In recent decades, the inhabitants of our country began to grow on their plots not only traditional cucumbers, tomatoes and potatoes, but also much more exotic plants, such as chestnut (edible), sweet potato, artichoke, and more. Okra is one of these crops, which is not just an interesting food product, but also a decorative ornament of the site.
Okra: what is this plant?
This vegetable, which is of South African origin, has many names: okra, okra, gombo, bhindi, also called edible hibiscus. The plant belongs to the family of malvaceae, therefore it blooms with beautiful large five-petal flowers of cream shade. The fruits of okra look more like pepper pods with clear edges. Inside the pods there are a lot of round seeds that taste like green peas. These pods are good for food only if they are no longer than 3-5 days, otherwise they harden, become rigid and lose their nutritional properties.
Okra is considered a dietary product due to its low calorie content. In addition, it is a valuable source of potassium, vitamin C, carotene and protein. The content in the fruits of okra mucous substances helps with coughing and bronchitis, in addition, this vegetable is indicated for stomach ulcers and gastritis.
Features of growing okra from seed
It would seem, given the southern origin of okra, growing it in our latitudes will not bring much success. However, it is not. Being an annual plant, okra has a fairly high resistance to frost - the culture does not die even at a temperature of -2 degrees. Nevertheless, taking into account the vagaries of the Russian climate, it is not recommended to sow the seeds immediately in open ground. The seedlings are planted in the soil on the plot. In addition, okra is often grown even as a houseplant.
Okra fructifies from June to September, so you should start growing seedlings in late March - early April. Before planting the seeds, it is better to soak for a day in water at room temperature, this will speed up germination. One of the most popular varieties of okra in our country is okra ladies' fingers, which takes about 2 months to grow from seed.
Seeds must be sown in small pots, 3-4 seeds in one. During this period, you should not water the seedlings too often, one watering per 4-5 days is enough. After 2 months you need to thin out the seedlings, leaving one of the most robust per pot, and transplant in open ground. This is done because the okra because of the very delicate root system does not tolerate the transplant. It must be remembered that the seeds of okra germinate at a temperature not lower than 13-15 degrees, ideally it is desirable to provide a temperature of +20. You can sow the seeds in the greenhouse, but at least once a day it needs to be aired.
Planting site for seedlings must be selected, given that okra loves light and does not tolerate cold winds.
Okra: plant photo
Thus, okra, cultivation from the seeds of which is accompanied by some hassle, after planting in open ground becomes quite unpretentious vegetable culture. In addition, she will thank you for taking care of the beautiful flowering and tasty fruits that you collect many times during the season.