Saturday, May 14, 2011

Okra ‘Clemson Spineless’ Life-Cycle

Okra is believe to originate from northern Africa probably Ethiopia. However, this warm climate vegetables have spread growing in warm countries all over the world including temperate region. Because of its quick growth from sowing takes about 8~12weeks growth to produce in warm weather it has become suitable to grow in warm-temperate region as well. In Malay language, okra is known as “bendi” and we learn it in school as lady fingers in English. In India okra is commonly known as “bindi”. So I wonder if okra founds its way to South-East Asia by travelling the sea trading route. from India to Malay Peninsular.

I have never ever found any nursery selling okra seedlings in Adelaide. Adelaide have really hot summer which will be ideal to grow this heat-tolerant plant. It start to produce much quicker than eggplants and peppers. Why not fill in the gap with okra?You can start sowing okra seeds in mid-October as the soil has warm enough for the seeds to germinate and it will start to produce in between the middle of January or  February. If you have bountiful harvest of vegetables in your garden, you can straight-away keep okra in freezer unlike eggplants. Okra can be frozen at least 6 months which we did last year and still taste much better than the ones in the supermarket. When we have not start growing our own vegetables in Adelaide, I had a craving for okras and bought a plastic full of it. It was the last time I ever bought okra again because it was so tough, any okra newbies will probably hate this vegetable instantly. I think if you want to start appreciate okra, you must grow it your own (wink).

Newly sprouted home-saved okra seeds with its coat seeds attached (direct sowing).

Okra clemson

You can grow okra in containers as well. I direct-sowed okra seeds in this container in early January this year and it started to produce in Early March, although we had cool summer this year compare with last year. Okra growing in containers can grow over 1metre tall as well.


A closer look of Clemson Spineless okra pod. The pod grow very fast usually it is ready to be harvested in 3~5 days if nights are warm.


Okra flower resembles colourful hollyhocks and ornamental hibiscus because the are in the same family. Okra can look like an ornamental plant as an addition in the front yard garden growing along together with Zinnia as companion. Spent-bloom of okra will develop pod as shown in the photo.DSC09619

At the end of the season, you can leave okra to dry on the plant to collect okra seeds. Immature seeds are white in colour which you see when you harvest okra to eat and cut in the pod half-widthways. This seeds will become hard and black when mature. This okra pod have already matured and the skin has naturally open by itself. Black okra seeds peeping. DSC08757

Newly harvested Clemson Spineless okra seeds, our second year of collecting home-saved seeds for this variety.

okra clemcon spineless

Definitely a plant that can grow very well in Adelaide during the warm season.


cikmanggis said...

ooo baru Cm tahu Okra dapat simpan dalam frezer begitu lama.Selalunya jika disimpan dalam peti ais di bahagian sayur okra akan keras/tua....

Besok Cm akan balik kampung selama 3 hari..Insyallah nak cari benih sayur-sayuran kat pasar Siti khatijah.Terdapat bermacam-macam jenih benih sayuran dengan harga yang sangat murah..ok..selamat malam.Sweet dream:)

takaeko said...

I planted just one okra's sprout a few days ago since I know it's so productive that my family can't consume okra's during producing season. I seeded carrot seeds for my first try and found they germinated!

tina said...

I only grew okra once and that was many years ago. It is so pretty though I may have to give it another try. I had no idea how pretty the seeds are. Your picture of them is really nice.

Daphne Gould said...

I've never grown okra since our summer are so cool and short. I've always wondered what it tastes like though as I've never had it. And everyone either seems to love it or hate it.

JGH said...

The only way I've been able to grow okra is by starting seeds early in the greenhouse. Last year I had a small harvest of the purple-podded kind. So pretty - I love the flowers too.

meemsnyc said...

I'm growing that same variety for the first time this year. I didn't know it could be grown in containers. I'm going to try that. That's for the great info!!

~TastyTravels~ said...

I would love to grow okra but Oregon summers are too short to grow a decent harvest (so I've heard). I told my dad he should grow some in Hawaii but he said he doesn't like the slimy taste. Heehee! Maybe Since you mentioned they grow in containers, maybe I'll try and see if they grow in Oregon. I love the flowers. Pretty!

Unknown said...

