I'm still waiting for it to get warm enough to plant mine. It was in the mid 40's this morning. It should warm up by the first week of June. Do you think that might be too late to set seeds? Our first frost is usually around mid-October.
All all I know is, the hotter it is, the better the okra grow!
So, calculate when you'll have your hottest weather, and calculate starting seeds about what? 4-6 weeks before then? I soak my okra seeds overnight in a cup of water with a capful of H2O2, and those little white nubby babies are popping out in 1-3 days. Pick them up with a tweezer and plant them out where you want them.
I wish they grew faster in the period between "declaring" (I learned that term from UberShoe!) and that stem getting hard. Seems to take forever...
Last year we had 90's in June, but that was unusual. All I could think of was that okra loves hot weather and I didn't have any seeds. This year, I have seeds, but we've had an unusually cool spring. Yesterday's normal high should have been in the 80's and it was 59F. It's supposed to get up into the 90's on Sunday.
When I die, I'm going to ask to be put in charge of the weather!
"When I die, I'm going to ask to be put in charge of the weather!"
Heheheh! I second that. Honeybee is officially nominated!
Honeybee, I'd do like Linda suggested, go ahead and start some seeds now. You can start them in cell packs and let them get some size on them and then plant them out. That way you'll get a head start on your harvest. These cool temps we've been having will sure cause okra seed to take its merry ol' time germinating in garden soil.
Shoe - the inside temperature of our home is the same as that outside, so I'll wait until next week when it's supposed to warm up.
I've put a heatmat with a thermometer on my Christmas list for next year's growing season.
Honeybee, you're not far from me. I plant in June, and never have any problems with having plenty of Okra. I haven't even got their "home" ready yet. I just soak them in water and wait till they show the little nubbins, and they seem to do fine. One year I tried starting some inside, and even so, the direct seeded ones actually out-stripped the insiders when it came to producing. Who knows:)
Now, about you being in charge of the weather...
Are you sure you wouldn't be tempted to make everybody else go thru just what you had too? I can just see me;
"Thought you were gonna get early 'maters this year, huh? HAHAHAHAHA...Take that!!!
Watered today, didja? heeheeheehee...washed your car, too, you say?"
No rain? Here comes the sun, do-da-do-da...here comes the sun..."
I don't trust me. I hope you're a much kinder person.
Bellieg, I've never pinched the top. I haven't had a bumper crop of okras yet, either. Hoping to get what you're wishing for this season. I have 4 plants going now in eBuckets, and they've been taking their sweet time growing. We've had two back-to-back weeks with a couple nights into the mid-50s, so I knew they'd stall out again.
Seems okra just don't compromise much on that heat thing. With them it's "all heat, or nothing!"
I might go ahead and plant a few more seedlings I still have in cups...
I've never pinched mine and they've done fine. I do trim off bottom branches if they start touching the ground to aid in air circulation and watering. I also just direct sow mine, no pre-soaking. I know we can plant in the dead of summer and still get a good crop. I think I'm going to sow some this weekend since I've yanked out all my lettuce now.
Could you have one spot that's 72 during the day, and 50 at night? And could there be a button for a week of something else? I may need to rethink this. I _like_ seasons. That and the heat are why I left FL. I guess what I'd really like is to eliminate the extremes. Never hotter than 85, not colder than 30 (and only when I want snow, another button). Rain on demand, as specified. No severe thunderstorms, tornadoes or Hurricanes.
Sigh. I can dream, can't i?
A couple of weeks ago we had a week with highs in the 80's and one day broke a record at 91. I soaked my okra seeds and planted 20 seeds each of Hill Country Red, Stewart's Zeebest, Perkins Long Pod, Cowhorn, and Betty's White.
Then we got a week with temps like March again - highs around 50 and lows in the 30's. I figured NONE of that okra would come up. It did better than I expected, I got 26 okra seedlings out of 100 seeds - 26% germination. Cowhorn must be the toughest of the bunch - more primitive, I bet. I got 50% germination with Cowhorn, in those cold conditions.
Now we're in a pattern of strong thunderstorms. Yes, we're near Joplin and that tornado stayed on radar for 100 miles and passed 10 miles south of us! It's been storming all day today with more expected tomorrow and the day after.
This evening, I've put seeds of all five varieties to soak so I can replant in a couple of days. At least our temps are warm now. I'll have to plant 'em in the mud - but they like soaking and I think they'll do OK.
Steph mailed me 25-30 okra seeds and I have 6 plants. i had always bought seedlings and I thought I will have more that sprouted. Also I planted cukes and out of 20 I think i only saw 4. what went wrong?. Thanks. Bellie
We had a fabulous crop of okra last year at our community garden (Food Bank Community Garden, Winston Salem, NC). Nearly 300 lbs for the regional food bank.
Yes, I do start to prune the tops when they get about 5-6 feet tall. They start producing again from the bottom and middle. I think I read the idea here on Dave's somewhere, tried it and it worked. We had the hottest summer on record here and they loved it.
Nope, not flea beetles, their holes tend to be more "shotgun style". The holes I see, one big one on the most forefront plant and some on the upper left side plant, look more like leafhopper damage, caterpillar/worm damage, or slug damage. Have you seen and grasshopper-like creatures in your garden, Mindy?
bellieg, wishing you good luck w/your okra harvest this year. Glad you got some going.
Since the Japanese Beetles arrived here 10 or 12 years ago, they always hit my okra pretty hard later in the summer. Okra is hardy though, as you say - and it goes right on bearing with the beetles knawing on it and the leaves full of holes.
I've transplanted some okra the last couple of days - moving plants from where they came up too close into gaps in the rows, evening things out. That's been working fine, a couple of plants wilted a little but they perked back up when the rows were watered.
I've got a seed catalog that recommends growing six okra plants for each person in the family. It's just my wife and I but we love okra - I counted today, and I've got a total of 67 plants, five different varieties. That oughta do it. lol
Sometimes I get a little carried away. My wife won't let me grow zucchini any more - since the year I was going around WalMart's parking lot leaving bags of zucchini in cars that had windows down. Friends were pretending not to be home when they saw me coming, really.
Two years ago I grew 8 heads of cabbage and we enjoyed eating it and I made sauerkraut. The kraut turned out REAL good, but we didn't have near enough of it.
So last year I doubled that and grew 16 heads of cabbage. We enjoyed it fresh, gave some heads away to friends and family, and canned sauerkraut. That kraut is GREAT, but we ran out of it again in mid-winter.
This year I doubled the amount again and I'm growing 32 heads of cabbage. I mail-ordered seeds for Danish Ballhead Cabbage which grows a dense head that's good for kraut-making. Somehow I was under the impression that variety makes SMALL heads. Nope, I just read in a seed catalog that Danish Ballhead makes 10-lb. cabbage heads and these things are getting enormous in my garden. If they all make (and they're lookin' good) my wife and I will have about 320 lbs. of cabbage to deal with!
I've wondered, when there's a famine in Ethiopia or somewhere, why don't we just send each of those people a pack of Zucchini seeds? Two months later they'd all be annoying each other, trying to give the surplus away. Just sayin'.
Here's my 15' row of Stewart's Zeebest okra today. I have four similar rows of other okra varieties.
Some of these plants are as little as 8" apart and they probably ought to be thinned. I've transplanted all the okra I can into gaps in the rows and I don't have any more room for it. After all the trouble I had getting it to come up during our cold spell in May, and after having to replant, I hate to kill any plants.
I've fertilized and mulched these rows, and there's a soaker hose under the mulch in each row. My okra will have real good growing conditions from here on, and I'm hoping it'll do OK even if the plants are a bit crowded. We'll see.
