grew Clemson last year and had good success with it. This year, I was looking for something that would also be good if it grew a little long since it's hard to get out every day and night to harvest with the hot temps. I've been very satisfied with the Emerald Green Velvet. It also stays a bit firm when you fry it, which is a good thing. I'm not a fan of soggy fried okra!
Today, the husband declared the okra "almost" too tall to harvest from today. Told him he was gonna have to get the ladder!
Ozark, thanks for that input. I'd go so far as to call in valuable input. C.Spineless "80" is new to me and it certainly doesn't sound like something I want to try now. Did your plants top out around 4-5 ft as they say it would?
I hope you post in Plant Files your pics, and give feed back, too.
As for the Millionaire, I see it is a hybrid. Would you buy it again (since you can't save seeds) or are you planning on going back to Clemson Spineless OP?
In one of my seed-saving gardens I took a great shot of "Betty's White Okra" (no relation to Betty White the actress!). Pretty, eh?
Good golly, Shoe - the pods you show on that one plant are about what I get in a day's picking from my whole 50 feet of okra! I understand that you're letting them get overgrown to save seeds, but that's still a lot of okra on one plant.
Yes, I like Millionaire okra and I'd grow it again. It's only about 5' tall and not too itchy, and production is pretty good. Last year I grew Cajun Delight and I liked it real well except it itched me to death. I'm talking big welts on my hands and arms every time I picked it.
I might grow Clemson Spineless again, but certainly not Clemson Spineless 80. The C.S. 80 does top out at about 5 to 6 feet, but that doesn't help much if there's no okra to pick off it! Most likely I'll try Emerald Green Velvet next time, as I've never grown it and I've read some good reports. I may try the old-fashioned Cowhorn okra, too.
Yes, I've grown Red Burgundy okra before. I wasn't too impressed with it, except the color is unique.
Shoe, what's your recommendation for a variety that'll give us a WHOLE bunch of tender okra in a 50' row - to really fill up the freezer and the frying pan?
Edited to add this PS - Thanks, sawpalm, for that post about roasting okra in the oven with olive oil, salt, and cayenne pepper. My wife fixed the last batch that way and we really like it!
Have mercy 'pon my soul, Folks. It's hotter'n a fire-eaters tonsils out there today, heat index of 100-billion, or sumpin' like that.
Ozark, I've grown Clemson Spineless more years than any other variety. I guess it is because it is so acclimated to this area and was "the" okra for local folks. I may have posted above that I get so much okra that I have to take a break from picking it and will cut the plants down by about half to give me a break, then continue picking again in a few weeks from the new growth.
I grew Emerald two years and it was fairly productive but I often-times like to just "stir fry" okra (in a big black skillet, sweet onions, olive oil) and noticed that the thicker walls of Emerald kept throwing my timing off, making me keep the other foods on simmer while it finished cooking! (My fault, I know!) I will grow Emerald again though as it was fairly productive even considering the smaller plants.
"Baby Bubba" is probably my most hated okra, just in case you're thinking of checking it out. I grew it for my customers who have small gardens or do container gardening. Unfortunately it is the toughest okra I've ever tried to eat; I have no doubt it would jerk the teeth out of a cornfed mule and would be an unkindness to feed it to one.
Perkins Long Pod is a good producer. I put some in fairly late this year but will use that as an excuse to see how production is during the waning/shorter daylight hours of August/Sept/October. :>)
I'll have to look back thru my files and see if I have listed any other varieties and have pics. If so I'll post them.
(Ya'll see what this heat did? Ran me into the air-conditioned shoffice and caused me to rant on.)
Steph, thanks for the compliment/comment on the okra pic..wish I could say I had something to do with it. We've had African heat here this summer and that okra just loves it!
OK, an update on my okra situation. The "Clemson Spineless 80" variety I was griping about in my posts above has finally come into good production. It's producing as many pods as Millionaire now, if not more. BUT - it's now 120 days since it was planted!
Clemson Spineless 80 hardly produced at all during about six weeks of midsummer, while Millionaire produced the whole time, and still is. I won't be planting "80" again!
Next year I'll grow about 50 feet of okra again, and I found out this time that takes four regular-size packs of seed. I think I'll plant four different varieties and see how they compare. Clemson Spineless (not "80") should be one, it's the old standby. Shoe says Perkins Long Pod is good, so that's another.
I've grown Millionaire and Cajun Delight now and they're fine, but I'd be open to trying some new varieties. Any suggestions for two others?
