Well, this is the beginning of a thread about growing Okra, so if you have some plants in your garden, feel free to post here and share your story!
Okra isn't really the best plant for the Bay Area, Northern California: they say you can grow it anywhere you can grow tomatoes! The reality is, this plant loves heat and hates cold temps! So, if you're having a heat wave or a warm summer, these should grow very well for you. If you're having a cold summer like we are, they're going to wait until it warms up to put on any growth!
I'm trying out the following varieties: 1) Burgundy 2) Red Velvet 3) Jing Orange 4) Star of David 5) Zeebest aka ZEEWORST LOL just kidding 6) Burmese and there's one more, but I can't remember the name.
Crazy fact: the red velvet seeds were from 2002, and I got 100% germination on them!
Here's the beginning of the thread, will update as I learn more about these plants:
You packed those in pretty tight, or is that how they’re supposed to be? I’m getting some seeds from all three velvet okras so I guess I can help this thread along soon. It seems that sarr people are all into the same plants....
Outside of tomato research, the lab I work in grows several rows of garden crops for fun, and okra's quickly become one of my favorites. Last year we tried three Clemson Spineless and three Burgundy plants - the Clemson Spineless all died and the Burgundy seemed stunted and didn't produce too much. This year we have ten-ish plants split between the same two varieties and they're growing and producing remarkably better. The largest plants are probably over two feet tall now and most have good branching. The Burgundy plants started making pods a week or two earlier than Clemson Spineless. Taste-wise, they're very similar but Burgundy has about half the mucilage of Clemson Spineless.
These were all the pods I harvested this morning. On the left is a Clemson Spineless pod; there's some damage on it, which I think are due to sucking insects. I've seen some pod damage on the Clemson Spineless but not on the Burgundy pods. The rest are Burgundy showing various colors, which fade to green when cooked. They do pretty well in the Davis heat, but friends back in the Bay Area seem to get only a couple of pods by the end of the season.
Post by almightydolla on Jul 16, 2019 17:15:21 GMT -5
Yes! Okra! Feel free to call me crazy for trying to grow Okra in the pacific northwest, but I've got two tricks up my sleeveless shirt: 1) I'm trying them in the greenhouse so i'll get the heat they need, and 2) I'm blasting them with nutrients in a hydroponic system
I started a few seeds each of green stubby, Burgundy and Jing Orange and threw them in the dutch bucket hydro pots that I use for tomatoes and peppers. I wasn't expecting much, especially since i've been BLASTING the tomatoes and peppers with 2400ppm ferts, but they have absolutely taken off. I know all you folks in much warmer areas of the county are yawning at the size of these plants, but for the pacific northwest, they are leaps and bounds ahead of outdoor plants. These tomatoes and peppers weren't started from seed until mid April, and the Okra was started about a month after them.
Here's a shot in the hydro greenhouse. We've been having cool, bananarama type weather (aka, a cruel summer), but the tomatoes, eggplant, okra and peppers have finally taken off.
Here are the 4 pots of Okra. I didn't label which was which, so I won't know until the pods are ripe, but I ended up putting 3-4 plants per dutch bucket.
Almightydolla said dutch bucket ladies and gentlemen, not dutch oven Dude, those plants are lookin FAT, very impressive! You also have the added benefit of no insects eating the F out of your cropz.
Man, I wish I could grow 10-20' tall Okra plants like you see in the tropics and in semitropical areas. They're very challenging to cultivate when the weather is cool, but as soon as it warms up, they get a little bit of growth going.
Some updated photos. Harvested this red velvet Okra yesterday:
Notice the varying sizes and growth rates of each row. Lots of different varieties. The center row is Jing Orange, which so far is producing some really beautiful plants:
Man, it's tough growing Okra here in the Bay Area, CA: it's just too cold! The only time I see growth is when we have heatwaves like now, but on normal summer days, these are growing slow as a snail.
Nevertheless, this is the best I've ever done with Okra around here. These plants constantly exude an F-ton(fun-ton of course) of sugary liquid. As a result, Aphids are really a problem, and getting rid of the Argentinian ants allows natural enemies to gobble the aphids down. I ended up using an organic oil based spray: if you don't get rid of the aphids, the plants will become stunted and that's it for production!
Anyhow, here are the crops on Aug. 9th, 2019:
Right in the middle is Jing orange: very late to produce around here, but holy crap, the plants are short, compact, somewhat vigorous, and look like they'll be pretty productive:
from left to right: Burmese, burgundy, star of david(these get really big and fat!), Stewart's Zeebest, red velvet, Jing orange, jing orange, and evertender:
Another pic of the same lineup:
The red variants: the pods need sun exposure to turn red, they're green to start. Some of the individuals don't redden up very easily, so I'll probably select against that:
Oh, and after I cooked these up last night, my wife mentioned it was really nice how none of them were slimy! I'm not sure it's because these are less slimy in general, but here's what I did: 1) heated the pan until it started smoking 2) added olive oil to the pan 3) immediately added the okra to it, and dried the S out of it (dried the slime out of it! C'mon guys, I have to practice not swearing cuz of my kids, hardest thing ever!) 4) once the okra got slightly golden, I added green onions and then finely chopped garlic. Once those cooked and smelled great, I threw in homegrown, sweet cherry tomatoes in the end. HOLY (william) FALKNER! Super tasty maaan.....this is all done under high heat, you need that in order to get the bomb flavors out of the tomatoes and green onions.