Uh-oh, I think I just figured out where I've been messing up. I've always planted okra in rows and I've tried for spacing of a foot or so between plants - but that often works out to 8" or so, like this year.
Bushy plants? I've never had any bushy plants or any side branches at all to speak of. My okra generally grows in a single stalk with blooms and pods at the very top of the stalk only. Lower leaves drop off during the season, so later on these stalks are almost bare.
I just read this on a gardening website:
"Direct sow seed 1" deep and 4-8" apart. Space rows 3' apart. Okra plants can get large and branched. Thin to 18-24", when seedlings are 4-6" tall, to give the plants room to branch. Crowding will result in thin plants with few fruits."
"Thin plants with few fruits" - that's just what I've had! Last year I planted FORTY FEET of okra, and at the height of the season I'd pick it every other day. I'd get only one pod off each third or fourth plant, and that's once every two days - very unproductive, I thought.
Okra experts, chime in here please. I think I'd better thin my okra rows to one plant every 18"-24". What do you think?
stephanietx - Last year, I figure my crowded okra was giving me maybe ONE 2"-3" long pod, per week, per plant. I know that's not right.
With your okra plants spaced 18 to 24 inches apart and branched out - can you give me an idea of how much okra you get from a plant when you pick it? I've been growing okra in crowded rows so long, I'm trying to figure out what's normal.
Pretty sure I'm going to be thinning some okra today. Thanks.
Ozark, when I was actively selling okra at the mkt there always came a point I was overloaded with it and also tired of picking it every day. At some point (early '90's when I got a weed-eater that operated a blade) I went down the row and cut all the plants back by half, leaving a 3 ft or so tall plant. This gave me several weeks of NOT picking okra. (Yay! A break!)
When the plants started showing new growth again they were branch and I had plenty of okra to pick all the way up till a hard freeze. (Bear in mind, as the days shorten and nights cool off okra production will wane.)
So, some something to consider if you want to experiment...maybe thin some, maybe let some be and trim the tops, encouraging branching, eh?
Shoe (Off to cage peppers, so fully loaded the branches are breaking)
We got TONS!! I still have okra frozen in my freezer from last year's harvest! LOL I think we ended up with 4-6 plants and we'd get several pods a day from each. This was taken July 7, 2010. You can see several okra pods in the basket.
Well, I thinned my okra plants today. I hated to pull some up after having a hard time getting them sprouted, but I think they needed to be thinned.
Now I've got 40 plants, and they look good spaced out properly. I bet I'll have more okra on 40 plants spaced 18"-24" apart than I would have had on 67 more crowded plants. We'll see.
I haven't done any topping of okra plants, but I bet that'll come later - especially with Cowhorn okra, which I understand I'll have to either top or pick from a stepladder later in the season. That stepladder thing ain't happening! lol
I always thin my okra to about 3 feet a part. I have a good friend that that thins his the length of his hoe handle. He makes more okra that anyone I know. He raises his to sale and usually has about a half acre of it. It is something to see.
Yep, I know I've done the right thing by thinning my okra plants - though they're probably still too close at 18"-24" apart. That's OK, I'll go with that this year as it's a big improvement over how I've crowded them in previous years.
My plants are only a couple of feet tall now, but they're already showing a big improvement from what I've always had before. They're two feet WIDE as well as tall, growing blossoms, and have leaves as big as a dinner plate. Healthy looking!
I'm growing five varieties, and at this point Texas Hill Country Red is thriving even more than the others. Maybe it's well-suited for my area, or at least for the conditions in this area this year. I'm looking for a "favorite" variety to plant year after year, and we'll see how that turns out.
I gave my okra a severe "haircut" this morning. The okra PLANTS were thriving - 3 feet tall and 3 feet across, with leaves as large as 2' in diameter. But, no production. We haven't had any okra to pick off them yet.
Last night I looked back on the original Okra thread where this thread came from. Last year, Jim41 in LA, Horseshoe, and others were talking about pruning the leaves off okra to get production started - so that's what I did.
I only cut leaves off, especially the older growth big leaves. I didn't cut any branches with growth centers at the end. I'm trying to encourage branching and blooming and discourage excess leaves. Something had to be done - out of 60+ plants I found only two pods of edible size, two blooms open this morning, and four overgrown, woody pods that must have set on early. Those overgrown pods won't happen again - I can see 'em now!
This is my row of Stewart's Zeebest okra - I've got four other rows with four other okra varieties. I pruned them all and I figure I trimmed 2/3 to 3/4 of the foliage off my okra plants - pretty severe. It looks right to me, though. What do you think?
"You have a very nice garden with nice looking okras."
Thanks. Here's another of my okra rows after the "haircut". The red stems of Texas Hill Country Red in the middle of that row really show up now.
Some Cowhorn plants are nearest the camera, and Betty's White (no kidding) at the far end of the row. Another row of okra (barely seen) and pole beans are on the left, cabbages on the right, and sweet peppers and tomatoes in the distance.
I'm gonna leave all those okra leaves I trimmed on the ground, they add to the mulch.
Yep, I'm retired. Taking care of our six-acre place, gardening, fishing, hunting, running the grandkids around, restoring antique tractors, woodworking, etc., somehow keeps me a lot busier than I was when I was working. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it. LOL
Can someone explain or link me to how I save Clemson Spineless seeds? Sorry, this has probably been addressed a million times here but this is my first time to grow okra. Fried some up last night and now I know I want to keep growing it. haha I did see that I'm supposed to let seed pods dry on the plants but is the seed pod the same thing as what one eats? Do I just choose some to leave alone til they're brown?
"Can someone explain or link me to how I save Clemson Spineless seeds?"
Saving okra seeds is easy. I just pick one plant toward the end of the season and quit harvesting from it. Let a bunch of seed pods (yes, the ones we eat) get overgrown on that one plant. I let them turn brown and die on the plant, but not to the point they split open and drop seeds out.
When they're good and dry, but before they split, cut those pods off and keep them indoors at room temperature for the winter. In the spring, break them open, shell the seeds out, and plant them.
You could also shell the seeds out and put them in an envelope in the fall, but I like to keep them in the pods all winter to make sure they've dried out completely. I usually put the pods in a tinfoil pie pan on the workbench in my shop.
That severe haircut I gave my okra plants six days ago didn't work. They grew giant leaves again and came back even bushier than before - and I've got NO okra production.
I trimmed them again this evening - and this time I removed all but new-growth leaves about 3" or less in diameter. I really whacked 'em back.
These plants aren't growing tall, they're growing wide. They're only about 2' tall, and I expected them (especially the Cowhorn) to be 4' or 5' tall by now. On every plant of every variety I found blossom buds that have turned brown and dried up instead of blooming - what's up with that?
I THINK I've made life too easy for them. They're the healthiest looking okra plants I've ever seen with main stems almost 2" in diameter, and they can grow leaves 18" across in nothing flat.
Our weather has been hot for weeks, the way okra likes it. I've mulched the rows with grass clippings so their roots are cooler and moist, and they have abundant water from soaker hoses. My farm supply store was out of the 10-20-10 fertilizer I usually use, so I side-dressed these with 12-12-12 about three weeks ago before I put the mulch around them. Maybe that was too much nitrogen and not enough phosphorus?
I think maybe I've made 'em so happy they have no reason to grow tall or produce seeds at this point. I'm thinking about mixing a little Superphosphate in the mulch around each plant and letting the rain soak it in. Maybe that would get some blooms and pods going?
Hey, I've sure got some pretty, healthy okra plants. Am I just getting impatient? Surely production will kick in later in the summer? Okra growers, what are your thoughts on this?