"The Velvet Green Emerald is STILL going crazy! It's unbelievable and I'm soooooooo tired of okra! It's coming out my ears and my freezer! LOL"
Ha, not me! Since sawpalm's tip, above, we've quit breading and frying okra. We started cutting it into 1/2" pieces with olive oil, salt, and black pepper - we found we like it better with black pepper than with cayenne pepper. Then my wife roasts it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes - we like it soft and browned a little, and it's still a bit crunchy at 10 minutes.
My wife has a full-size cookie pan, and I can pick half enough okra to fill that pan every two days. So, once every four days we have that cookie pan full - a single layer of okra about 18" x 24". That's a bunch of okra, but we're really enjoying it. I'll try to freeze some for winter, if we can quit eating it all as soon as it's picked. lol
Ozark, I'm with you on the Clemson Spineless. It hasn't produced worth a diddly in my garden. Last year, with the Cajun Delight, I was picking every two days or so and had okra out my ears. I decided to try the Clemson this year and am very dissappointed. All the fruits are deformed and the ants have taken over. Even as hot as it was here last summer, I had zero problems with ants on the Cajun Delight. I'm going back to the gloves and Cajun Delight, then I might just get me some okra!
I'm beginning to wonder if there's something going on with the seeds we've been buying and planting lately. Seems like an inordinately large percentage of the growers having conversations this year have had only marginal success with the seeds they planted.
I'm beginning to think it's not just the weather...why does the term "conspiracy theory" and seed companies come to my mind?
Could they have genetically altered the seeds to be less productive for some strange reason? Not trying to be paranoid or anything (not my style), but it sure is squirrely that so many seeds are failing lately...
I don't think it was the 80, just regular ol Clemson Spineless. I had read that it was a pretty good one too, hence the purchase. It was Burpee. Normally I get seed from Johnny's Selected Seed, but I was late this year and got it at the Walmarts. Never doing that again.
As for the ants...well, maybe I'm just looking for another reason to dislike it. It could not possibly be the lack of attention to pesticides...*grin* The ants were responsible for killing my potatoes.
I'm with you Gymgirl. The Squash seeds come to mind immediately. I have planted squash for the past 5 years, & I get big plants, lots of flowers but no fruit. I have tried everything from extra watering,no watering, etc. & nothing helps to bring on the squash. My current plants have never had any female flowers. ONlY Males. So, is it the seed?I am referring to yellow squash. Either growing vegetables is extremely difficult or something is going on. Something seems to be killing our plants. I wonder if this is only happening in Texas? Maybe our soil isn't worth a dorn.
Shoe, I am ROFL. Ants do seem to be the major "crop" in my garden. Now if I could just catch 'em without getting chewed to death in the process! I DO like the irony though. Biting the d*mn ants that would have bit me!
I wasn't allowed to plant squash this year. Not after last year, when everybody I know would slam their door and hide when they saw me approaching with a bag in my hands, when I filled a tabletop in the break room at Lowe's with zucchini free to all takers, and when I was seriously considering looking for cars in the WalMart parking lot with the windows down so I could leave a bag of squash on the seat.
We've still got 2009 squash in our freezer, and I wish it would just go away. When there's a famine in Africa or somewhere, why don't we just send zucchini seeds? lol
"Sorry Ozark, I meant Squash."
I've tried several varieties of zucchini, and they all go nuts in my garden. Last year I only grew six plants and they would have fed 3 or 4 families until they got sick of it. I've been working rich compost into my soil for years and I water with soaker hoses, maybe that's why zucchini grows (too) well for me.
In Okra news, my Clemson Spineless 80 rows are finally producing decently, though I won't plant that variety again.
I barbecued hamburgers and ham-and-pineapple kabobs yesterday. One of our big hickory trees died last winter and I had to cut it down, so I've been barbecuing over hickory-wood coals instead of briquettes. We've got a metal tray with holes in it for the barbecue, so we loaded that with cut-up okra with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I roasted the okra over hickory in a closed barbecue at about 300 degrees for 40 minutes. Now, that was GOOD!
I am starting to think my okra is psychic. I put it on the list of things to purge when I cleaned out the veggie beds this weekend for the fall garden, and wouldn't you know it, the things had a whole meal's worth of okra on them when I went out with the shovel in hand. Sheesh. I'll give them another week or so, but then they're gone!
