Collection: Okra

Abelmoschus esculentus

 

Okra, also known as Ladies' Fingers, Gumbo, Okro, and Ochro, has been cultivated and used in various regions and by various cultures, for millenia. A member of the mallow family, it is closely related to flowering hibiscus. Its exact geographical origin is disputed, with supporters of West African, Ethiopia, Southeast Asian, and South Asian origins. Much scholarly research points to the Abyssinian Center of Africa, which includes parts of modern day Ethiopia, Eritrea, and part of Somalia. From their, cultivation spread into the Mediterranean regions.[1] [ Click here for More Info ]

Each packet contains two grams, which is approximately 30 seeds.
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One of the earliest documented accounts of okra is by a Spanish Moor who visited Egypt in 1216[2], probably introduced there by Moslems who conquered Egypt in the seventh century.[1] Okra had reached the New World, presumably with the slave trade, by the early 1600s. Popular in the Southern United States, it can be served breaded and fried, or as a component of a recipe such as soups, stews or relishes. Okra is a common ingredient of Creole dishes, as well as modern Cajun-fusion recipes. Because it is considered too gooey, it is rarely served alone.

Harvest the pods young before they are too large, usually at two to four inches long. After that they become fibrous. Harvest often to increase production. Okra should be used as soon as it is harvested; Consume, can, freeze or dry.

Okra plants likes fertile, well-composted soil and needs moisture and warmth to thrive. Soak seeds for overnight before directly sowing into warm soil or started indoors three to four weeks prior to your last expected frost (refer to the hardiness zone map). You must be careful not to damage the roots during transplanting. Although okra typically has no problems with disease or pests, it is very sensitive to frost. Okra easily cross-pollinates so if you are planning to save seed, either plant only one variety or separate by up to one mile. Four to six plants are usually enough for most families; way too many for others :)

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Informational References:
  1. "Food Crop Production by Smallholder Farmers in Southern Africa: Challenges and Opportunities for Improvement," by Ambayeba Muimba-Kankolongo, 2018.
  2. "Okra, or "Gumbo," from Africa," Texas AgriLife Extension Service.