Welp, I've been watching this thread, mostly biting my tongue (ouch!) *grin
I'm not a believer that trimming leaves makes okra produce pods. After all, the better photosynthesis the better plants growth and production. You need those leaves, especially until you get a good balance of root growth and top growth. I'll knock off the lower leaves of the stalks as the plants get into production and get so bushy I can't walk between the rows though and by doing so there is no let up of pod production. And I really mean "knock" them off, right where the leaf petioles meet the trunk; it is useless to trip the leaves and leave half a stem.
Ozark, I'd nix the superphosphate, you have plenty of phosphorus from your manures/compost (was it you that amended with that?) and/or the 12-12-12. If you want to add anything I'd go with a magnesium foliar spray. Also, keep in mind most okra varieties take anywhere from an average of 55 to 65 days to produce and from quickly checking back on your sowing dates you are just now getting within that range. I remember reading you had to resow once. As for me, I start guesstimating production from the date of declaration, not date of sowing seed. If you are within that area of production I bet you'll see more pods coming on in the next week or two by doing nothing more.
And no, I don't recommend flushing your soil either. With your soaker hoses you have a slower-release set up going on, especially with the root systems still expanding. Besides, knowing you I imagine you were right on the mark as far as how much to use. Lastly, just think where the flushed N would go...down to the ground water? to the rows next to your okra? out into the grass, etc?
Shoe (who's okra is just now beginning to produce)
Well now, less than two months ago I was replanting and trying to get these things up in a cold, rainy late May.
And yup, I've got some RICH garden soil. I ought to - I've been adding compost from three 10' x 10' bins with a tractor bucket for years. I've got 12" nightcrawlers that shoot out of the dirt like snakes - they're almost scary.
And no, the side-dressing fertilizer wouldn't have changed much of anything. That was just a single handful of 12-12-12 strung along each 10' of row.
And yup, I didn't break all those leaves off. I trimmed them off with clippers so I guess with the leaf stubs it's like they're still attached.
Bottom line, I guess I'll quit expecting to harvest okra at around 50 days and give these humongous strong plants time to make me some. LOL Thanks!
Yep, Shoe - I feel the same way and wish we lived closer. I've got an idea that our common interests would extend beyond gardening into fishing and maybe into sampling an occasional bottle of my homebrew!
I'm gonna pick your brain before next season. Your introducing me to those great Romano beans has me wondering what other great varieties of veggies you grow that I don't know about.
I hope you have a big bunch of 'maters to pick. It's nasty hot here already this morning, but I'm headed out to the garden again to fiddle with stuff and see what's changed since the last time I looked. I garden the same way I worked - I worry about stuff and micromanage, but I usually end up with a good job on it. I recently had to tear down something I built about 15 years ago. Good golly, you don't want to have to do that - when I build something I over-engineer and it AIN'T gonna fall down. That's just the way I am. LOL
Gymgirl - Your thinking and advice was a lot clearer than mine. There I was figuring out all that complicated stuff when all I had to do was look at a calendar to see that these plants have been up less than 50 days!
It's a good thing we've got Shoe to keep us focused, huh?
".please forgive my misguided, but well-meaning advice. "
Linda, I wouldn't say it was misguided. It is a first thing thought to think 'too much N'...and that's important, too. We just have to remember to consider as many aspects as possible, not assume the first thing that comes to mind; taking in as much info as possible sure helps!
The pickup in okra production others may be reporting could be akin to people doing home remedies for BER and saying such and such really works to "cure it" when in reality had they done nothing the plants would've outgrown BER anyway. See how things could be easily swayed.
Sam, "I've got an idea that our common interests would extend beyond gardening into fishing and maybe into sampling an occasional bottle of my homebrew!"
Yep! Right there w/ya! And hopefully the next time I get to leave here I'll try to head to MO again. Five years ago I made it to Hannibal, Mo, visiting Mark Twain's haunts! Loved it! Rode back roads along the Mississippi River, cruised on a paddlewheel (topdeck and sipped a Heiniken), crawled the caves that Tom, Huck, and Becky got lost in, hung out in the museum and Twain's house, etc. Maybe next time (crossing fingers) I'll leave there and head our way, leaving footprints in the aisles between your garden rows.
And now, off to clean up some Candy onions for mkt then I get to sit and stare at the boob tube, watching reruns of Dick Van Dyke and Bob Newhart...I'm easily amused, ain't I!? :>)
"No okra yet!!! not even a flower. Belle"
It's the same here! I've got 60+ plants of five varieties of okra. They're healthy looking, and they're getting bushy again after two trimmings. They're only about 3' tall, though, even the Cowhorn.
I'm gonna quit worrying about it, keep the plants healthy, and figure they'll grow blooms and pods when they're good and ready. There's still August and September, and I still think we'll be covered up in okra when the time comes.
Long time, no talk to! If this heat is any indication of options for my final destination, I, here and now choose Heaven, forevermore!
I have an okra question. My crop seems to be revving up. I'm picking about 5-10 pods every other day. Some of the pods have some splotches on 'em. And, the Red Burgundy has some white pimply nodules. I cut through them, and they're not any insect pods, so is this just an okra "blemish?"
Here's a pic. Hope you can see some of the blemishes.
I think I've got an okra breakthrough going - finally! Our hot weather changed, we've had several good rains, and a couple of days in the 80's. I know okra likes heat, but this change seemed to get it going.
Now I've got 2 or 3 blooms and 2 or 3 pods set on every plant, every variety. The pods are just nubs, but I should be able to pick a batch in a few days. If this keeps up, in a week or so they'll be in full production. Woo-hoo!
Shoe, "Betty's White" looks like the most productive variety so far, and the plants are only half the height of the others. I like that.
"Where can I get Betty's White seed?. I do not have fruits yet."
Horseshoe was good enough to send me some saved seeds this spring. I don't know of a commercial source, but I found Betty's White Okra mentioned as "an heirloom from North Carolina" in another garden forum.
I'll be saving seeds, especially of that variety. Remind me when the time comes and I'll share.
Glad to hear you are getting some okra, Ozark... My plants just started really kicking in a couple weeks ago and also are shorter than I would have expected. But, I did set them out later than usual. Now they are getting taller by the day, bushing out quite a bit and I have okra that is too big to eat already due to my negligence in picking! I'll be "cleaning them up" this weekend though so I can start harvesting for my winter source.
>>""an heirloom from North Carolina" in another garden forum." Just curious where you saw that. I've shared them with a few other folks over the years. They are also listed with the Southern Seed Legacy (Univ of Ga). And no, there is no commercial source, at least not under that name since I named it after the woman who shared the seeds with me.
Remember, Ozark, okra readily crosses so you might want to hand pollinate a couple flowers and bag them.
Bell, if you'd like some seed I'd be glad to send you some.
The mention of Betty's White Okra is by "GardenLad" in KY, back in 2005. Maybe that's someone you sent seeds to? If so, you've been growing it for awhile.
Funny - I've been visualizing "Betty" as an old lady in NC back in the 1880's who passed this family heirloom okra variety down. Guess not, huh? If the name had been "Ashley" or somethin', I would have figured it was modern. LOL
Okay, "Garden Lad" is a former garden writer and heirloom collector. (I say "former" because I haven't seen any articles by him for a number of years now.) When I shared seeds of Betty's White with him he first wrote about it in Mother Earth magazine in 2002.
I got the seeds from Betty Harrison in 94/95. She'd grown them for decades, carrying on the stock her parents had been growing since 1923 when they received them as a wedding gift, which was normal in those days to help get the "family seed larder" started. Her parents rec'd the seed from relatives who had been growing it since the late 1800's.
