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Okra, An Olympic Hopeful For Dallas Gardens

This morning I woke up wanting to be like Gabby, the American gymnastics darling of the Summer Olympics.

I wanted to look like her, smile like her, have her discipline, WIN like Gabby!

My next thought was of my garden and what I needed to do out there in the early morning before it gets hot.  Before any more depressing thoughts of never winning an Olympic gold medal entered my head,I jumped out of bed and into my vegetable garden to coax my veggies into looking like Olympiads.

At this time of year, tomatoes are hanging on waiting for fall, cucumbers have stopped producing and the leaves look weathered, bell peppers and red peppers are stable but also wait for a drop in temperature. 

The super performers for Texas gardens in August  are okra, eggplant, and jalapeños. 

Maybe I am more like Gabby’s Olympic coach, Liang Chow. Okra will be my Olympic hopeful.

Okra Blossom and Okra Pods

 I will squirt the aphids off my okra with water, pick okra pods on time before they get too big and stringy tasting, and turn them into culinary delights that will cause even the pickiest of eaters to say, I LOVE OKRA!

Now I am imagining stands filled with fans, chanting we want okra, we love okra, and okra can win!

If you want to be a winner with okra remember these tips:

Planting Time: Don’t plant too early, the soil temperature needs to warm up and minimum average temperature should be above 65°. Plant seed in April for summer harvest and July15-August 25 for fall harvest.

Needs: Full Sun, adequate spacing, moderate water needs. Texas A&M recommends one inch of water weekly in the absence of rainfall for good production.

Harvest: pick the pods every day; they should be less 3-3 ½ inches in length. 

Varieties:  We have had great success with Clemson Spineless at the Demonstration Garden. Try Burgundy for the burgundy colored okra pods.  Other suggested varieties are Emerald, Louisiana Green Velvet, Annie Oakley (smaller stature-I like this one), Red Velvet and Beck’s Big.

Cooking:    Click here for a good Dallas Morning News okra recipe.

The burgundy varieties turn green when cooked and taste just like the green okra pods.  Okra blossoms are edible.


About Dallas Garden Buzz

Dallas County Master Gardeners growing and sharing from The Raincatcher's Garden.

5 responses »

  1. I love the okra/olympic analogy! Do you have any suggestions on how to get my husband to eat it???

    • Most southern gentlemen like fried okra don’t they or maybe you could introduce him to a sort of okra stew topped with shrimp and hide the okra!
      Definitely understand your dilemna, supposing nutrition data won’t help either?

      I made corn fritters with okra in them last week(a Southern Living Recipe)
      -that’s worth a try!

  2. Okra Pilau

    Yield: 4 servings

    8 bacon slices, diced
    11/2 cups sliced fresh okra*
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 green bell pepper, chopped
    11/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    2 cups water or chicken stock

    Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove bacon, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet.

    Sauté okra, onion, and bell pepper in hot drippings over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in rice and next 3 ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from heat; stir in bacon. Let stand 5 minutes.

  3. Your Olympic review makes even me wnt to eat slimy okra!


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