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Okra not producing

Posted by avidchamp 7 OK (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 30, 09 at 9:47

We have 3 Okra plants that were bought as plants and set out in the garden and a 60 foot long row of Okra that was grown from seed. The plants are all extremely healthy in appearance, about waist high and fully leafed out to the point that they look like shrubs. The problem is: no Okra. We have gotten 4 or 5 pods from the transplanted ones but absolutely no sign of anything on the ones planted from seed. I do not remember where we got the seed but the plants came from Lowes. The seed was planted on May 31 and within a week the plants were showing and growing. At planting, I fertilized them with 5-20-20 and later side dressed with 10-20-10. I use a soaker hose and regularly water them.

My friend who grows Okra commercially stopped by a couple of days ago and mentioned a problem that he and a fellow farmer had some years back. The bought commercial seed and it turned out just like mine is now. He said that there is a strain of Okra apparently bred for cooler climates that just does not produce until cooler weather and maybe never. He and the other farmer successfully sued the supplier and won the case because of their loss of income. He thinks this Okra that I have is possibly the same strain that he had in the problem year. My question is whether anyone else is suffering from the same predicament and whether I should just mow the stuff down and start over with new seed. Thanks, Bob


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Okra not producing

Bob

This has been a very screwy growing season what with the spring rains, cooler temps, then horrible heat and back to the cool fronts. Typically, okra is a hot-weather plant. What did the seed packet name the one's you planted? I suspect the transplanted okra is Crimson Spineless as it is the most common around Zone 7 and I saw the plants @ Lowes too. We planted seeds about mid-May and ours just started producing about 2 weeks ago. Ours is just about shoulder-height right now. Right now, production has slowed because of the cooler temps. I think when it warms up next week into the 90's, you'll start seeing some. Don't mow them down yet! I don't think you'd get anything if you re-planted now. We've still got August (hot!) & September (Indian summer maybe!).

Paula


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RE: Okra not producing

Bob,

I, too, wonder if you remember the variety of okra that you planted? Although, I do have to say I have tried many types of okra and every one of them has produced a good crop. (I haven't tried the commercial varieties though.)

Based on your description of big, healthy, shrub-like plants and no pods, I'd say they likely are getting too much nitrogen and, no, your fertilizers are not excessively high in nitrogen but there is the possibility that your soil already had plenty of nitrogen and didn't need more added at all. Other than that, the only things I know of that slow down pod production is soil whose pH is too low (but, if you've grown okra successfully in that soil before and haven't done anything to change your soil pH, then ignore that thought) or nematodes or plants that were seeded too early and exposed to cold weather early in process, which can keep them from being productive all year.

I am pretty much baffled that you aren't getting okra pods at this time of year. When I was a kid in Texas, there was an old saying that some ag extension agents used (JOKINGLY!) that went something like this: "If you can't grow okra, we can't help you." Now, c'mon, don't get mad--that was supposed to make you laugh.

As I see it, there are two things you can try and, if it were my okra, I'd try one of them on half the row and the other one on the other half of the row.

1.) Buy a Bloom Booster (and I'd choose Green Light Super Bloom because of its 12-55-6 ratio) and feed it to the plans. If that amount of phosphorus won't kick your okra into production, then probably nothing (in terms of fertilizer will). I haven't used a bloom booster on okra because it normally is not necessary. However, since your okra is behaving oddly, a bloom booster might be just what it needs.

2) Withhold water and fertilizer. Here's my theory on that. Okra plants have a purpose in life. Their purpose is to produce seeds that will perpetuate their species after they die. Okra plants that are well-watered and well-fed obviously have a 'cushy' life and do not feel threatened, so are not in a hurry to set seed. By withholding food and water (can't do anything about the heavy rains, unfortunately), you might make them feel threatened and that should induce them to flower and set seeds,which of course would give you okra pods.

I'd try the bloom booster on half the row, and the starvation technique on the other half and see which, if either, gives results. If neither of them has any effect, then you either have a variety issue, a pH issue or a nematode issue....because nothing else will make sense if you don't.