Betty heard about me being a "preservist" (her words) and approached me at Walmart, recognizing me from a recent newspaper article about my seed saving/heirlooms. What makes the story of "Betty's White" so wonderful is as we talked over the next few weeks she mentioned where her parents farm was, I mentioned where mine is. It turns out we were both very familiar with the neighbor hood. Why?
At some point in time her parents moved from their original farm to "all the way across town" to a new piece of land, a distance of only 6 miles but I assumed it was quite a ways off back in horse and buggy days. Betty was raised at the new farm, still lives there to this day, and carried on with gardening. The clincher: It turns out my farm (ten acres) is on her parents original farm land, having been divided up. So ya see, Betty's White okra was grown on what is now my land, had traveled across town for decades, then returned back home, now being grown on land where it used to grow back in the '20s and beyond.
Betty Harrison is about 80 yrs old now, still gardening, still growing her okra.
Shoe - What a great story! Best wishes to Betty Harrison and her garden. So that white okra strain does come from the 1800's. I'm real glad that she shared it with you and that you've kept it going by sharing with others.
I got my first picking of okra today! It's just a small amount, but all 60+ plants and all 5 okra varieties have pods set on, so I think they'll be in full production very soon.
Shoe, contrary to your practice I'm giving the okra plants another haircut. It's not to increase production (though that would be good), but because they're so doggone bushy. I can't see or get in there to pick!
I put two okra rows, I think, 5' apart - and that was too close. Now the leaves have grown into each other and there's no path in between. I'm breaking off the older leaves so I can see to pick.
I don't know why my plants are so bushy this year. In the past, my okra plants have been pretty much straight stalks with a few leaves. These are looking mighty healthy, anyway - and finally starting to produce.
Ozark, I trim mine, especially when the leaves are so big you can't get in there. I just don't trim with the intent of better production. Right now I still have to go trim my rows as well as all the oversized pods off from several days of not picking.
My okra started out slow-growing, too, and fairly short plants. Only now are they getting some size on them (height) and they, too, are fairly bushy. I wonder if its something in the weather this year.
Shoe (off on a whistle pig hunt...it's eating my corn!)
I am enjoying this thread. I was wondering how easy is it to pickle the Okra in small batches?. I saw some at my Trader Joe's and would love to pickle some at home. Since you all are growing alot more than I will buy, what else will you use the okra for?. Looking for ideas for a surprise meal for okra lovers.
Thanks for the help.
There were tons of recipes last year. If you go back on Okra #1 you will see some interesteing recipes. I love pickled okra and are very pricey. I hope ypu can find it. i do not know how to cut and paste.
If we get as much okra as I'm hoping to, I intend to pickle some. I've never done it, but I make cucumber and beet pickles and it can't be much different - just vinegar and water and whatever spices are appropriate.
My reference on things like that is the Internet. Google "pickled okra recipes" and I bet you'll find a bunch of them!
Shoe - We might be the only ones on here who know what a whistle pig is. I hope you get him!
To cut and paste.
►Go to the beginning of the text you want to paste.
►LEFT Click and hold your mouse, then drag it over the text to highlight it (it's usually a blue field).
►Once it's all highlighted, leaving your curser close to the highlighted text, RIGHT Click your mouse and you'll see the option to COPY.
►Select COPY, then go to the page you want to paste your text onto.
►Position your curser where you want the text to appear, then RIGHT click and select paste.
►Your selected text should fall right where your curser is.
I usually buy l jar of pickled okra, & after eating the okra, I fill it daily with my picked okra out of my garden. They taste just like the store bought ones. I don't like slimmy okra, & the recipe they use tends to make the okra hard & good. I haven't had the luck of using my own recipe of vineagar & water.
Gymgirl - You're obviously more computer-literate than I am. How do you do those nifty pointy-things you used in your post, above? Thanks.
An okra cooking question - excuse the long story, but it's something I've been trying to figure out and maybe someone here can help:
Dating myself here, but I'm 65 and when I was a kid the Ozark Mountains were still pretty primitive in places. I remember when "modern" in a real-estate listing meant a house had indoor plumbing! So in ways I feel like I've lived in the 19th century and now it's the 21st - culture shock!
My grandma on my dad's side was born in 1881 and she'd been a widow since 1940 (really dating myself now). She's the one who introduced me to fried okra - which I REALLY loved. She grew okra in her backyard garden. She lived in a small town here just a block off the town square, but her house had no running water or indoor plumbing. She did have electricity.
Grandma was a wonderful cook, and she did all her cooking on an enormous cast-iron wood stove that had to date from 1900 or so. I'd go stay with her when I was around 11 or 12, and I'd help her pick her garden, including okra.
She'd have me build a big fire in that stove, to the point that yellow flames came about a foot out of the hole when she'd remove a burner lid. She'd put a big cast iron skillet on the fire and add some oil - I bet it was bacon grease (yeah, I know, we don't fry things in that anymore).
She'd cut the okra up bite-size and I believe she patted the pieces with a towel to get them kinda dry. She'd put flour, salt, and pepper in a brown paper bag and add some okra pieces and have me shake the bag. I don't know if there was also a little corn meal in there or not. The result was that VERY LITTLE breading stuck to the okra, mostly just on the cut ends.
Here's the thing - then she'd add the okra to the hot skillet and that thing was so stinking hot there was almost an explosion. There'd be a big "whoosh" and steam would go to the ceiling! Then she'd stir-fry it for just a short time until the breading was golden brown, and that was it.
Her fried okra was absolutely wonderful. There was very little breading so the flavor of the okra really came through - it'd melt in your mouth. It wasn't a bit greasy because I think the grease was too hot to absorb into the food.
Compared to the fried okra we get today, grandma's was a LOT better. Now there's too much breading and you can't really taste the okra, and it's greasy. I know the solution is to use an oil that can get very hot (peanut oil, maybe?), use little breading, and super-heat the skillet like grandma did. That's hard to do with modern equipment. For one thing, we can't use a cast-iron skillet as it would scratch our flat-surface electric stove. We've never got anything that hot on our stove, either.
Any suggestions, anyone? Heck, maybe I oughta just get a cast-iron skillet, build a big wood fire in the barbecue, and use bacon grease. Grandma lived to be 90+, as did most of the other old-timers in my family who never heard of cholesterol and ate that way all their lives. LOL
You can get to the nifty symbols by using the number keypad on the right of your keyboard!
►Hold down your ALT key, and hit a number, and a symbol will pop up!
►The symbol for the right arrow here is ALT-16.
BE CAREFUL, THOUGH!!! SOME ALT-numbers make your page jump around, if you hit a number that has words on it. Take the number "7" that has HOME on it. If you hit ALT-7, you will jump from the page you're on to the HOME PAGE!!!! (Ask me how I know this...) Same with ALT-1, ALT-3, and ALT-9. These are directional commands if you use them with the ALT key...
So, that's it. Try a couple numbers. I once went from ALT-1 to ALT-60 to see what I'd get. They start repeating at some point!
I did not get home till late and I was totally wiped out because it was cart path only meaning no carts allowed on the fairways because it was wet. This morning I have a game with the girls buddies but I will try the cut and paste tonight I needed to get back to you.
OK, my okra is finally producing well, all varieties. With 60+ plants and two months to go before first frost we still oughta get loads of it!
But, ya know, I planted it on May 11. Our weather was cold and rainy at that time and only about half of it came up, so I replanted in the gaps on May 24. By my count, this okra is finally getting into production 85 days and 98 days after planting! And no, the older plants didn't start producing 13 days before the younger ones, they all started at once. Strange.
