Our First Season of Okra!

Each season the garden crew likes to experiment with a few new crops in the garden.  Over the past, it's been a quite successful and delicious adventure.  These "new" crops have become staples over the years in our garden map: cantaloupe, watermelon and eggplant to name a few.  This season we decided to give Okra a try!
 
What exactly is Okra you might be asking?  It's a common vegetable in the South with a flavor that could be compared to eggplant but with a different....unusual texture.  It can be used to make Gumbo, soups, marinated and put on a salad, grilled or even pickled!


Growing the Okra was relatively easy.  Since it's a southern vegetable, as you'd imagine, it does best in warmer climates.  It prefers warm, fertile soil with decent levels of nitrogen and lots of sun.   Okra reaches maturity after about 55-60 days....If you remember, we had a pretty wet and cool first half of the season.  This really impacted the growth rate of our okra plants -- doubling the length of maturity.  This past week was our first harvest of Okra!

The plant is in the mallow family, related to the beautiful hibiscus.  We weren't aware of this until we saw these gorgeous, delicate blossoms on the Okra plants.  About 2-3 days after the blossoms appear, the okra starts to form.  It's best to harvest okra when it's about 2-3 inches, and make sure to be good about continually harvesting the pods, as this will allow the plant to keep producing.

We're not sure how much longer we'll have Okra at the Farm Stands as the temperatures start to cool, so if you are interested in trying it, make sure to swing by on Wednesday 11:30 - 2:00 in front of the Chapel!

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