I certainly wouldn't mow it down because it could be just on the verge of producing and maybe a little tweaking will kick it into production. Most vegetables eventually produce even if they don't do it when we think they should.

The only other thing I can think of, and I have no idea if such varieties exist, is that some vegetable varieties (don't know if any okra varieties are among them) are daylength-sensitive and don't produce until daylength is just right for that specific variety. George has mentioned daylength sensitivity in some (but not all) beans, for example. I've never heard of any okra varieties being daylength-sensitive, but it might be a possibility. Without knowing what variety you have, it would be hard to figure out if this is a possibility.

Good luck figuring it our. I hope you'll keep us posted on what you do and whether or not it helps.

Next year I'd try raising the okra with absolutely no added fertilizer or use only one with very low numbers, like Espoma Plant-tone. I don't fertilize my okra--all it gets is the compost that is added to the soil annually--and we get more than we can eat.

Dawn


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RE: Okra not producing

Agreed, I wouldn't fertilize okra. The stuff grows like a weed and I'd be afraid of upsetting some kind of a balance if I fertilized.

I don't believe okra is day length sensitive. But that's just my limited experience with a couple of varieties. Our okra hasn't really started much production yet. We planted it May 18 and have only gotten a few pods. But neither has it grown very well. First we had wet, cool weather, then it simply stopped raining and went into the 100s for weeks. I'm sure ours will start setting fruit now. We're having some rain today.

George


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RE: Okra not producing

Hi George,

Rain! Hooray! Hope it pours endlessly.

Dawn


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RE: Okra not producing

We have been trying to remember the name of the strain of Okra and the Crimson Spinless seems to ring a bell in our brain. I talked to the folks at Ellison Seed in Norman today and they said that we could be looking at a 90 day period for the Okra so perhaps within a couple of weeks we might start seeing something. If these don't do something within another month, I am going to declare a new name for them. Since I live in Goldsby, I will call them "Goldsby Podless". With some closer inspection this afternoon, I am seeing some things that could possibly be the beginnings of some blooms. The plants are just under waist high and we are accostomed to having Okra more in the 5 to 6 foot high category. Next time, I will be buying seed from a place like Ellison instead of the big box stores where you take what they have.


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RE: Okra not producing

I planted clemson spineless #80 seed from Dawn on April 16. My plants are about three feet tall now and I've been eating okra off of them for most of July. I think I get a pod every other day from each plant, or thereabouts.


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RE: Okra not producing

Bob,

If it is Clemson Spineless, I think it ought to make pods in about 55-65 days, so I don't know why they'd tell you 90 days? If it is Clemson Spineless 80, it can produce in as little as 54 days. I am baffled about the 90 day thing, totally baffled. My Clemson Spineless began producing about 42 days after it was transplanted, and I transplanted it when it was 3 weeks old, so that would be about 63 days.

The comment about "Goldsby Podless" was just too funny.

I just wonder if the soil stayed too cold or too wet too long in the spring and stunted the plants.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (www.rareseeds.com) has a nice variety of wonderful heirloom okras and every one of them I've ever tried has done extremely well for me, so if you want to try some of the older varieties, they're a great source.

Game bird, Good to see you back posting. Was it the flu and are y'all over it?

Dawn


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RE: Okra not producing

I planted mine so late that I didn't expect anything yet, but I can see over the garden fence to two gardens. Both have large okra plants. I could see one row quite well and I saw no okra and only a few blooms.

Dawn, do you freeze your okra whole? This lady down in Carter County told me that she just washed it, let it dry and threw it all in a bag whole. I tried it and it worked just fine. I could cut it up before it was totally thawed to use in cooking. I think if I have extra, I will do that again. I usually just plant about what I think we will eat tho.


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RE: Okra not producing

I would like to try some of that "Goldsby Podless", would you save me some seed:)

My okra is no ball of fire yet, it has been producing about 3 weeks. We have 25 plants and have gotten enough to share and still have a mess about once a week. My plants are about 3 ft. tall. My okra is most often much taller, but I think this has not been a good okra year.

