History and Background of Okra
Okra originated in Africa and means “lady’s finger”. The plant originated in what is today Ethiopia. Okra has taken off in the past 40 years as a component in Japanese cuisine. In the past 300 years, Africans brought it to America as a food via the slave trade. Typically one plant grows 5 to 8 lobes per plant, and the vegetable itself is a capsule filled with seeds. The pods are fibrous and soft when young, but become woody and tough when mature. The pods are picked while they are young, and most often served cooked. The leafy portion of the plant is also edible and of moderate to savory flavor. Okra leaves are often included in salads in other parts of the world.
Okra Growing Needs
Okra grows best in tropical and sub-tropical zones. It tolerates high heat and high moisture very well. It is somewhat drought resistant and thrives in direct sun, and heavy clay. Okra is annual, and its varieties are as follows:
· Annie Oakley
· Dwarf Green Long Pod, and
· Clemson Spineless
You should plant okra in warm soils in early spring. This is best done one week to 10 days after the last frost of the season. Seeds should be planted in mounds 1 to 2 feet apart.
Aphids, cabbage worms, diamond-backed worms and moths are common okra pests. A simple pesticide will do. We suggest Monsanto products for this particular plant.