Okra

With visions of fried okra dancing in my head, I planted seeds in the garden yesterday evening.  One of the sublime pleasures of the garden is fried okra, sliced, seasoned, rolled in corn meal, and fried in butter to a golden brown. Oh my.  My husband hasn’t had fried okra yet, and is kinda hesitant about the whole okra thing having only had canned okra from the store as a kid. Oh, what he’s been missing.

I always plant Clemson Spineless. Other varieties have little spines that get stuck in your fingers when you pick the pods.The seed package said to plant the seeds ¾ inch deep. So, using a hoe, I dug out a straight row between the onions.

Even though they are close to the onions, by the time the okra is growing up and out, the onions will be ready for harvest. Just trying to maximize our garden space, you know. The onions aren’t looking their best right now because the wind has been blowing on them at 40 miles per hour for the last 3 days.   I planted the seeds about 6 inches apart.

The seed package states that the plants should be 18 inches apart, so if all the seeds come up, I’ll have to do some thinning.  After the seeds were planted, I covered them, and then gave them a generous watering.  

Okra is a native to West Africa, possibly present day Ethiopia. By the 14th century it had made its way to the Mediterranean area, and is thought to have made it to North America via the slave trade in the early 18th century. It is one of the most heat and drought resistant vegetable species in the world.

The seeds will germinate in 12-14 days, and the plants will ultimately grow 3-4 feet tall. The blooms are yellow with a purple center, and look similar to hibiscus. Long narrow pods follow the blooms, and are harvested when they are 3-4 inches long.

Oh, I can’t wait. Sometime, hopefully in July, we’ll be enjoying fried okra. Bliss.

Have you ever eaten okra before, and if so, how do you like to cook it?