A question about my Cowhorn okra: I'm harvesting all these okra varieties when they're 3 or 4 inches long, young and tender. At that size Cowhorn has no curve to it - the pods are straight, skinny, and green just like Perkins Long Pod. Since Cowhorn is known for its long curved pods, am I picking these too early? That is, will Cowhorn still be tender if I let those get bigger?
I picked okra this morning, and it's starting to bear real good now. With this batch, I looked up a recipe on the Internet and pickled four pints of it.
Pickling okra is simple: Wash it and cut the stems off short, pack it as tight as you can in pint jars and add a half-clove of garlic to each jar. The recipe also called for a teaspoon of dried dill and a small hot pepper in each jar - but I'm not sure I'll like those.
Mix up a brine from 2/3 water and 1/3 vinegar plus a teaspoon of canning salt for each pint. Bring the brine to a boil and pour it over the okra in the jars, filling the jars almost up. Attach lids and bands with the bands just finger-tight. Put the jars in a hot water canner and boil them for 15 minutes, then set them on the counter and let them seal.
Since I had four jars, and I'll be eating these with my lunchtime sandwiches while I'm still harvesting okra - I did each jar a different way. One jar has a half garlic clove only, one has garlic and a teaspoon of dill, one has garlic and a small hot pepper with no dill, and one has garlic, dill and one hot pepper as the recipe calls for. I'll figure out how I like it best, then do more of the same!
Even with 60+ okra plants now bearing, between eating okra fresh both fried and roasted (my wife and I both love it), freezing the excess for the cold months, and now pickling some - we're going to get real good use out of all of it.
I looked for a thread for fig preserves and did not find any. I did several jars of figs this year for fund raising and i already sold 6 pints.We need over $1,000.00 for flu vaccines. cholesterol and diabetic screening, BP checks and 1:1 talk to an MD. We do this 2 x per year and we do over 85 patients. Lot of planning and off course $$$. Any recipes??
"Put the jars in a hot water canner and boil them for 15 minutes"
Ozark, you might want to sample one of those jars in a week and see how they turn out. Usually canning them for so long will give you mushy pickled okra, not crisp or firm at all.
I tend to have my jars good and hot, still soaking in hot water till I fill them. With the brine of your choice good and hot, stuff your jars, pour the hot brine, remove any air pockets, immediately cap and seal. (Seals must be nice and hot, too, also kept in their warm/hot water.) The jars will usually seal perfectly and the okra pods are nice and firm, never mushy.
Belle, I'll send you my special fig recipe. Taste so good you'll want to double the price of them!
Ozark. We pickle our okra too. The recipe we use sounds like yours--okra, dill, a clove or two of garlic (we use home grown elephant garlic), and a small hot pepper. Last year, we tried a couple of quarts substituting fresh basil for the dill. It turned out great. So if you like basil, give it a try.
Hah! "Excited Sam, the Ozark Man"! I love reading your posts!
I'm glad your okra came out good. And yep, play around with it, the recipes sure do vary. Many years I buy "Mrs Wages pickle mix" for my okra...it is a great seasoning. There are two mixes, one regular, one Kosher. I don't know if it is my imagination but the kosher mix seems to be better.
And yes, I get tired of picking okra sometimes. That is one reason I take a weed whacker or machete to cut them down by half at some point. It gives me a reprieve from having to pick so many times a week. A few weeks or so later the plants have sent up new branches and are flowering, giving me a later crop to pick.
I don't get real excited until the white bass start biting - and I think that's about to happen after this long HOT summer!
After babying these okra plants and waiting an outrageous time for them to start producing, I'm not about to whack them. I'm just glad I'm finally getting okra!
The plants are still wanting to get bushy and I know they're healthy, but they're not growing tall this year. They're all still 4-5 feet except for Betty's White which is only about 2' but producing well. That's fine with me, but I'm surprised. Even the Cowhorn, which I thought I'd have to top at 5' or it'd get too tall, is staying short. Hmmm.
Yeah, our store has "Mrs. Wages". I'll give that a try.
Ozark, fried fish and okra sounds like a pretty good meal to me! I've camped on what I think was called the Spring River, it is at the lower end of MO and upper Ark. lines. Woke up from my tent, right on the bank, and trout were jumping so high and so close to shore they seemed to be looking for a frying pan to jump into. You might wanna try that river sometime.
Shoe, I know where you're talking about - that's a real pretty place, huh? It's about 100 miles east of us.
No, I'm not a trout fisherman around here. Back when I was younger and we lived in CA, I fished for trout all over the west. Backpacking in and standing in a snowbank in August in the High Sierras at 11,000 feet fishing for golden trout, natural streams and lakes with rainbows, browns, brook trout, and cutthroats all over the rockies. The Snake River in Idaho with natural 3-lb. rainbows, fly-fishing the Spring River in Montana - like that.
It kinda ruined me for these pellet-fed hatchery trout here in the Midwest. They dump 'em out of a truck into certain places (like where you were) where the water's cool enough for them to live for awhile. The limit's FOUR trout - not enough to get a boat wet for, IMO.
But the natural fish around here - bass, walleyes, white bass, crappie, catfish, etc., well now, that's different! Different strokes, different folks.
Hey, I got into the pickled okra jar that has garlic, dill, and hot pepper as per the recipe I found. That's GOOD! Heading for the garden now to pick okra, tomatoes, cukes, and peppers.
I've never been a trout fisher either. Never even cast a fly rod. I prefer rod-n-reel with live bait or spoons. But I bet I could've caught those jumping trout on a rod! No license so just had to drink morning coffee and admire them.
Sounds like you're hooked on pickled okra now. I make it every year, one of the few things I still can.
Glad you're having okra fun!
I'm so glad I found this forum. I have had a bumper okra crop this year. I planted 28 plants in 3 raised beds. The beds are large enough that the plants have room to develop a strong root structure and do not get top heavy and topple. I add only peat, lime and cow manure to my garden each year and have never added any other fertilizers.
The three beds were created and treated exactly the same. They are the same depth and receive the same amount of water, however the bed closest to the center has much smaller plants with smaller leaves, the middle bed gets larger and the bed on the outside of the garden has huge plants with large lush leaves. All plants are producing okra, though I'm fighting the stink bugs tooth and nail. The one difference is the bed with large lush plants have much longer, more slender pods. The pods actually get quite long without being too large or tough.
I have not pinched or topped the plants, yet some of them are branching anyway. I have to pick daily to avoid large overgrown pods as they seem to go from tiny to huge overnight.
I'm not complaining about my okra harvest, but am curious about the reason for the more stunted growth of the two beds. The pods are smaller and tend to get fatter and tougher more quickly, so I guess in a way their production is less than the other bed. Any ideas?
You didn't say how your okra beds are oriented east-and-west, but my guess is that they're getting different amounts of sunlight. Okra likes direct sunlight and lots of it, so maybe your smaller plants are shaded for part of the day and the bigger ones are getting more time in the sun? Check what's to the east and west of your beds that might be shading some of your plants in the early mornings or late afternoons. Maybe that's the explanation.
Ozark...they get full sun all day. They are oriented east to west, but are in the middle of a field with nothing blocking their sun for a good 11-12 hours. The nicest bed will get the shade first as the sun goes down, but only for about 15 minutes longer. I don't know if that makes a difference.
bellieg - they are all the same variety with seeds purchased at the same time.
Thanks for the replies. I'm stumped, but I'm also picking plenty of okra, so I guess I should just be happy, keep notes and see what happens next year when I rotate the beds.
"The nicest bed will get the shade first as the sun goes down, but only for about 15 minutes longer. I don't know if that makes a difference."
Hmmm. Well, maybe it does. If they're on the east they're getting the morning sun first when it's cool, and they're getting some extra shade in the late afternoon when it's hot. My best okra plants this year are in a north-south row that's shaded by a fence full of tall tomato plants in the late afternoon - maybe that helps, I dunno.
