In past gardens, once it was warm, we would plant our fruits, vegetables, and herbs and harvest until the season was over. Last year, we began succession planting. This year, we sowed okra seeds in our second wave of planting. We ended up with five healthy okra plants and they are almost six feet tall.
Once the okra plant blooms with its gorgeous yellow flowers with the burgundy centers, you know okra will be ready to pick soon. The key to picking okra is to pick often about every other day. If your okra pod grows larger than three inches, it become woody and hard and is inedible. If you do have an okra pod that is larger than three inches, all is not lost. Just let it stay on the plant and grow as large as possible. Once the pod begins to dry out, you can open it and save the seeds to grow more okra plants next summer.
Okra is one of my favorite foods. I love to eat it fried, cooked with tomatoes, or in gumbo. My husband tolerates it; it's not his favorite vegetable. Our children had not eaten it yet. For the past few weeks, we have been harvesting okra every other day. I wanted to teach our boys how to make one of my favorite dishes, okra with tomatoes and onions. They were excited to help me cook, but skeptical about the taste of the dish. "Mommy, I will try it, but I don't know if I will like it," said Jeremiah as we were making it. Even though they were both skeptical, they liked the dish we prepared together.
The down side to the okra plants growing so high is, at times, it is hard to harvest. The plant's leaves can be irratating to your skin. I typically harvest with long sleeves on to prevent my skin from touching the leaves. We have harvested so much, we could eat okra more than once a week. We have decided to freeze some of the okra to have later in the year.
We are glad our okra did well this season. This is the most we have ever grown since we began gardening. Hopefully, we will have the same success next year.