I don't like okra but I must said that the flowers are amazing.

Jean Campbell said...

My okra is up, not a good stand as it was old seed, but plenty for two people. My fav way to cook it is oven fried. We also eat it boiled and buttered, an acquired taste if you haven't eaten it before.

rainfield61 said...

I have found two seeds of an apple that I took started to germinate.

I soaked them on a piece of tissue paper, thinking of growing them in Malaysia. Hahaha...

I can then have a garden as good as yours.

Hazel said...

I like reading your blog because you grow such a wide range of things. I have thought about okra but have never grown it. I would like to hear how you prepare and cook it.

Kelli said...

Beautifl flowers on the plant. I remember as a child eating fried okra & it tasted like popcorn which as a kid was a really good thing. I'll have to see if it can be grown in my climate.

littlekarstar said...

Beautiful! You really have inspired me to grow so many different things I haven't tried before, okra is definitely on my list for this spring if I can find any seeds!

Sue Garrett said...

It has a lovely flower but isn't a vegetable I have ever tasted.

shaz said...

Love the flower photo. I spent my weekend constructing a (hopefully) possum proof vege enclosure. Looking forward to growing some okra when the weather warms up. Btw, where do you source the seeds? Through catalogs?

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

CikManggis~ Selamat Seronok Balik Kampung. Simpan dalam freezer untuk asampedas atau kari macam berkuah ok je bendi tu. Tapi tak pasti kalau untuk menggoreng. Nanti cerita ya kat Pasar Siti Khatijah ada jual benih apa. Saya tak pernah lagi jejak kaki ke sana.

Takaeko~ Good job with tha carrots!

Tina~ I enjoy growing okra because of the flower.

Daphne~ It is a taste or rather the feeling in the mouth when you chew okra has to get used of the sensation. I am not fond of it in my childhood.

JGH~ I like the burgundy colour okra too which is said to be more suitable in cooler condition.

meemsnyc~ Okra grow very well in pot. We start growing them in pot in our first year and it grows really well especially you have the advantage of moving it to sunny corner.

Holly~ Maybe you can start growing them earlier indoors.

Ellada~ Okra flowers are so pretty sometime I am tempted to pluck them but I want the pod;-).

NellJean~ I have not tried okra prepared that way. But it is a new idea that I would like to try.

Rainfield~ 2 apple trees in your garden will attract many critters that you might be starting late for your usual hike in Cerok Tokun.

Hazel~ There are so many ways to eat it, okra tempura or okra in vegetable curry for example.

Kelli~ Perhaps you can. It does not need a long time to grow to start producing.

Mrs Bok~Eden Seeds or Green Harvest seed company might have some seeds.

Sue~Once you tasted it, you won't ever forget how it taste and feel in the mouth.

Shaz~I hope those cheeky possum won't be able to get to your veggies this time. Online catalogs, Eden Seeds or Green Harvest sell the seeds.

Wendy said...

you're probably right about growing it! It's huge and so pretty. However, I really am not crazy about it - the little balls in it.. blech.

kitchen flavours said...

Yes, I love growing okra too. Just harvested three last week from 1 plant. This is an easy plant to grow and fast fruiting too! Your plant looks really healthy and strong, my plant is not as big as yours!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Okra....yummm....they go for about $10/kg in Sydney! We love them stir fried with a little chili belacan, or just throw them into the pot whenever we make fish head curry or asam pedas. Lovely vege. Or just blanch and eat with sambal belacan. purrr....meow!

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Wendy~ It is an acquire taste. I don't think my 4 year old would like it either because he is very sensitive with texture. I started to like it from my late-teenage years.

Joyce~This is the biggest one last summer. I had short ones about 30 cm too and look funny when they produce pod that size. It was not an ideal spot to grow anything in summer.

Cat-from-Sydney~End season for okra now in our garden since it is to cold for them to produce proper pod. Now you made me crave for blanch okra with sambal belacan;-).

Kirsty @ Bowerbird Blue said...

I planted some here in December but I think the season will be too cool and short here, those flowers are just beautiful. I love okra - even the leaves are pretty.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Kirsty~Our okra is just starting to flower again since it was too hot in Jan and Feb. Okra sure looks ornamental probably because its related to hollyhock and hibiscus.