Grow and Preserve Okra
Okra plant have edible green seed pods perfect for soup and stews. The pods have high nutritional value while the stems and roots are used in herbal preparation.
The plant grows 4 -6 feet tall depending on the verity or cultivar. However there are dwarf verities perfect for container farming or greenhouses.
Okra Abelmoschus esculentus ia a flowering plant with edible seed pods. Cultivated extensively in warm tropical regions especialy West Africa South Asia. The perennial species grows 4 -6 feet with 10-20 centimeter leaves with yellow petals. Best soil condition for germination is 68F full growth from 30-60 days.
Okra predomibabtly contain 90% water7 carbohydrate2 protein. Others are magmesium, folate, thiamin, vitamin, vitamin, diertery fiber.
Types of Okra
There are many types of okra ideal for commercial production. Types are Burgundy, Cow Horn, Silver Queen, Emerald, Red Velvet and Clemson Spineless. More are Cajun Delight, Go Big, Perkins long pod, Blondy and Baby Bubba Hybrid
Best Types of Okra
- Cow Horn
- Silver Queen
- Red Velvet
- Clemson Spineless
- Cajun Delight
- Go Big
- Perkins long pod
- Baby Bubba Hybrid
Pests and disease
The hardy plant succumb too many infects with pests and diseases. Common pests/diseases are corn worms, aphids, fusarium wilt, stinkbugs.
- Corn worms
- Fusarium wilt
How to grow and preserve okra
Select the site with full sun, warm weather and moist soil. make sure the soil is well-drained rich in organic matter witj ph level 7-7ph.
Plant in full sun on fertile loamy soil rich in nitrogen. Plant in early spring in container or garden. Soak fresh okra seeds overnight before planting. Then sow 1 inch depth 20 inches apart 4 feet rows. To ensure best results sow two seeds directly in ground or flowering pot in warm 65F soil. remove weeds when plant sprouts apply 2 inch layer of mulch and side dress rich compost fertilize monthly.
Mulch appropriately and weed to remove competition. use compost every 4 weeks until plant reaches full maturity. The plant is hardy however there are pests like cabbage looper, aphids, bugs. After first harvest remove lower leaves to encourage rapid production.
Wear long sleeves, gloves and cut stem just above the cap. Most species reach full maturity on 60 days therefore harvest finger sized pods that are moderately soft or mature pods. Harvesting is done with a sharp knife and daily until all edible pods are removed.
How to preserve okra
Freeze the freshly cut pods for longer shelf life. In warm climates without refrigeration they last about 7 days. To can okra use flour, vinegar boil pod apply heat and can in airtight container.