Phoenix Gardening Tips: OKRA!

Okra plant (Abelmoschus esculentus)OKRA!  Everytime I say it, I feel like I’m in a Greek restaurant about to down a glass of ouzo.  It just sounds like a celebration!

My Okra ‘Cajun Delight” plant was one of the things I carried over from the summer.  I had never grown Okra before — unless it’s swimming in gumbo, I have no use for the slimy little things — but it’s turning out to be one of my favorite plants!  Thank goodness the husband likes them, or else they’d have a play date with the other living creatures in the compost bin.

(Turns out they also have great nutritional value, high in both protein and — thanks to the slimy stuff — fiber.)

These guys grow to about 5 feet with big green palmate leaves and beautiful yellow flowers before fruiting (they’re related to Hibiscus).  They tolerate just about any Phoenix desert soil, they love the heat, and they can take some uneven watering.  In other words, they give a lot without asking a lot in return.  What a great plant!

The key is to keep harvesting them every day or two when they’re about 2″ long, and they’ll keep producing right up until a frost takes them down.  That’s what I read anyway, anyone know for sure?

Flower from an Okra plant

I did leave a few fruits on the plant to dry so I could collect the seeds.  I also saw a burgundy Okra plant and I was able to score some of those seeds.  I’ll drop those in in the spring…somewhere…just for the spectacular burgundy foliage!



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