I guess the important thing is that we're getting a bunch of okra now.
After me griping here for weeks about having no okra production, they're finally in full swing now. I picked a gallon of pods today. You were right, Shoe, though I still don't know why it took them over three months to get started.
I'm disappointed in Texas Hill Country Red. It's already almost quit, I only picked 3 or 4 pods off a whole row today. Also, those fat little pods start getting tough when they're only about 2 1/2" long. My wife, who cuts and prepares most of our okra, had already asked me not to plant that variety again. Then it quit producing, so that clinched that deal.
My other four varieties, Stewart's Zeebest, Betty's White, Cowhorn, and Perkins Long Pod, are all doing great. Betty's White grows on compact 3' plants that are productive and easy to pick (thanks again for those seeds, Shoe). I can't tell any difference between the Cowhorn variety I got from Shumway and Perkins Long Pod. They're both very productive of ribbed, green, medium-thickness pods, they're both the same height, 5 to 6 feet, and the pods are straight on both varieties. I'd expected Cowhorn to grow 'way tall and have curved pods, so maybe there was a seed mix-up. It's good okra so I'm not complaining.
We like Stewart's Zeebest a LOT. It's the most productive, growing on 5 to 6 foot plants that want to get bushy if I don't keep some leaves trimmed. The pods are skinny, dark green, and smooth with no ribs. I picked 2 or 3 pods off the end of each branch, and they stay tender even at 7 or 8 inches long - that one might be "zeebest"!
My Perkins will start to curve if I don't pick them right away...and that's exactly what happened. I went a week or more not picking okra. Ended up cutting lots of pods off, dropping them on the ground, huge ones. The Perkins had nice thin pods even at 6 inches or more, some had gone longer and were beginning to curve. Clemson Spineless is hanging in there with Perkins as is Betty's White. Tonight I picked nearly a plastic grocery bag full, well, more than half full but not quite filled, for the neighbors off one row (60'80 ft row maybe). Now if the deer will leave the leaves alone I'll still get more pods coming on.
Good to hear your Okra Report, Ozark. I can almost hear you say, "And THAT's the way it is..." (For give me Walter Cronkite)
"And THAT's the way it is..." (For give me Walter Cronkite)"
Now you're dating yourself, Shoe. But I can remember Walter Winchell giving Harry Truman a hard time, so I'm in even worse shape. lol
I think I'll take some pictures and add information to PlantFiles on these okra varieties I'm growing this year. Any objection if I add Betty's White, as there's no listing of it? With due credit to yourself and your friend Betty Harrison, of course. It's a good one!
Fine with me, Ozark. (well, fine with adding Betty's White to PF, not so fine dating myself!) Hah! :>) But, I think as we age we care so much about staying youthful. Matter of fact, I think old(er) age is a nice change from youth after all those years!
Since it was mentioned on here last year about roasting okra in the oven rather than frying it, we've been trying it both ways, with variations. My wife and I agree that we like it better roasted and without breading. Now we've come up with a further refinement that's GOOD.
We've used olive oil, as suggested, on the okra before - and it's good that way but the flavor of the olive oil comes through and changes the taste of the okra. Today, I asked my wife to try peanut oil instead, figuring that peanut oil is so good with stir-fried veggies it should be an improvement. It is!
She cut the okra into bite-size pieces, added salt, pepper, and a little peanut oil, and covered a cookie tray with it. She pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees and roasted the okra for 25 minutes. At that point it's cooked all the way through, turns olive-green, and there's just a little brown on the high spots. I think I ate about a quart of it, and this is the way we like it best!
YOUR process for "roasting okra" is MY process for "browning okra" under the broiler, just before I add it to a pot of OKRA GUMBO! I coat the cookie sheet with plain old veggie oil and run it under just until it browns.
And, yeah, it's great just like that with the salt and pepper. It's a wonder any makes it into the gumbo! ^^
"YOUR process for "roasting okra" is MY process for "browning okra" under the broiler, just before I add it to a pot of OKRA GUMBO! I coat the cookie sheet with plain old veggie oil and run it under just until it browns."
Hehe. Nope, not MY process. I'd have to look back on the "Okra I" thread, but someone there told us about "roasting, browning" okra in the oven instead of frying it - so we've been doing that and like it a lot. My only "improvement" is our recent use of peanut oil instead of olive oil to keep the original okra flavor. We haven't tried vegetable oil or canola oil yet, but we will.
Hey, we've got an okra surplus now and my wife wants to try making okra gumbo. What's the rest of your recipe after browning the okra? I think you told about that here before, but I didn't find it after a quick search. Thanks.
I'd better stay away from the kitchen while she's making gumbo, or she won't have any browned okra left to put in the pot!
Dang deer have now decided to eat my okra leaves. Last night I put Bounce dryer thingies every so many feet in the row and it was the first night they left them alone. I'd done the same with some of my pole beans earlier in the year, it worked, so perhaps it is yet another way to deter them (for a while anyway).
Ozark, I might've posted the roasted okra, I do it that way a lot. Recently I've been doing it with carrots, too..it really sweetens them up and are great!
I don't know what the world record is for the diameter of an okra plant. I would imagine that my 2 inch plant isn't even close. I wish I could tell you how tall it is but I havenít been able to see or reach the top in weeks (slight exaggeration). This is an instance in which size really doesn't matter. (Reference to my long ago post regarding size of containers needed for my Meyer lemon tree and Satsuma orange tree which I never actually resolved). Speaking of containers, if you live in the Dallas area, the Garden Ridge store off of I-35 in Lewisville has all of their outdoor and indoor containers (fiberglass, plastic, clay, glazed, decorative, large and small, etc.) for 50% off through September 13th, and there must be at least a thousand to choose from.
I've got this pickle-packing thing down now! Shoe, just ignore me because I know you've been pickling okra a lot longer than I have. I pickled six pints of okra picked from the garden today, and between eating okra fresh, freezing it, and pickling it we're not going to have any surplus we can't use.
After experimenting, I've hit on the flavor and the method I like best. I use wide-mouth pint canning jars since the okra needs to be packed tight into the jars and that would be real hard with regular-mouth jars.
In the bottom of each jar I first put a half-clove of garlic and two little Maui Purple Peppers. I cut the tops off the peppers and cut a slit down the sides so brine can come in contact with the hot pepper seeds inside. With scissors I cut the stem as close as possible on each okra pod before I pack it into the jar. I pack longer pods first by laying the jar on its side and putting the pods in stem-down with the pointy ends toward the mouth of the jar. Pods that are longer than the jar is tall I cut in two and pack them the same way - lots of my Stewart's Zeebest pods are very long but still tender.
When I've got the bottom of the jar packed with longer pods until I can no longer get more in side-by-side, I set the jar upright. Then I add a heaping teaspoon of Mrs. Wage's Dill Pickle Mix. I haven't been able to find the Kosher mix Shoe likes better - still looking.
Then I continue packing the jar, with pods point-down in this layer and of a length that pretty well fills the jar. I get as many pods as I can in that way, then maybe lay a couple of pods down sideways to fill any gaps and fill the jar to the top. I can get twenty-some pods in a pint jar, so this is a good way to use up a lot of okra.
I make brine by bringing a mixture of 2/3 water and 1/3 vinegar to a boil. The brine is half of the volume I'm pickling (to allow for a little extra) - so for six pints of pickles today I made three pints of brine, composed of two pints water and one pint vinegar. I add one teaspoon of Kosher salt per pint of brine - I cut that down from the recommended tablespoon because Mrs. Wage's mix is real salty.
