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Old January 19, 2015   #16
Zeedman
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Okra is challenging in areas with cooler summers. I've grown it here in Wisconsin, but not without many years of failures. Most of the varieties I planted - short DTM or not - ended up looking like those in Joseph's first photo. It doesn't even take frost to kill okra... after several nights in the 40's, the plants begin to wilt & die.

I've had good luck, though, with the variety "Pentagreen". It is more cool-tolerant than most, and while it too can get wilt if subjected to cool temperatures, it is slow to succumb. My experience is similar to Joseph's; with every generation of seed saved, the plants seem to get a little stronger.

The problem, of course, is to get seed from the first generation. If night temperatures in the 40's are common in summer, then some form of protection will be necessary, to keep the plants from dying before seed has matured. If you let a single pod on each plant go for seed, it will have minimal effect on the production of new pods to eat... and hopefully, at least a few of the pods left for seed will reach maturity before plant death.
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Old January 19, 2015   #17
Zeedman
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Deleted duplicate post.

Last edited by Zeedman; January 19, 2015 at 06:49 PM. Reason: computer trouble, duplicate post
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Old January 19, 2015   #18
KarenO
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Its not so much the DTM that's the problem in a northern garden but the cooler nights. Okra needs lots of heat and not just during the daytime. I've grown it and gotten a few pods but in my garden its more of a novelty than a productive crop. Very much will depend on the weather in your zone 4 garden but I say you won't know till you give it a try.
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Old May 24, 2015   #19
joseph
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I planted okra a week or so ago, and have been growing it in a heat chamber. I planted 16 seeds per pot. Today I transplanted the strongest 4 plants of each variety into individual pots and moved them into the greenhouse

The varieties included:

Lee
Alabama Red, 6% germination, Culled
Gold Coast
Jade
Jimmy T's
Burgundy
Cajun Jewel
Evertender
Cow Horn
Fife Creek Cowhorn, 25% germination
Star of David, 6% germination, Culled
Burmese

Emerald
Heavy Hitter
Dwarf, didn't germinate
Face of The Earth Grex
Abelmoschus moschatus, yay! different species.

6 varieties of home grown seed from far away places, Culled 2 of them.
2 varieties of home grown seed from local swaps.
6 lots of seed from my breeding program.

Of note are that the seeds that were grown in my garden and in the two nearby gardens had a strong tendency towards helmet heads...

I collected one lot of seed very late in the season, which I called "Seconds" because the plants made seed, but barely and without finesse. They got culled. Too many helmet heats. To slow growing.

I noticed one variety that had fibrous roots instead of a strong tap root. That could be a very useful trait to someone like me that is growing okra indoors for later trasnplant. Boo Hoo. I didn't note which variety it was.

There was one variety that had a taproot that was highly susceptible to breaking off. A trait that long term should be selected against for a grower of transplants.

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Old June 1, 2015   #20
Ken B
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Joseph, the 3 you mentioned with lower germ (Alabama Red, Fife Creek Cowhorn, Star of David) are all heirlooms that have longer/staggered germination. Faster and more uniform germination seems to be a trait modern agriculture has bred for more recently.

The longer/staggered germ isn't an issue here in the South -- with hot days and warm nights, the slower germing seeds catch up fast -- but makes a big difference to you northern folks!!
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Old June 1, 2015   #21
joseph
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The variety called "Emerald" died from transplant shock.
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Old June 1, 2015   #22
Ken B
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What rate of transplant shock do you usually see?

Back when I was first growing okra in Missouri, I transplanted it, and think I had something like 10% transplant shock deaths. Eventually I realized that with the hot summers that it made more sense to direct seed them.
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Old June 2, 2015   #23
joseph
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Last year I didn't have any transplant shock. This year, it was a significant problem when I potted them up. My fault I suppose... Last year I grew from the start in the greenhouse. This year I moved them from the basement under grow lights to the greenhouse at the same time as I transplanted them. I have a heater in the basement, so I can get fast germination of warm loving crops. I haven't had any problems with other crops that I treat that way... For example the watermelons I did the same way on the same day didn't exhibit transplant shock.

Transplanting okra is well worth the trouble for me, because bugs are an extreme problem to newly germinating okra plants in my garden. Older plants aren't bothered. Eventually, if I keep growing transplants, I'll select for traits that are better suited to transplanting.

Last edited by joseph; June 2, 2015 at 12:41 AM.
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Old June 2, 2015   #24
joseph
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Varieties which showed little transplant shock are:

Cajun Jewel
Jimmy T
Clemson
Bam Ya Tohumu Sultani (Turkish)
Branchy (A sibling group from my garden last year)
A NOID that I'm calling Trade

Last edited by joseph; June 2, 2015 at 08:29 AM.
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Old June 2, 2015   #25
macmex
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It seems that okra is one one of those crops with a lot of genetic breadth in most varieties' gene pools. Even if you aren't trying for adaptation to short season, it pays to select and save seed. George and Mary Stewart selected for multi-branching, coming with Stewart's Zeebest, which is my favorite variety. Ron Cook (neighbor of mine) did this with Clemson Spineless and arrived at Heavy Hitter.

For over a decade I simply saved seed of Stewart's Zeebest. The resulting strain was okay. But when I started following Ron Cook's example, and selecting my seed plants, wow!, they really shaped up fast! I know, someone will be thinking, "Well, duh! But I simply hadn't tried doing this with okra and it has been really great to see how malleable the plant is.