I picked out my Okra varieties for 2011, and I've received all the seeds now. I'm growing a lot of it, but my wife and I enjoy it a lot. We've quit frying it, and we're cutting it into 1/2" pieces, coating it with olive oil, adding a little seasoning but no breading, and baking it on a cookie sheet in the oven until it turns olive-green with a little light brown on the high spots. I've been reading that Okra has some good vitamins and health benefits, and I think it's good for us when prepared this way. It's GOOD, that's for sure.
I've grown Millionaire and Cajun Delight with good results in the past, but Clemson Spineless 80 was unproductive for me last year. This time, I'll try some other varieties that are new to me and have good reviews.
Hill Country Heirloom Red
Perkins Long Pod
If the Cowhorn is as productive as I expect, we'll have lots and lots of Okra. We can handle that!
Take what you do one step further. After the okra's browned, set it aside. Run some sliced up spicy italian or andouie sausage or beef links, etc., chicken wings/legs, short-boned beef stew meat (with the bone), and some chopped up seasoning ham through the broiler and brown all that, too. Put aside. Peel some fresh shrimp and put the meat aside. Boil the shells and the heads until it foams then strain that stock.
Go get yourself a couple boxes of Zatarain's Gumbo Mix/Base (NO RICE!!!). Use 2 cups of the shrimp stock, and 2 cups each Low-Sodium beef and chicken broths to make up the 6 cups of liquid each box of mix calls for. Don't use any water, please.
Chop a TRINITY: onions, bell peppers, celery and sautee in a bit of oil until opaque but not too wilty.
Boil the roux with the beef stew until it's fork tender. Stir frequently, cause it'll stick to the bottom of your pot and burn. Adjust your additional seasonings (taste the roux first, as it tends to be on the salty side -- just some cayenne pepper and onion and garlic powder should be all that's necessary -- oh, yeah, a good splash of Louisiana Red Hot sauce, too!). Adjust the thickness of the gravy as you want with more of the stock(s) til you get a flavor you like. Then add everything else EXCEPT the shrimp. Cook gently until the chicken is done (just short of falling off the bones), and the okra is tender.
Add the shrimp at the last 10 minutes of cooking everything together nicely. Do NOT overcook the shrimp.
Serve over a bed of fluffy white rice, and enjoy...
Gymgirl - Wow, thanks! Two sentences into your post my eyes glazed over, and I called my wife.
My job, you see, is to eat and enjoy the dishes she cooks. How they're made, I have no idea - and if it weren't for her I'd be living on Burger King and Subway meals.
She's thrilled to get your recipe - she's been looking for a good gumbo recipe as we've enjoyed it at restaurants in New Orleans, but as a Brooklyn girl she's lost when it comes to gumbo. That's OK, as I've had the benefit of her being raised with some great Polish dishes, and over the years she's expanded to Italian, Mexican, and good ol' Missouri country cooking too. You ought to taste how she fixes the crappie filets I bring home!
I copied your post into Word, and I've saved the file and printed out a paper copy for her. We'll be trying and enjoying Okra Gumbo as soon as I can get some more Okra raised! Thanks again.
Use some good spicy Polish sausage, too! And, please send me a dmail notice after you've tried the gumbo. You can order boxes of Zatarain's Gumbo Mix online.
I used to swear by a homemade, smoke-up-my-kitchen, spash-grease-all-over-my-stove, big-black-cast iron skillet-roux -- until a group of 12 old-school Southern cooks sat around my mother's table one year "oooooohing" and "aaaaaaaaaahing" about her wonderful smooth, beautiful dark brown gumbo roux --
I have an okra plant that is at least 7 feet tall, and so after the freeze, should I cut it down, or let it stand and see what happens? I just know that there are some experienced vegetable growers out there that can answer my question. Thanks, Peter
It thrives in the heat and continues to produce in the dead of summer. It will get about 6' tallor taller. Allow at least a foot or more between your final plant out. The leaves branch out about 18" or so from the stalk. I'd only remove the very bottom leaves and not worry about trimming the bottom leaves all the time. The aphids LOVE okra, so be on the lookout for them. We have these clicky bugs here (I think they are called click bugs, really) and they live on the plants, but don't do any damage to it, so I leave them alone. The okra grows off the top of the plant as it grows. It will grow in a cluster of 4 or 5 pods at a time. You can freeze the pods as you pick them until you get enough to serve.
I live double-duty plants when you can eat the leaves too - I bet you can eat the flowers, just like hibiscus. When we lived in South Florida, I used to add hibiscus flowers to a salad - they taste like lettuce.
I'm trying a bunch of Okra varieties this year. We'll probably still get a freeze or two, so it'll be May before I can plant Okra.
