We love okra and it’s good in so many ways. I love the small, tender pods raw with a little salt. I like it sliced and stir fried in a little olive oil. I like it battered and fried. I love it boiled in field peas or black eyed peas. I like it in soups, stews and gumbos. I love it cooked with tomatoes. I like it pickled. I’m not sure there’s any way I don’t like okra.
For some crazy reason, I really struggle with growing okra here. The A&M ag department tells me that it’s because the pH is too high in my soil AND my water. Rain would be so nice for so many reasons but especially for my okra. So, to grow okra, I have to spray it several times per week with a foliar iron spray, which is not cheap and has to be ordered. It’s frustrating on so many fronts but mainly because we just don’t get any rain.
I told Vince I was going to plant my okra late this year and see if that made any difference. Of course, it isn’t going to affect the pH of my soil or water but okra likes warm soil and I thought maybe planting it too early was causing just one more obstacle for it to overcome. I had planned to plant it around mid-May but we had our trip to MO and Vince didn’t get my okra patch ready til last week. I went out there and I said “WHAT?”
I’m not real sure about Vince’s gardening tactics. Is he brilliant or lazy? He decided to till up just where I’m planting and that way he can run the lawn mower between the rows. OK . . we’ll see how this works but I wasn’t real enthusiastic about it. I’ve never done anything like that before . . first time for everything.
Okra seeds have a really hard outer coating and I like to soak them overnight but last week, I was feeling so badly, I never got around to soaking the okra seeds. Saturday morning, I knew it was getting late enough in the season that I was about to reach the “now or never” stage so, even I went out and did it. I turned the soaker hose on and left it for several hours . . the ground was probably totally saturated. Sunday and Monday . . morning and evening, I did the same thing. Yesterday I turned the water on when I got home from knitting and when I went out to the garden about 5 p.m. I was so surprised to see okra growing! It had sprouted in about 3-1/2 days. I’ve never had okra sprout that fast, even after having soaked the seeds. It has to be a combination of keeping the ground wet and our near 100° temps.
I’m hoping the early germination and sprouting is a good sign for my okra this year!