I think there is probably room for MANY people to work with okra, selecting for the traits they really like. Joseph is setting good example.

George

Tahlequah, OK
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Old June 16, 2015   #26
joseph
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I transplanted okra into the field yesterday.

I took pity on the varieties that I had previously culled, or that had died from transplant shock, so I replanted them. I included Ron Cook's Heavy Hitter, which missed getting planted previously. This time I didn't pot-up the newly germinated seedlings like I do with everything else I grow as transplants. I put three seeds in each pot, and then culled to the strongest growing seedling. That seems like a more appropriate strategy for okra transplants at my place.

The varieties that I culled for slow/low germination didn't make it into the field yet. One of them is just now thinking about starting to germinate. The other not yet...

I was rushing to get them planted prior to a thunderstorm so didn't take photos.

Last edited by joseph; June 16, 2015 at 01:21 PM.
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Old June 16, 2015   #27
joseph
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeedman View Post
It doesn't even take frost to kill okra... after several nights in the 40's, the plants begin to wilt & die.
The second year I planted okra, I was hyper excited, because one plant in the patch didn't succumb to the first hint of a fall frost... It succumbed the next night to approximately the same conditions.

Nevertheless, that plant produced a fruit, and I replanted the seeds. Last fall, I harvested okra the day I did the fall tilling of the fields on the 1st of November. Most of the okra had died from cold about 8 weeks earlier.

Sure seems like there is a lot of diversity within okra that hasn't been fully explored.
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Old June 30, 2015   #28
joseph
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It has been very hot here since I transplanted the okra about a week ago. A few more plants died from transplant shock, but not too many. I felt like I didn't have enough to take to the farmer's market so I started a few more plants from my seed from last year, and set them under a shade tree overnight before transplanting them on Friday. Something chomped off about half the plants! Ha! That's a big part of why I transplant okra. To get larger plants into the field so that they don't get eaten.

One of my biggest problems with growing okra is that they are unfamiliar to me. So I keep inadvertently chopping off plants while weeding. I'm not culling anything in the field because of slow growth. I already did that in the greenhouse. I'm now letting them fend for themselves.
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Old June 30, 2015   #29
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Okra, Clemson Spineless, has been grown three years, one year with success. In all cases it was started in pots in the greenhouse. This is in Zone 5. Transplant shock and cool weather did them in on the two years or failure.

From six plants I got more than I could use, since I hardly knew what to do with it. This was the good year, 2012. the other years it was a disaster and they mostly died. Now with the experience gained I will juice them with other vegetables. In my case they have to be picked every other day since when in peak growing season they get large very quickly.

This year I sowed directly into the garden on 7 June. There are about sixteen plants which appear to be thriving for now about two inches tall, so I am optimistic.
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Old August 9, 2015   #30
joseph
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On Friday I evaluated how the okra patch was growing.

Among my landrace okra there were 6 pods on 20 plants. I rated the plants between 1 and 5 for vigor. Average was 3.8 There were 9 plants given the maximum score for vigor and 2 that were given the minimum. The plants that were given the minimum score were from a sibling group from the tallest plant in my garden last year. That sibling group also had a plant with the highest vigor score.

Among the foreign okra that is growing for the first time in my garden there were 18 pods on 46 plants. On the vigor scale they scored between 2 and 5+. The average score was 3.4. Of 20 varieties that I am testing, only 3 varieties contained a plant that was given the maximum score for vigor.

I gave one plant in Bam Ya Tohumu Sultani a vigor score of 5+ because it was the most vigorous plant in the garden. The other 2 plants from this variety were given a vigor score of 4. All plants had at least one pod on them.

All 3 plants in a NOID variety that I am calling Trade were given a perfect vigor score. It hasn't produced any fruit. It is burgandy colored. Some of the leaves were turning brown.

The 3 plants in Fife Creek were given scores of 2, 5, and 3. That seems to indicate high diversity within this variety. One plant was called "Great", and the other two were called "brown leaves".


Varieties that have produced at least one fruit are:

Jade,
Julies Grex (most fruits to date),
Bam Ya Tohumu Sultani,
Burmese
Face Of The Earth Grex,
Gold Coast,
Ever Tender


65% of the foreign varieties had leaves which have partially died, and turned brown. The varieties on which the leaves are turning brown are:

Trade,
Clemson,
Julies Grex,
Bam Ya Tohumu Sultani (some plants),
Fife Creek (some plants)
Heavy Hitter,
Burmese,
Piggy 1,
Face of the Earth Grex,
Lee (bug eaten),
Missy's From SLC,
Ever Tender,
Noid (lost marker)

Some of the varieties are already branching. That seems like a good trait for my growing conditions because it might provide more fruiting opportunities earlier in the season. The branching varieties include:

Gregg's,
Cow Horn,
Piggy 1,
Cajun Jewel,
Noid,

After scoring the plants, I cut off all the brown leaves, and removed any seed pods from plants that had brown leaves. Woo Hoo! I had okra to take to the farmer's market... When I brought the unsold home, that some of them were too fibrous to cut. Guess I need to learn how to harvest okra...

My fall frosts might start as soon as 4 weeks from now...
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