I'm planning on short rows of five varieties - Hill Country Red, Perkin's Long Pod, Stewart's Zeebest, Cowhorn, and Betty's White. The "Betty's White" name makes me think of Betty White, of course. Thanks again for those seeds, Shoe.
I've been told that I'll have to top the Cowhorn plants when they're 6 feet tall, or I'll have to pick it with a stepladder. Is that right?
I love the Japanese varieties. They're small and very tender. I started 6 of the Japanese and another 6 Israeli's. The Israeli's love lots of heat so they'll probably do good for you guys down south. I can never ever have too much okra. I love it stewed with lamb and spices over rice or couscous.
I had been to a farm to pick some okras and noticed that they are not tall at all like mine and has several branches with tons of fruits. Do they prune them before they flower? I just love okra and my favorite is grilling them and dip it with balsamic ginger dressing with olive oil and brown sugar.
Your pictures are awesome and must harvest 100's of them !!!! Belle
"My question is this: which way do I plant them? Nib UP, or nib DOWN? Is the white nib the root or the stem?"
I don't know, but I don't think it matters. With onion sets and such, it's important to plant them right side up - but seeds are normally just in a random position in the ground. They'll figure it out.
I've never soaked okra seeds before, but I've decided to this year. Without soaking I often get spotty germination, and okra is always slow to sprout. Why is H2O2 better than plain water, and how much of it do you mix with water? I didn't know about using H2O2, which is hydrogen peroxide - right?
I plant it which ever way it lands when I drop the seed.
I often soak my okra seed in Clorox. You just have to keep a check on it and not let it get to soft. Usually 30 to 45 minutes is long enough. When I use water I like to soak it at least over night. If you want the seed to be sprouting when you plant then it takes about 48 hours in water.
I just use tepid water, overnight, and they sprout by the next day if the seeds are fairly fresh, by the second day if a bit older. Oftentimes they don't need any help with additives and such when soaking, it's when they are sown directly in the ground they seem to take forever, no doubt due to soil temperature and lack of moisture. I'd save the H. peroxide for older seeds or those much more stubborn than okra.
Linda, the white "nubs", called radicles, will be the root end. However it won't matter which way you put them in the ground/pots, they'll easily right themselves up very fast. They're smarter than we are! *grin
Do you use the young leaves? How many minutes do you cook the okra leaves? I know that the sweet potato leaves are edible and I plant the variety that i buy from the Oriental market. How do you prepare your sweet potato leaves? Do you ever sprout sweet potato?. Thanks, Belle
I use mature and young leaves sometimes, I mostly cooked them in my lentils, they cook as fast as the lentils. As for the sweet potato leaves, I saute them, or cook them in lentils and grain soup too, or when I cook my free-range chicken thighs on the stove in a skillet, I saute them first with onion, garlic a little salt, cumin and some oil, and I add sweet potato stems and leave, because they are sweet, they glaze the chicken wit a nice brown color, and when the chicken is done, it has a sweet taste to it.yumm! I sprout sweet potato all the time. All I need is a sweet potato that I put one end in a large cup with some water, and when it sprout all over I eat some, and plant the others in a large container in my garden. I had 2 harvests las year and a lot of sweet potato leaves! I love sweet potatoes mmmm. And Okra too!
I had some pretty unproductive okra last year. I was picking every other day, and it seemed like I'd get ONE pod off each 4th or 5th plant. Not right.
While working in the garden today, I had a new thought about what might have caused that. Last year I picked okra by snipping it off with clippers, not by breaking the entire stem off the stalk. I was leaving about half of each stem attached to the plants, and I don't think I did it that way in previous years.
Maybe, by leaving part of the stems on the plants, the plants "think" they're still loaded with okra and have successfully produced lots of seeds? Maybe that shuts down production?
What do you think about that? I won't use clippers this year, just in case.
I planted my okra seeds today after soaking them for 24 hours. I planted 20 seeds each of Perkin's Long Pod, Hill Country Red, Betty's White, Stewart's Zeebest, and Cowhorn. That ought to give me an interesting variety, and lots of okra.
I rooted and sprouted an organic sweet potato in a large planter. Never grew sweeties before. Please tell me what to do with the vine as it fills the container. Do I let it spill over and out? Do I cover it with soil. And just wind it around and around in the tub?
