The article is devoted to how to grow okra on your personal plot, how to care for it and harvest it. Okra is native to Africa. It is grown in southern countries and is also called okra, bhindi, vegetable hibiscus, gombo, ladies' fingers.
The taste and benefits of okra
The fruits of this vegetable have not only excellent taste, but also benefits. They contain a lot of vitamins, easily digestible protein, carotene. Okra pods are rich in potassium salts, carbohydrates. The nutritional value of seed oil is equivalent to that of olive oil.
Okra helps with depletion of the body, when you need to restore strength, with problems of the gastrointestinal tract, cure bronchitis.
If you think that the cultivation of okra is the prerogative of only southern countries, this is not the case. They are also engaged in breeding in Russia. Another writer, and a doctor by profession, A. P. Chekhov grew this vegetable because he knew how useful it is. Although in Russia bkhindi is mainly grown in the Stavropol and Krasnodar regions, it is possible to obtain okra crops in the middle lane.
Okra - description
What is this vegetable hibiscus? This is a herbaceous annual plant, vegetable crop, which belongs to the genus Abelmoschus, to the Malvov family.
Dwarf species grow up to 30-40 cm, and tall forms up to 2 meters in height. The stem of the bhindi is woody, thick, covered with sparse hairs. It is branched at the base and forms 2–7 stems in this place. The leaves on them are dark or light green, long-petiolate, large, pubescent.
The flowers are large, single, bisexual, yellowish-cream, located in the leaf axils. Fruits are polyspermous, pyramidal, elongated. They resemble green pepper pods, but are covered with fine hairs. The fruits of some varieties grow up to 25 cm.
Young okra pods are eaten. They are not stored for a long time, as they quickly become fibrous. Bhindi fruits taste like green beans and zucchini at the same time. Soups, salads are made from them, they are dried, canned, frozen. Okra goes well with onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and red capsicum, so it can be cooked with these vegetables and other spices. The ripe seed drink tastes like coffee. If you want to taste okra dishes, then try growing it in your suburban area. Besides, it is very exciting to see how an exotic vegetable grows.
If you decide to get a harvest of this crop, pay attention to the varieties of okra:
- "Lady fingers";
- "Dwarf Greens";
- Green Velvet;
- "White Velvet".
They are rightfully considered the best.
The southern beauty is picky about soils, it grows on almost any. Only on heavy clayey, too wet, it can die due to stem rot. Of course, on light earth, rich in organic and mineral substances, bhindi will grow best. The place should be well warmed by the sun, and from the north covered from cold winds.
In order for okra to grow and give a crop, its seeds are first sown for seedlings. This is done at the end of March. First, they are soaked for a day so that the seeds germinate better, and then they are planted in peat pots to a depth of 3 cm. They should be high enough, since the plant has a long taproot that cannot be injured during subsequent transplantation.
Okra seeds germinate at a temperature of + 15– + 20 ° С for 1–2 weeks. When the seedlings are a month old, they are fed with nitrophos, diluting 2 tbsp. l. this fertilizer in 10 liters of water.
An adult plant will withstand frosts down to -2 ° C, and the seedlings will not tolerate this. Therefore, you need to plant okra in the garden at the end of any frost. Okra is planted when the seedlings are 45 days old in open ground, and in areas with risky farming - in a greenhouse. Place it, depending on whether it is a tall variety or not, after 30-60 cm, observing the distance between the rows - 50-90 cm.
It is necessary to water the okra so as to soak the soil by 30–40 cm; it is at this depth that the root of the plant is located. But by nature, okra is drought-resistant, so there is no need to abuse watering. If you planted bhindi in a greenhouse, then after watering you need to ventilate, because okra does not like excessive humidity. 10 days after planting seedlings in the ground, the plants are fed with a solution of complete mineral fertilizer (for 5 liters of water 1 tbsp. L.). When it blooms, pour it with potassium nitrate - 40 g per 10 liters. Humus is periodically poured under the plant.
When the okra reaches 40 cm, the top of the main stem must be pinched in order to provoke the growth of lateral shoots and better branching. As the stems grow, they need to be tied to a support. Okra is characterized by rapid growth, early ripening varieties usually bloom and bear fruit within 60–75 days after planting.
The fruits are harvested every 2–4 days. It is important not to let the pods become overripe as they become fibrous, rough and unsuitable for culinary purposes. It is best to pick up okra pods with gloves as they are lined with lint that can irritate the skin. To prepare fruits for future use, they are frozen, canned, dried.
If you want to get your own seeds, then you need to allow several pods to ripen well. Aromatic coffee is made from ripe okra seeds. There is no caffeine in it, so this drink can be given to children, drink it at night.
Learn more about growing okra in this video: