Okra Is The Star Queen Of The Garden. Growing, Planting And Care. Photo

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Okra Is The Star Queen Of The Garden. Growing, Planting And Care. Photo
Okra Is The Star Queen Of The Garden. Growing, Planting And Care. Photo

Video: Okra Is The Star Queen Of The Garden. Growing, Planting And Care. Photo

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Video: WHICH OKRA VARIETY IS THE MOST PRODUCTIVE? 2023, January
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When okra is called the main star of the modern vegetable garden, exaggeration is out of the question. This plant is one of the most exotic and attractive edible crops. Amazing pods with pronounced edges when cut allow you to get very original "stars", and they themselves will become a decoration of any dish. The fresh taste, reminiscent of eggplant, young peas and asparagus, the unpretentiousness and beauty of the plant itself in the beds deserve much closer attention. Moreover, it is easy to grow okra even where conditions are far from southern.

Okra
Okra

Content:

  • Getting to know the amazing African okra
  • The best varieties of okra for the middle lane
  • We select growing conditions for okra
  • Planting okra
  • Okra care secrets
  • How and when to harvest okra

Getting to know the amazing African okra

A representative of the mallow okra family, known in her homeland in Africa as gombo or okra, and in our country it is often referred to simply as "ladies' fingers" - one of the most fashionable annual lianas. This is a summer plant with straight stems that give a few lateral branches with a height of 30 cm to 2 m. Among the okras there are both real vines and bushy plants, but due to the lengthened vegetative period of climbers in the middle lane, you can hardly find them.

In regions with severe winters, okras are usually limited to a height typical of bush beans - about 50-60 cm, but create more lush and open bushes. Lobed-separate, large, even-colored leaves form a very elegant crown, emphasizing the beauty of purple stems and creamy flowers with spirally arranged petals and cherry throat, which open in the axils.

But the greatest value of okra is not the beauty of the plant itself, but its fruits. Polyspermous capsules, faceted, similar in shape to elongated haircuts of pepper, hide dark, round seeds. Thanks to the edges, the pods themselves are very beautiful, and when chopped, the slices flaunt a star-shaped, very elegant shape.

The length of the pods reaches 25 cm, the maximum diameter is limited to 3 cm (but in order to reach this, the fruits must be fully ripe). Okra bears fruit until the end of September. It is believed that the number of leaves in okra is equal to the number of fruits that this plant can bring with good care.

Okra pods and seeds are very rich in proteins and vitamins, they have a beneficial effect on the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. This unique vegetable tastes similar to asparagus, resembling a hybrid of green peas and eggplant to many. And they use it accordingly. This vegetable crop is perfect both for canning and for various first and second courses, salads, for thickening sauces, decorating a meal. Okra looks very nice on plates, and dried and frozen seeds will replenish legumes.

The best varieties of okra for the middle lane

Despite the fact that okra is still an exotic plant in our country, today you can find many varieties of this crop on the market. Almost all of them belong to bushy okras and are perfectly adapted to the conditions of the middle zone with its not too long and hot summer.

Favorite varieties for regions with severe winters include: "White Velvet", "Green Velvet", "Tall 100", "Ladies Fingers", "Dwarf Green", "White Cylindrical 127".

Okra fruits green and red
Okra fruits green and red

We select growing conditions for okra

Okra belongs to the most light and heat-loving plants. When choosing the lighting, keep in mind that this African culture is used to the bright southern sun. It must be planted in south-facing areas, in the sunniest and warmest areas of the garden and in beds located in the middle of the garden or on its southern side. It is worth paying attention to the fact that the okras should not be bothered by cold winds and drafts.

When choosing growing conditions for this African woman, special attention should be paid to the soil. Indeed, the harvest depends on its fertility. For okra, choose soils with a high organic matter content. It is advisable to improve the soil on the site at least a month before planting, or better in the fall of the previous year, by adding organic and mineral fertilizers to it in the form of complete mineral mixtures, compost and humus.

Okras are not very fond of very dry soil, as well as high humidity, as well as loose and uncultivated soils. For them, it is necessary to choose a really high-quality garden soil, loose, permeable and deeply dug up.

General view of the Okra plant
General view of the Okra plant

Planting okra

Okra in regions with severe winters can be grown:

  • through seedlings;
  • sowing directly into open soil.

Sowing okra into the soil

Okra is sown together with all melons and gourds, along with watermelons and melons. Sowing can be carried out only at the end of May and June, when the soil at a depth of 3-4 cm warms up to more than 15 degrees. It can be used as a compaction crop for cucumbers or planted in separate beds with row spacing of 60 to 70 cm.

Okra, even in open soil, must be sown deep enough, 3-5 cm. This plant has an extended germination period, sometimes it is necessary to wait more than 3 weeks for seedlings to appear. To speed up this process and improve germination immediately, when sowing, you need to take care of watering, and then repeat the procedure for moistening the soil after 1-1.5 weeks. As soon as the okras grow up, they are thinned to a distance of 30 cm between the plants.

Sowing okra for seedlings

In order to increase the yield period, do not wait for the arrival of June for sowing in open soil and, accordingly, get the first harvest earlier, it is best to grow this plant in seedlings. Okra does not like transplanting very much, it develops a strong tap root system, which is easily injured, therefore it is preferable to use peat pots for this culture.

In early May, okra seeds are sown in individual pots, 2-3 seeds each (of which one of the strongest plants is then left). They deepen large grains into the soil by 3-4 cm. Before planting, it is best to soak the seeds for 12-24 hours to accelerate germination. Plants are grown without diving until the very transfer to the beds.

Seedlings are planted in open ground or greenhouses at the age of 45 days. Transplantation into open soil can be carried out for regions with severe winters only after June 10, to the south - after the threat of late spring frosts disappears. The distance between seedlings should be about 30-50 cm, and between rows - from 60 to 90 cm.

Okra shoots
Okra shoots

Okra care secrets

The status of an exotic plant should not be intimidating: okra does not at all belong to capricious and demanding crops. In terms of the general specifics of growing and the care that she needs, this African woman can be equated with beans.

Enhanced care for okra will only be required during the first month of growing. At this time, you will have to remember about constant weeding, maintain stable soil conditions. In the future, caring for the okra is surprisingly simple.

From the first month of growing okra until harvesting from the garden, do not allow the formation of a hard crust on the soil and the active development of weeds. It is necessary to ensure thorough and timely loosening of the soil, which must be carried out regularly, after 10-15 days, complementing it with weeding. Weeds should not be allowed to develop in the beds, removing them at a young age. During the summer for adult okra, at least 2-3 weeding is necessary. All of these procedures can be simplified by mulching the soil around the bushes.

Irrigation is the most time consuming component of care throughout the entire period of okra cultivation, but they also should not be systemic. Okras need watering only during a period of prolonged drought, when plants can sharply reduce the number of fruits formed due to the complete and prolonged drying out of the soil. Watering the okra should be deep. The soil must be soaked to a depth of about 30-40 cm.

As for fertilizing, when planting in fertile soil, plants will not need them at all. If you want to harvest a larger amount of the crop or did not carry out the pre-planting "dressing" of the land, then give the okra two top dressing:

  • at the stage of releasing the first buds, apply for this culture a complete mineral fertilizer (nitrophoska);
  • about a month after the start of fruiting, feed the okra with phosphorus-potassium fertilizers (superphosphate and potassium sulfate).

As soon as the okra grows up to 40 cm, it is advisable to pinch the main shoot to increase tillering. As the lateral branches are released, the plant can be tied to supports, but usually a garter is needed only in windy places where the bushes do not retain their shape well.

Okra, or Okra, or Gombo, or Ladies' fingers (Abelmoschus esculentus)
Okra, or Okra, or Gombo, or Ladies' fingers (Abelmoschus esculentus)

How and when to harvest okra

The main trump card of okra is the ability to bear fruit quickly enough. The varieties of this vegetable crop suitable for cultivation in regions with severe winters are usually early ripening and already 2 months after emergence they begin to bear numerous fruits.

In order to enjoy the taste of this exotic, but surprisingly versatile vegetable crop, which is very close to legumes in taste and cultivation characteristics, you must carefully monitor the age of the fruits. The thing is that okra's pods not only grow rapidly, but also overripe amazingly quickly. They literally become tough and inedible in one extra day.

For eating, the okra fruits must be collected every other day or every day, removing the ovaries from the bush at the age of 3 to 5 days. Do not rush to discard overripe pods. Leave them to ripen the seeds for next year, and remove some of them and extract the hidden seeds from them. They can be used as legumes or roasted and made into a gombo coffee drink.

Care must be taken when harvesting okra. This culture often causes skin irritation due to the specific pubescence of the pods. It is best to remove the fruits with gloves, so that contact of the plant with unprotected skin areas is impossible.

Be careful: the harvested crop is stored for an extremely short time. Even in the refrigerator, okra pods quickly become fibrous and tough. They retain their taste and texture only for 1-2 days, so the harvested fruits must be eaten immediately, boiled, frozen, canned or dried.

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