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Garden Update: Okra’s Up!

Fried Okra

Where did the word “gumbo” come from? From Africa, the home of okra. Gumbo means okra. In more ways than one! Nowadays gumbo means a great stew or soup, usually of Cajun or Creole style, with all sorts of goodies in it. Including okra. (Wouldn’t be gumbo without okra.)

Okra is amazingly easy to grow here in central Texas. We’ve had crops in the past that grew above ten feet tall, and were still producing edible pods in early November. (Notice I was careful not to say we were still eating fresh okra that late. No, by the end we were paying people to take the stuff. Prolific damned plants.)

We always plant our okra in the same garden strip where we raise English peas; those peas like an early start and cool weather, and by this time of year they’re done and gone.

Okra likes heat, and we’ve had plenty recently. (It was 103° F here today.) Mikey and I planted heirloom red velvet okra last Friday, and they’re already shooting up! A couple of the infant seedlings are two inches tall and spreading healthy-looking leaves. The package said it would take 7-10 days to germinate, but these little babies decided not to wait.

The seed package also said 60-70 days to maturity. If the growth rate is anything like the germination, we’ll be eating red okra by the 4th of July…

Enjoy the (Odd Colored Gumbo) Heat!


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