Then I fill the jars with boiling brine almost to the top, attach the sanitized lids finger-tight, and boil the jars for 10 minutes in a hot-water canner. I've tried it several ways and found a 10-minute boil makes the "crispy" just right for me and makes the jars seal well, but that's just a personal preference.
These pickles are REAL good, and that's everything I know about packing pickles! LOL
Baker Creek Seeds in Mansfield, Mo. has the Stewart's Zeebest okra seeds. They're only about 35 miles from us but I've only mail-ordered from them - I think we'll take a drive over there soon to look around.
From what I've read Stewart's Zeebest is a family heirloom variety from Louisiana. They're the great-long pods in the picture above, and they grow so fast none of those was big enough to pick the last time - and I pick every other day! Zeebest is real productive and they stay tender even when they're 9 or 10 inches long - a real good okra variety.
but yep, I made the brine using Mrs. Wages, and of course never used the whole package so would store the liquid in jars in the fridge till next canning.
Recently I did a jar (yeh, on single jar, as a sampling) of only vinegar/water/garlic clove. Water bathed it five or ten minutes, let it sit to age 10 days or so and sampled it. Dang okra was too soft for my liking and the flavor needed improving. I like the seasonings of Mrs. Wages much better.
I have another recipe "from scratch" I've had for years but when I discovered Ma Wages it was too easy so have done that for quite a number of years.
Shoe...(now making Sam/Ozark jealous---> Fresh caught catfish, fried... pan-fried okra, and purple hull cowpeas were my supper night before last. You missed a true Southern meal!)
"You missed a true Southern meal!"
Well, I'd liked to have had some cowpeas, but we've got the rest of it covered. We had fresh-caught white bass filets, 'taters, sliced tomatoes from the garden, and sauerkraut. I love catching catfish, but you can't catch 'em by chasing them with the boat and throwing a spinner while they're boiling on top. That's fun!
The kraut didn't much go with a fish meal, but it was good and we had to try it and see if it's done. Yep, it's plenty sharp enough with a real good flavor - but I'll have to can it now or it'll get too sharp, it's been working about three weeks. I'll have to buy some more pint canning jars first, though, I've got 'em all full of okra pickles!
SAVING SEEDS. Shoe, or anyone else here who knows - I've never saved seeds from okra before. I'm guessing I'd just quit harvesting pods and let them dry up completely on the plants, then put the pods in some kind of container before they split open and dump the seeds on the ground. Is that right - no fermenting or anything like with tomato or cucumber seeds?
I'm saving seeds from Stewart's Zeebest and Betty's White, and left the pods on one plant of each of those today - they'll be my "seed" plants. I picked another two gallons of okra today, and I'm going to start picking it every day instead of every other day - some of the pods are getting too big, even in two days.
Yep, you have that right, Ozark. Let the pods dry on the plant, then cut them off.
Remember, okra readily and easily crosses so you might want to save seeds from those dried pods with each pod as far away as possible from the other variety, not next to it. Or you can hand-pollinate then bag the flower. Normally I grow a plant for seed separately from others.
Yeh, I sometimes go into terribly bad sleep mode, or I should say "no sleep mode". Up all night, sometimes doze for an hour then wide awake. I gave up tossing and turning in bed years ago and just tend to get up and do something, read, write, computerize, watch tv (old Gunsmoke, Bonanaza reruns come on at night!).
Hope you are recuperating from the storm and back up to snuff at your place!
Yep - somebody told me when you're retired "every week has six Saturdays and a Sunday", and that's the way it is. It's great, though - I generally don't have to be anyplace at any certain time and I've fallen into a "regular" schedule of odd hours. I usually take a nap in my easy chair during the hot part of the afternoon, so the sleep adds up to eight hours a day - but there may be some late-night hours appear on my posts. It works for me!
Shoe, I'm fortunate in my okra seed-saving because both of those varieties are planted away from any others. It's possible that a flying insect could bring pollen clear across the garden and cross-pollinate a blossom, but I don't think it's too likely since all those blossoms of the same variety are so near. I haven't seen a honeybee all year so they're not going between blossoms, and I'll just hope the seeds aren't crossed.
Now, we're not big on Indian spices - but the procedure is the thing here. The lady in the video is a great cook, and sure enough - if you wash okra and let it dry, then cut off both ends, split the pods longways, and stir-fry them with a little oil, THEY'RE NOT SLIMY. That exposes the inside of the whole pod to the heat in the frying pan, and it dries up the goo! Okra is a real important veggie in India - they know how to fix it.
My wife used the same process as in the video, but she says she cut the spices down to a little turmeric, a little thyme, a little chile powder, salt and pepper, and she fried the okra with chopped sweet peppers from the garden. This was GOOD!
I cook okra like that more than any other way, Ozark. I love my black cast iron skillets and usually give them a good workout.
Olive oil in the pan, add some sweet onion (Candy or Texas Sweet is preferred!), a couple cloves, or more, of smashed garlic. Add the cut up okra, S & P, stirring while cooking to get the oil/flavors on the okra. If you put a lid on it then I'd suggest leaving it half-cocked; it'll hold in the heat but yet not steam the okra. Mine is never soggy or slimey this way either and I tend to cut it crosswise, not lengthwise as in the video. Feel free to cook "too much" cus it is just as good reheated the next day.
Our big okra surplus may not happen after all - that stuff sure is heat-sensitive!
A cold front came through a couple of days ago and changed our endless 90+ degree weather to highs in the 70's and lows in the 40's. Nice weather for us, but now my okra's just sitting there. Pods that were a half-inch too small to pick two days ago are still a half-inch too small!
This okra just got into full production a couple of weeks ago, and now cool temps have it stopped already. Ah well - that's gardening. We're supposed to get back into the 80's next week and I expect the okra to start producing again, but at a slower rate than when it was really hot.
Dang, Ozark, in the 40's? Yikes...that's campfire weather!
And yep, I bet those okra will take off again when the heat comes back. Hope your lows stay higher though. (Weird sentence, wasn't that?) *grin
Linda! NO! Leave those okra plants if you're still in hot weather, they'll keep producing and you can have it all winter if you freeze it. I can't remember if you planted them in your new raised beds or in buckets though. If in the ground set your cole plants around the okra plants. The okra will shade them from the direct sun, helping them to stay a bit cooler. Once the okra quits producing cut the stalks off with a pair of long-handled snippers to open up the air space and sunshine for the little plants.
If you look closely you can see small broccoli/collard plants nestled in amongst corn plants; same idea as mentioned above. It works great !
I know I keep going on about Stewart's Zeebest - but in that okra variety I think I've found what I've been looking for.
Our cool front slowed okra production down, but I had some to pick today. Zeebest has been out-producing the others by so much I counted pods picked today to compare. I've got the same amount planted of all five varieties, but one best-producing most-branched plant of both Zeebest and Betty's White has been taken out of production because I'm saving seeds. Here's the number of pods picked today from each okra variety:
Stewart's Zeebest - 31
Betty's White - 11
Texas Hill Country Red - 2
Cowhorn - 9
Perkins Long Pod - 16
So, you see why I like Zeebest - a lot. Here's a picture of it today. I've got strings tied around the five branches of the closest plant to remind me not to pick pods off those branches. I'm letting those pods get overgrown so I can save seeds.
"My okra does not branch like yours"
Mine doesn't either, except for Stewart's Zeebest. Here's a photo of Cowhorn, Perkins Long Pod, and Texas Hill Country Red, also taken today. These are about like many other varieties of okra I've grown over the years, looking for one I really like and that I'll want to grow over and over.
OK, Shoe - you're officially famous! I added Betty's White Okra to PlantFiles with a description, a picture, and full credit to you and your neighbor Betty Harrison. That's a good okra variety!