I expect my okra to start producing well now. I noticed today that it had a lot of blooms. I also expect to have a shorter productive year. I think I planted too early and exposed my plants to needless stress. I will just have to wait and see. You know what they say. "Live and Learn, die and forget it all". Larry


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RE: Okra not producing

Carol,

When I freeze okra, I usually slice it first (and bread it for frying).

My freezers are really, really full though, so unless a new freezer magically appears in the garage (and it won't because we just bought a new car, so there goes all the 'extra' spending money until all those car payments are done in a few years), I have nowhere to put anything else frozen.

I usually plant enough for fresh eating too and never expect to freeze much because the freezers are usually full by the time the okra really starts producing heavily. For so many years the deer have gotten so much of the okra that we haven't had much of a surplus. With the taller fence, we're getting to keep all of it for a change, so I need to plant less next year, or come up with freezer space for the surplus!

Larry, my okra is just going nuts lately. If I don't pick every two days, the pods get too big and too tough too quickly. We're having the best okra year ever here, and I think it is because of the rain. My okra usually grows dryland style, so in drought years it may not produce a lot although it does produce. With all the rain we've had in July, it is making pods like mad.

I struggle with when to plant it every spring. I always get the urge to plant it too early, and the weather is so erratic that I know I shouldn't plant early. Not planting okra and other true heat-lovers too early is just about the hardest thing for a gardener in spring.

Dawn


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RE: Okra not producing

I'm mostly over the flu, but as someone else here posted, there's good days and bad days. I'll wake up feeling "Oh, I'm over it" and by early afternoon I crap out and have to take a nap. So I'm not entirely over it.


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RE: Okra not producing

Hello. I take consolation that I'm not the only one having a bad year with my Okra. I'm in SW Florida and planted about thirty plants mostly because there isn't much else that I know of that can do well in mid to late summer heat here.

All started out well. The plants grew strong and robust. I was very excited to get a couple meals from them and was expecting production to fly into high gear soon.

The next thing I knew, production stopped all together. A couple plants showed signs of stress (mid to late day wilting and yellowing of the older leaves).

It has been a dry year here. I mulch well and check for moisture before watering. The soil is not overly damp.

I suspect the evil rootknot nematode to be the "root" of my problems. I'm very disappointed and don't know what to do. I chip and shred all organic wastes which I nourish my sugar sand garden with. I've been working on that soil since 1988 and have turned that white beach sand into quite decent garden soil. At least I don't need sunglasses if I turn over a spade full any more.

Any helpful ideas would be appreciated. I'm pretty big on doing everything organically where the garden is concerned but with these nasty little creatures I would not rule out nuclear weapons. ;)

I've heard something about fumigation some long while ago but ruled it out thinking at the time that it was too dangerous. I would now rule it back in. I have solarized the garden with clear plastic in the past and found it to be a waste of time. Just didn't work. Good luck with your crops. Best regards, Okraless in Ft. Myers.


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RE: Okra not producing

Gamebird,

I got over it pretty quickly....except that when I thought I was over it and had a good day, it then was followed by a bad day, so I completely understand. I am completely over it now, though, I think.

Capt. Turbo,

I don't know of any truly effective organic remedies for most nematodes. Some of them work and some of them don't. The most effective seems to be to plant marigolds in summer/fall and then follow that with Elbon cereal rye in fall/winter. Even that it no guarantee, and while is it moderately effective here in our part of the country, it might not be effective in yours. On the linked page below from Texas A&M University, they discuss the marigold and Elbon rye planting in the answer to one of the questions. That seems to have been their standard recommendation for a long time.

When I was a kid in Texas, home gardeners could buy and apply the chemical soil fumigant Vapam. It was taken off the market at some point, but has sporadically reappeared on the market for commercial growers only. I believe the latest version is Vapam HL, but it is restricted and can only be sold/used by state-licensed pesticide applicators, or by persons working for/under those licensed applicators. So, when it comes to applying it or any other chemical soil fumigant, you may be out of luck if you are not a licensed applicator.

I prefer organic methods and techniques myself but there are a few garden problems for which there is not a great organic solution, and I believe root-knot nematodes is one of those garden problems. I don't even know that there is a good chemical solution, unless you're a commercial grower.