This had been a very lengthy thread and my question was never answered. I had seen okra at the farm and were very bushy and tons of fruits. They must have 20 branches and all with fruits. They are also short plants. What do they do? Do they pinch them to branch? Steph mailed me some seeds and I want it to produce like hers. thanks. Belle
There are many different varieties of okra, so it's possible that what you saw was a different variety that grows short. I never pinch branches, I just cut off the ones at the bottom when the leaves start touching the ground to allow for better air circulation.
Okra has extremely thin leaves, top 2 foot of plant, I don't know the type, anyone tell me if this needs attention. Only large leaves on bottom 3 foot of plant. In my zone ( 9 a ) very hot now, 90's to 100's. Thanks for any info.
Our project gardens are geared toward research and development of new strains of high production, open pollenated, Certified Organic, crop food plants. To accomplish our goal, we need a few items that are relative to our research here; a very large compost tumbler, a small greenhouse or hoop house to start seeds, accurate thermometers, hygrometers, and row covers to protect our young Certified Organic plant crops.
Our main, quarter acre research garden is Certified Organic and has never been plowed by a tractor. We employ a team of mules and a local farmer/ wagon enthusiast, each Spring to break our ground in exchange for labor as needed on his farm.
We trade for chicken feed, fire wood, farming impliments, post hole digging, mowing, picking up rocks, you name it... This is our full time job. We make our living as Farmers, Researchers, Developers, Innovators, Field Trial Consultants, Public Speakers at Farming Conventions, Schools, Organic Seminars, and University Level Classrooms. We have also conducted on-farm research and field trials for Marrone Bio-Innovations in the pursuit of better and more effective Certified Organic Herbicides.
Our accomplishments through certified organic, on-farm, research will be featured on February 11th, 2012 at the Moore Norman Technology Center , 13301 S Pennsylvania Ave. in Oklahoma City. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m., followed by workshops from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese, will be present.
Also, you can see us on Rockethub, under Science. Our project is called: Developing a New Strain of Crop-Food Plants. go to http://www.rockethub.com and press the red EXPLORE button, enter the name of our project in the search box to see photos of the huge okra success we had in 2011 during the drought and extreme high temperatures that caused other crops to fail.
Currently, we are working with OSU, and the ODAFF on seed increase of a newly developed strain of okra that is the result of seven years of research by selective breeding on our farm. If successful we will be able to release this new seed in 2013. . To make this seed available to others, we need to expand.
Using the closed system, selective breeding method, we have developed a new strain of okra that has consistantly produced plants with 30 to 60 branches, bearing over 40 pods of okra simultaneously. Our most successful specimen bore upwards of 300 pods of okra on 60 branches in one season! This would be a great asset to the okra loving gardener with only limited space, as okra, like corn, normally requires a huge amount of space.
The number of pods produced by this new, single plant strain is extraordinary in comparison to common okra plant production that varies from one to three branches, bearing only 20 to 30 pods per season.
It is our hope to put our new strain of okra into the hands of the public through seed increase by the end of 2012, making it available to other farmers, researchers, Universities, and back yard enthusiasts alike.
In years past, we have mixed all our own compost by hand with a pitch fork and wheel barrow, grown all of our own transplants in a makeshift cold frame, and rigged hundreds of feet of makeshift row covers from whatever plastic we could find... Last year, we had to enlist the help of a local school cafeteria to provide enough one gallon steel cans to cover 150 plants in anticipation of a coming hail storm. (By those efforts alone, the crop was saved, but who wants a hundred and fifty, rusty, steel cans laying around all season, just in case you need them again next year).
Due to our growing success (no pun intended) our operation has become too large to handle without implimenting additional equipment. That is why we need the very large compost tumbler; we are needing to organically supliment over 1,500 experimental okra plants this Summer... That will be ten rows of okra, 150' feet long.
(We plant a quarter acre garden each season). It is too big to suppliment organically by hand mixing alone, and is suffering from nutrient loss. We need to expand our compost production. With our current method of black tarped leaf piles, we can't break down enough grasses, leaves, and manures, fast enough to meet the needs of our growing plant space.
In addition to this, we need a small greenhouse to start 500 seeds of our newly developed strain of okra, 200 heirloom, open pollenated tomato plants, 2,000 onions, 100 cabbage, and 300 cucumber plants. In years past we have accomplished this task inside our house and inside our garage, but the plants are running us out of house and home!!! We need accurate thermometers and hygrometers to place under mulch to monitor conditions conducive to healthy seed germination, and delicate brushes used for hand pollenation.
We also need to buy real row covers that can be readily employed ahead of hail storms and unexpected freezing temperatures. One unexpected weather disaster can wipe out ten years of research efforts.