Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus Moench), known in many English-speaking countries as ladies' fingers, bhindi, bamia, or gumbo, is a flowering plant in the mallow family. Okra looks like a ridged pepper. It is valued for its edible green seed pods. The plant is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world.
Extremely heat and drought tolerant
The species is an annual or perennial, growing to 2 m tall. It is related to such species as cotton, cocoa, and hibiscus. It is among the most heat- and drought-tolerant vegetable species in the world. Although a tropical plant, okra does fine in temperate zones during the summer.
Okra is one of the few vegetable plants that can stand the heat of Florida’s summers. Few people count okra among their favorite vegetables; most complain that it’s too seedy or too slimy. One Orlando gardener organizes Okrafest (instead of Octoberfest) in honor of the mucilaginous pod every fall (Okra - Orlando Home and Garden - April 2014 http://bit.ly/1CC9GTM).
Growing Okra in Raised Beds (Gumbo, Lady's Finger) - California Gardening - YouTube.
Okra's origin is in Africa
The Egyptians and Moors of the 12th and 13th centuries used the Arabic word for the plant, bamya, suggesting it had come from the east. In the Middle East (in Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, Greek and Turkish), it is called bamia or bamyeh. Its Bulgarian name is bamya.
Okra seed oil
Okra oil is pressed from okra seeds. Oil yields from okra crops are high, exceeded only by that of sunflower oil.
The products of the plant are mucilaginous, resulting in the characteristic "goo" or slime when the seed pods are cooked.
Soak seeds to fasten germination
In cultivation, the seeds are soaked overnight prior to planting to a depth of 1–2 cm. Germination occurs between 6 days (soaked seeds) and 3 weeks. Seedlings require ample water. The seed pods rapidly become fibrous and woody, and, to be edible, must be harvested within a week of the fruit having been pollinated. The fruits are harvested when immature and eaten as a vegetable.
In the height of production, gardeners should harvest the okra daily. Okra produces pounds of edible seed pods for months. If one stalk stops production, cut it back to the main stem and a new pod-producing branch may appear.
Choose your sunniest spot for okra, and wait until the weather is warm to set out your plants. Plants like it when nights are at least in the 60s and days 85 or warmer.
The whole plant is edible - leaves, flowers, fruits, etc.
The pods of the okra plant are not the only edible part. Many people do not know it, but the leaves of the plant are also edible, both cooked and raw.
Okra is packed with health benefits
Okra has a lot of antioxidants and fiber. Its mucilaginous content may slow down sugar absorption and prevent diabetes. Okra does have a reputation for slime but this slime is good for you. There are ways to cook it to avoid the slime.
Don’t Fear the Okra | Recipe | The New York Times.
Vegetables to grow in the summer heat in Florida, Texas, Nevada, etc:
- green onions
Okra - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://bit.ly/1qkbgke
Heavily armed drug cops raid retiree’s garden, seize okra plants - mistaken for cannabis - Washington Post http://buff.ly/1xqO0qS
Homegrown okra plants: A bit of Louisiana by way of L.A. - LA Times http://lat.ms/1qkbvvv
Hints of Help for Diabetes From Okra - WSJ http://on.wsj.com/1qkbHen
Okra’s Triumph of Taste Over Texture - NYTimes.com http://nyti.ms/1qkbO9P
Growing Okra - Bonnie Plants http://bit.ly/1pntZeC
Florida Crop/Pest Management Profile: Okra http://bit.ly/1pnuchR
National Site for the Regional IPM Centers http://bit.ly/1pnuhC5