21 April 2014

Growing Okra (and our first flower!)

If I want to talk about my garden, my grandmother is one of the top people on my list to call.  She loves gardening.  My grandmother tells me okra is her favorite vegetable.  I tell her we chose a variety that grows up to ten feet tall or so.  She tells me she loves to eat it (see below).  I tell her I wish she could be here to watch it grow with me.  She tells me I should save the okra seeds for next year, and I tell her I will try but I haven't learned how yet, and she tells me it's easy--you just let them dry out.

This is my second attempt at growing okra, but my first attempt that has gotten anywhere.  Since we found our first okra flower on the plants today, I thought it would be a good time to collect some okra growing references.

Starting Okra from Seed

When we started our okra seeds (we managed to squeeze three plants into the corner bed by our back fence), my dad was surprised to find out they came up within three or four days.  Well, I credit the seed packet, and perhaps this excellent growing guide from Organic Gardening, both of which told me to soak the seeds overnight or for twenty-four hours before planting.  Sure enough, the little roots started forming right away, and we had our little plants much faster that way.

Okra Pollination

According to Grow Great Vegetables, okra doesn't need pollination.  Which, if you've been reading my gardening posts, is great news for us, because we don't have many bees visiting our yard.  According to the Backyard Chicken Lady, however, we may need to keep our eye on things and help the okra blossoms come to fruition by shaking them (like we do with tomatoes).

Okra on Your Plate

Everything I've consulted says to harvest every day in the height of summer heat, because the plants will be producing so fast you'll have a hard time keeping up if you don't gather the blessings daily.  As such, it's important to know how you like to eat okra, so you'll be prepared when they're ready to pile up like that.  Personally, I can't wait!

I've eaten okra in two ways.  The first, favored by my grandma and my dad both, is using a cornmeal breading.  My dad says they're especially tasty with white cornmeal.  Simply take some cornmeal, mix in some seasonings, salt, and herbs, and fry the sliced okra.  Delicious.

But last summer, my aunt introduced me to another delicious way to eat okra.  Using the whole pods (it's great not to have any slicing involved) and clean hands, rub some extra virgin olive oil on your hands, and rub each pod between your coated hands.  Then lightly dust the pods with salt, and roast them in the oven or on the grill outside.  You won't be disappointed.

What's your favorite way to eat okra?  Have you ever tried freezing your harvest for future use?


  1. Oh I love all your tips and links to where you get such great gardening advice- I will be checking out those links soon!
    We also planted Okra this year- they did really well last year. But I am looking forward to this year even more- now that I have another delicious way to fix them. Thanks for sharing how your roast your okra. That sounds like an awesome idea!!
    I am so glad we planted some things this year- not as much as I would have liked but hey - at least we got some planted and will be able to enjoy the bounty!
    Great post! Lisa :O)

    1. How great that your okra did well last year, and that you have more growing this season! I will agree--I ALWAYS have more things I would like to plant than I have time or space for, but something is better than nothing. Glad you have some things planted! :)

  2. I like the new layout for comments! And I LOVE your okra picture!! :)

  3. I loved curried okra, Indian style. My Indian friends taught me how to make it when I lived in Thailand. When you have some okra harvested, call me, and I will tell you how to make it.

    1. Oh, I will definitely be calling you! That sounds delicious. :)


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