Last year we grew three varieties of okra: Cowhorn, Clemson Spineless and Burgundy.
Of these, the Burgundy was the most impressive, producing continuously for months and reaching an ultimate height of around 8′, as seen in this psychedelic freeze-frame from one of my more arthouse videos:
The Burgundy also seemed to stay tender longer than the other types.
However, we saved seeds from all of last year’s and I mixed them together in a jar.
We are also adding in some more types to start our own local okra landrace.
I planted these selections in the gardens this morning:
More Cowhorn and Clemson, plus some Burgundy pods.
And Alabama Red.
And Orange Jing, which did great in my friend Elizabeth’s gardens.
It’s also the most beautiful okra I have ever seen.
With it, we are adding Louisiana 16 Inch Long Pod.
I also have a hybrid from Johnny’s called “Jambalaya.”
I don’t know where I got those weirdly fat-podded okras, but I broke one of them open to plant as well.
Apparently, okra seeds can be used as a chicken feed since they contain about 20% protein.
Perhaps I should also throw a bunch of my extra seeds over an area and till them in to grow as a grain! There’s an idea!
Last year we really enjoyed all the okra we got and I look forward to bringing in baskets like this again:
Okra will self-pollinate and it will also cross-pollinate if bees are in the garden. I hope to add a beehive to the Grocery Row Gardens this spring which should REALLY mix these okras all up.
By the way, if you want to grow more than one type of okra in the garden WITHOUT the varieties crossing, simply bag a flower right before it opens and let it self-pollinate. After the pod forms a couple of days later you can take the bag off and mark the pod as a “pure” type and then save seeds from it at maturity.
I don’t care about keeping pure types, but some of you may have an heirloom you’d like to keep while still growing different types. Each okra pod contains enough seeds to plant a goodly few rows of okra, so it doesn’t take many mature pods to give you way more seeds than you need.
This year I look forward to seeing what happens and I hope to save lots and lots of seeds.