Last Edit: Aug 13, 2019 13:40:10 GMT -5 by meizzwang
I think its my soil (more like dust) but my okra is still in its seedling stage and there's definitely no heatwaves over here! I'm thinking of planting some in containers and have a heated fan blow on them...
Some updated pics on the okra patch this year. A few comments on the vareities: 1) Zeebest produces very, very late here. Probably won't grow that one again. 2) Burmese produced pretty early, stopped, and is now producing again. 3) Burgundy is very low vigor, sometimes doesn't self pollinate, and doesn't produce much. 4) Evertender is a winner: very early production, consistently pushes out fruit, easy to pick because the plants get tall, and when the main growth point stops producing, side shoots push out more fruit. 5) Jing Orange is very productive and quite possibly the most flavorful of them all. This is the first time I've eaten Okra raw and wow, they're so much better this way compared to being cooked! You really can taste the subtle differences in flavor. 6) red velvet: probably my favorite variety for now. Tall plants, early production, consistently pushes out fruit, and really beautiful. 7) Star of david: really giant fruit, produces early but inconsistently.
I've been making crosses and letting some of the pods mature. They're really showy, especially the red ones! Flowers open in the morning and by the evening, if it was hot enough, the flowers will fall off! Pollination occurs really fast!
In my climate, they sometimes self pollinate well when the weather is hot, but when it's not very hot, they need some help. I've noticed many pods that are about 10-20% full of seeds. This one pictured was helped out:
Crappy picture, but gives you an idea of the taller growth habit. I definitely prefer this:
Plants to the left are shorter because they were started later, and I think they were probably selected to by bushier. tall and skinny is way easier to harvest:
Red velvet: I crossed this one with Jing Orange and also did sibling crosses to keep the line going. Can't remember if I mentioned it already, but the seeds these came from were almost 2 decades old when I sowed them! It's nice to have older seeds compared to 20 generations later where they've been inbred till kingdom come:
Another red velvet fruit:
Last Edit: Aug 26, 2019 15:09:33 GMT -5 by meizzwang
You know it would happen, eh? Okra is one of my favorite crops here. In the hot humid jungles of VA, it grows very well and is a beautiful plant. The variety list includes: Burgundy, Evertender from India, Gold Coast, Jing Orange, and Silver Queen. They're all tasty and perform well. I selected varieties with mostly straight pods so I could make Hot Dill and Garlic Pickled Okra, which everyone seems to love. Acidic liquids drastically reduce the mucilaginous quality, aka "slime". It doesn't bother me, but some don't like it. It's great cooked in a rich tomato sauce, too.
Best performers here are Gold Coast-massive, deep-rooted and branched plants, great production and flavor; Jing Orange-beautiful and long-bearing, very good flavor; Silver Queen-stays tender longer with great flavor; Burgundy-not as productive, but gorgeous and mild flavored.
I found an outstanding recipe for fried okra in "Indian Food Made Easy", by Anjum Anand. You can't stop eating this stuff and it's great for parties, guests.
Slice the okra LENGTHWISE into quarters or again into eighths if they are big. Toss with a little chickpea flour (I used corn meal). Fry in small batches for about 8 minutes, until some edges are brown. Drain and degrease on paper towels. Mix them in a bowl with Chaat Masala, salt, Hot chili powder (optional) and a little mango powder.
The Chaat Masala and Mango powder (Amchur, Amchoor) adds a tartness. It'd probably be tasty with Old Bay, instead of the Indian spices, just a lot saltier.
I only grow one variety per year, so seed can be saved without bagging flowers. Our biggest pests are Japanese Beetles; it's nearly impossible to grow okra most years without some sort of spray, at least when the adult beetles are flying around. There wasn't any space this year, for okra. I'm changing a couple hundred feet of row space from tomatoes and peppers to other, non-solanaceae crops, so okra is on the list, probably Jing Orange or Silver Queen. Okra seed seems to keep exceptionally well, if stored dry and cold.
If you haven't picked in a timely fashion and have some over mature pods (too tough), you can eat the immature seeds. Here's a okra seeds writeup about a chef who uses them.
thanks for the recipe bogman! What kind of oil do you use, and do you get it very hot before throwing the okra in, or medium heat?
Gophers got about 90% of the plants, but luckily they were mostly done by then. This is a quasi-raised bed, so it was really difficult keeping the plants hydrated once they got very big. Without the gophers and water stress, these would probably still be going right now, but seeds are all collected and the patch is completely done.
sanguinearocks101: What are good plants to make hybrids with S. luecophylla with? Im looking for dark colors.
Sept 10, 2020 18:46:52 GMT -5
adaetz100: Sarracenia purpurea tends to add a lot of red/purple to its offspring, but there are some lovely dark red flava x leucophylla crosses too. Look up 'Royal Ruby' if you're not familiar with it already--it's a natural flava x leuco hybrid
Sept 22, 2020 20:15:04 GMT -5
sarrseens: How about $50
Oct 3, 2020 10:35:54 GMT -5