Though the origin of this variety of okra is somewhat unclear, it most likely comes from the Civil War era. Its long, tapering shape resembles a cowâ€™s horn, explaining the common name. This heirloom variety has made a name for itself because of its old-fashioned, genuine okra flavor. Originally, okra comes from northern Africa where it still grows wild. This unusual member of the hibiscus family still has an important part in African and Mediterranean cuisine, as well as being a culinary tradition in the American South.
Sowing: Okra loves heat, so gardeners with short growing seasons may need to start their seed indoors; plan to set them out 3-4 weeks after the last frost. Before planting the seeds, soak them overnight to encourage faster germination. Plant 2-3 seeds in one peat pot, and keep them at 80-90 degrees F until germination; thin to the strongest plant by cutting off the rest. When the air temperature reaches a consistent 60 degrees F, plant the seedlings in full sun in rows 3′ apart. For direct sowing in warmer climates, sow the seed 3/4″ deep and later thin the plants.
Growing: When the seedlings reach a height of 4″, apply mulch to conserve moisture and control weeds. Keep the plants moist during dry weather. In cooler climates, it may be necessary to apply black plastic or provide row covers for adequate heat.
Harvesting: Harvest the pods at 5-6″ for best taste and tenderness. This variety is spineless for a painless harvest.
Seed Saving: When saving seed from okra, keep mind mind that it will cross pollinate with other varieties of okra and should be separated from them. Allow the pods to fully mature, and cut them off after they turn brown; if they begin to split, cut them immediately to prevent seed loss. Twisting the pods or putting them in a bag and applying pressure should remove the seed. Spread the seed out to dry for a week, then store in a cool dry place for up to 2-3 years.
Latin Name: Abelmoschus esculentus
Type: Open Pollinated, Warm Season
USDA Zones: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Seeds per Ounce: 500
Planting Method: From Transplant
Sunlight: Full Sun
Height: 80 Inches
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