This year, I’m growing a greater range of okra than I normally would because I wanted to conduct a growing trial to compare and contrast some of the different varieties available in New Zealand. Okra is a difficult vegetable to grow because it requires a very hot and long summer, which we don’t have in Auckland. Sometimes the plants only start fruiting in April, which is well into autumn! Unfortunately by the time they get going, it’s starting to get cooler and growth soon stops. I have experimented over the years and have found that growing okra in containers is the best method. This year, I intend to do the same thing.
Varieties I am growing this year
Yesterday, I sowed the following varieties in punnets filled with a little seed raising mix from Gardn Gro, and placed them on my heat pad.
I’m not sure if there are other varieties available in NZ, but these were the ones that I wanted to try and grow this year. I’m sure the selection is greater overseas but I’m not keen on the hassle of importing seeds because MAP (the Ministry of Primary Industries) is pretty strict about what can be brought into the country due to pests and diseases.
Once the seedlings germinate and grow a bit, I will transfer them to six-cell punnets. Then when the plants are bigger, I will pot them up into individual 10 cm pots with a bit of potting mix. From there, when they’re big enough (and it’s hot enough outside), I will transfer them to 9 litre black plastic containers and wait patiently for them to crop.
One of the things that’s really good about okra is that it doesn’t require pollination. The flowers are also really beautiful. Apparently they belong to the hibiscus family.
I’ll be reporting back regarding progress of the plants later on in the season, so check back regularly for updates.
Ideas for using okra in the kitchen