This morning, I sowed a packet of Yates Clemson Spineless okra seeds in a punnet on my heat pad. Sometimes, I wonder why I even bother growing okra. It is more suited to growing in a tropical climate. Plants can reach over six foot in certain parts of India, Fiji and some of the southern states of the US. Indeed, this is primarily where okra is eaten. By contrast, my plants are usually grown in pots (if they make it to that stage, as they can be difficult to get growing in the first instance) and are pitifully short by comparison. They’re hardly what I would call heavy croppers. If we’re lucky, we can harvest a handful at one time.
What is okra? It’s a green vegetable quite unlike anything else you have eaten. It doesn’t have a lot of flavour in itself, the real taste comes from the spices you add to it. Usually, you would wash and cut the ends off before cooking it. Okra can either be eaten by itself or added to a dish with other ingredients. You may have come across it in Indian or Chinese dishes. Indian people refer to it as bindi. It is also a key ingredient in gumbo, which is a dish eaten in the southern states of the US. I used to be vegetarian and one of my favourite meals was lentil (dahl), rice, spinach, eggplant and bindi. We love preparing okra with some onion and a little turmeric. We cook it in a little pot on the stove. It doesn’t take very long to cook and tastes delicious!
Here’s why I go to the effort of growing okra every year:
While okra can be a bit tricky, it is nevertheless possible to grow successfully, depending on (i) where you live and (ii) how long and hot your summer turns out to be. Here are a few of my top growing tips.
I’ll cover my specific tips for sowing, planting and harvesting okra in my next post.
Today’s photo demonstrates how the garden works in mysterious ways. I noticed that something has popped up in my chilli plant which is in a 35 litre container. To me, they look a bit like watermelon seedlings, but I’m not sure how that can be as I used fresh potting mix! What do others think? If they are, I’m pretty happy as I find watermelon quite tricky to germinate and don’t have many plants to show for all the packets of seeds I went through!