Okra is among the most heat and drought tolerant vegetable species in the world and will tolerate soils with heavy clay and intermittent moisture.
Most gardeners grow okra for it’s eatable pods. Okra can be eaten pickled, boiled, fried coated with corn meal and is often added to soups, stew and gumbos. Pods are best harvested very small, no more than 3 or 4 inches long. Mature pods may exceed 8 inches in length.
Okra is a popular health food due to its high fiber, vitamin C, and folate content. Okra is also known for being high in antioxidants, is a good source of calcium and potassium.
Okra leaves may be cooked in a similar way to the greens of beets or dandelions. Since the entire plant is edible, young tender leaves may eaten raw in salads.
Okra varieties range in size form 3 to 7 foot tall. Pod color is normally green however you can also find purple (some say it’s color is red) pod varieties.
Common Varieties grown in the United states include:
*CLEMSON variety is dark green with angular pods. This okra takes less than two months to mature.
*EMERALD type is dark green, with smooth round pods.
*LEE is a spineless type known by its deep bright green, very straight angular pods.
*ANNIE OAKLEY is a hybrid, spineless kind of okra with bright green, angular pods. It takes less than two months from seeding to maturity.
*CHINESE Okra is a dark green type grown in California and reaches 10 to 13 inches in length. These extra-long okra pods are sometimes called “ladyfingers.”
*PURPLE Okra a rare variety you may see at peak times.
Plant okra after your soil warms to 70F to 85F. Quick germination, soaked 8 to 12 hours prior to planting to a depth of 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep. Germination occurs in 7 to 12 days. Provide ample water for seedlings.
Space seeds 3 inches apart, thin to 9 to 10 inches after seedlings are 3 inches tall. Space sows 24 to 36 inches.
OKRA Nutrition value
serving size: 1 cup
fat: 0 g
carbs: 7 g
protein: 2 g
fiber: 3 g
Vitamin K: 66% RDA
Vitamin C: 35% RDA
folate: 22% RDA
thiamin: 13% RDA
manganese: 50% RDA
magnesium: 14% RDA
Okra also contains beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin.
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