Why is it, in PlantFiles, when a vegetable (like okra) isn't common enough to have its own section and you have to search for it by name, the results come out un-alphabetized? Then you have to scroll through the pages to find it - but Betty's White is there now.
Here's the picture I posted of Betty's White end-of-season overgrown pods being saved on one plant for seeds. The moderators have to look at pictures, so this one hasn't appeared yet. I should end up with enough Betty's White seeds to share with some folks here.
I just joined in, I am a Certified Organic farmer. I love reading this topic! I never knew there was so much interest in growing okra. I have been developing my on own strain of bush type okra from a parent seed of Clemson Spineless, for the past seven years. I usually plant eight rows of okra about 150 feet long on 12 inch centers.
Last year, I harvested 1,100 pounds for market. This year was tough, because of the drought and 63 days of weather over 100 degrees, but I managed to grow a few plants, that bore as many as 60 or 70 branches and as many crowns. I have one okra plant with 46 pods that are nearly ready for seed production. I have another plant that has the potential of producing 300 pods for harvest this year.
I would like to hear from you, if this is abnormal.
fourteenmilecreek - you bet I'm interested. That's a lot of okra you're growing!
From what I've read recently you're on the right track in saving okra seeds from plants with the most branches. I've been going on here about how productive the Stewart's Zeebest is that I've grown for the first time this year. I read that Stewart's Zeebest was developed over many years by a couple in Houston named Stewart (obviously), both now deceased. They started with a variety called Louisiana Emerald Green and kept saving seeds from the plants with the most branches to develop Zeebest. Since okra bears pods on the growth crown of every branch, then more branches produce more okra!
The article I read about Zeebest cautioned that multi-branching is a recessive characteristic in okra. It wants to go back to a single stem or close to it, so it's important to save seeds from plants with the most branches to keep that going. I'm doing that now, but my bushiest Zeebest plant only has 5 branches, not 60 or 70 as you describe. Wow.
I'm surprised that you're putting the plants only 12" apart, though. I planted my bushy Zeebest okra about 20" apart this year, and that proved to be far too close - I'll plant them at least 3' apart in the rows next year. You said you only managed to grow a few plants because of the drought this year. I wonder if losing some plants allowed your surviving ones more room, causing them to grow so many branches. What do you think?
Wow!! 50-70 branches!!! I would love to have them in my garden !! I remember the farm I went to pick okra they were dwarf with tons of branches with long green fruits.
We have almost 1/2 acre lots here in the court and only 2 has veggie gardens. Some does not bother even with composting. I find time to tend to my garden.
Remember me mentioning about volunteering at our church food pantry? A lot of our parishioners donated fresh produce.Also after hurricane Irene Walmart donated few boxes of bell pepper. Maybe they realized what a waste to just dump it. That was not repeated anymore.
I have always planted cow horn okra from seed that has been saved for at least 65 years. This is the second year it has not done well. I am switching to an okra that has no name. A friend gave me the seed. His mother saved the seed as long as he can remember. After she died, he found a jar of the seed in her freezer and has been saving seed ever since, about the last twenty years. The okra is short, only getting about three or four feed high but it really branchs out and bears a lot of pods to the plant.
About that Stewart's Zeebest okra - again. Beside all its other good qualities, now I'm real impressed by the way it extends the okra harvest season. We've had some cold weather here - nights in the 40's and days in the 50's, and that shut okra production down. Now we're having warmer days but the nights are still cool, and I hadn't picked okra for four days. I just picked it and here's the comparison while I remember - this is with an equal amount planted of each variety:
Stewart's Zeebest - 39 pods
Betty's White - 12
Texas Hill Country Red - zero
Cowhorn - 7
Perkins Long Pod - 14
So you can see what I'll be planting next year - a short row of Betty's White because it's a good and unavailable heirloom, and a WHOLE BUNCH of Zeebest!
We've got plenty of okra in the freezer now, but I just finished off another pint jar of pickled okra last night. I love those things, but the 15 pints I've got canned are hardly enough to see me through the off-season. I just realized that the okra I picked today is enough to make two more pints of pickles, but I'm not going to fire up the canner to can two pints. That's OK, I'll make a quart of refrigerator pickles out of them with no boiling. Then I can eat those fairly soon and take the pressure off the jars I've canned. Woo-hoo, more pickled okra!
Great news on the okra variety comparisons, Ozark. Thanks!
"but I'm not going to fire up the canner to can two pints."
What I've done is put one (or two) jars in a small deep pot, similar to a tall skinny spagetti cooker. It doesn't take any time at all to heat up that little amount of water, can for a few minutes, then you're done with it. No muss, no fuss.
drthor - Zeebest ought to do well where you are. It was developed in the Houston area, so you're a lot closer to where it came from than I am. Next year I'm going to put the Stewart's Zeebest plants 3 feet apart, or maybe even 4 feet - I think they'll branch out a lot better if they're less crowded.
I'm not satisfied with planting okra seeds directly into the ground. They're kind of hard to get started and this spring we had a cold spell, the okra came up real spotty, and I had to re-plant some. I think next time I'll soak the seeds overnight and start them indoors - not with the idea of getting them out early but just to get them all up. I know okra transplants OK because I've often moved seedlings around in the rows to fill gaps. I'll aim to have 2" to 3" seedlings by mid-May, then plant 'em where I want 'em.
Shoe, that's a great idea about canning just a couple of jars using a big pot. I'll do it, and I'll throw some canning-lid bands in the bottom of the pot so the jars don't sit directly on the bottom. Thanks!
I'm with you, Ozark. I am better at transplanting okra from cell packs or 4" pots. They do just fine with transplanting. They sure can try your patience when sowed directly, can't they?
"I'll do it, and I'll throw some canning-lid bands in the bottom of the pot so the jars don't sit directly on the bottom."
I've folded over a kitchen towel/tea towel or the like and place in the bottom of the pot. They'll want to float until they get fully wet but after that they work well, especially once the jar is on it, or jars.
At the Food Bank Garden in Winston-Salem, NC we haveg grown over 300 lbs of okra this year, all from seeds (Clemson Spineless). The crop produces continuously from June and is still producing. Yesterday we harvested about 3 lbs. so it is slowing down. I would strongly recommend growing from seeds. One hint I learned here: as the okra gets taller, cut out the top to about 4 ' even if there are flowers. This will make the plant more vigorous and grow from the bottom.
I don't think I would ever grow an okra plant in my Earthbox. The plants develop huge, deep, root systems, and can get quite tall and top-heavy. Even if the Earthbox base would be stable enough to keep them from tumbling over, I'd not be satisfied with the depth for the roots to grow properly, as the plant would like to do.
I currently have 4 okra plants growing in free-draining, 5-gallon buckets, and I have planted them in 5-gallon eBuckets (designed with a self-watering reservoir, like an Earthbox). They did very, very well. There's more depth available in the Buckets, IMHO (in my humble opinion...)
I could be wrong here, but, I'm speaking from my own experience. In this case, deeper is better.
OK, I finally found ONE negative thing about Stewart's Zeebest Okra. I can't get the old plants out of the ground!
We've had a couple of hard freezes and I'm clearing out my garden. I've been pulling 7-foot tomato plants and everything else up by the roots, no problem. But the Stewart's Zeebest plants aren't coming up - no way.
I've taken clippers and trimmed them down to stumps, and now I'll get the tractor out and scoop the stumps out with the bucket - but I've NEVER had to do that with any annual garden plant, ever. These were some real impressive, and productive, multi-branched okra "trees" and I'm sure looking forward to growing a lot more of that variety next year!