You might try calling or e-mailing your county extension agent to see if a home gardener can hire a licensed applicator to apply a fumigant to a vegetable garden for nematode control. At least then you'll know if it is even possible or if you have to find some other way.

I think if I lived in Florida and had sugar sand, which means (to me) that no matter what you do, you will have nematodes, I'd either try gardening in containers or in raised beds, at least when it comes to nematode-susceptible plants. If in raised beds, I'd put down an impermeable layer between the bed and the ground to keep the nematodes from traveling upward into the bed. I am not even sure if that would keep them out.

I am sure it must be incredibly frustrating to have spent over 20 years building the soil and yet still have nematode issues.

Some of the heirloom okras might have some nematode resistance, but I don't know how you'd find that out without testing them yourself since no one tests old heirloom types for disease and pest resistance.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: TAMU Plant Answers: Okra


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RE: Okra not producing

Okra here this year hasn't acted normal. I always wait to around Memorial day to plant and then only if the soil temp is up. Okra is a heat lover. If you wait till the soil is really warm it will germinate well. This year I have a great stand. The first okra got about 1824 inches tall and just quit growing. And grew the biggest leaves and stalks I've ever had and started setting okra. Others I've talked too had the same thing happen. I have five different varieties and that all looked the same. Not getting a lot yet. Two weeks ago I gave them a dose of Neptune's Harvest and they were jumping till the cool weather hit. I think the heat, drought and wind affected them. Jay


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My plants are 4' tall and beautiful. Not producing either. A friend of mine is dealing with the same thing. I would say it's been too cool.


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RE: Okra not producing

I think it's been too cold and wet as well. When I was a kid, my best friend had a great idea for curing starvation in Africa- give them okra. No water, no fertilizer, no nothing. That's what okra likes. My plants are very small and just now starting to produce. I planted them from seed in early May.


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RE: Okra not producing

Y'all must be quite a bit further north than I am (and I am way, way, way down at the southern end of Oklahoma) because our okra and melons have been going nuts since early July.

I'd say that I hope you get hotter, drier weather soon, but that just sounds mean, so I'll just say I hope the okra gets what it needs and starts producing heavily soon.

Dawn


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RE: Okra not producing

I am in southern Canadian Cty. I sowed red velvet on 5/31/09 and it is has set pods. Should be harvesting within the week. My estimated harvest date was 8/9, so it is pretty much on schedule.

My Clemson Spineless has been producing for several weeks now.

We are going into a pattern of hot & dry weather, so everyone's okra should perk up.

Good Luck,
Bruce


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RE: Okra not producing

I only have a small amount, planted late, and the only thing we have harvested from ours are Japanese Beetles. LOL
My DH likes his okra and tomatoes so he was out there tonight knocking those JB's into a glass of soapy water.


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RE: Okra not producing

I plant clemson spineless every year. It usually starts producing when it is about a foot tall. And i usually plant about 400ft of it, and it is back braking work to pick it.

This year it started a little later but it is still less then 3 ft tall and producing pretty good. I usually have to bend the stalks over to pick it by now. The deer have hit it pretty hard but have not got the tops yet.

I planted some burgandy okra and got tired of it not producing and getting woody too fast. So with 200ft of it and a handful every now and then it got mowed down and tilled in. I think i'll do some turnips or beets in it's place.


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RE: Okra not producing

I figured my non-producing okra so far this year needed a trigger to start production. Sooo, I cut off the bottom or biggest bloom day before yesterday with my pocket knife and lo & behold today I see double blooms on most of the okra here. I'm not sure whether I did it or nature finally told it to go ahead and bloom, but there it is, big as life. To show you how bad it really was, I have six rows 50 ft. long, and tuesday I picked 5 or 6 lbs. off it, so now Im going to let bygones be bygones and just reap the harvest. It was not only me, but most of the folks around here were not getting any okra either.
Best to all of ya,
Bill


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RE: Okra not producing

Greetings,

I am a new poster and this is my first post. I am in the OKC area and am experiencing a different oddity with my okra. I have four plants from seed planted in mid April and they are producing. The thing is that the plants themselves are only about 8" tall, therefore are only producing one or two okra per plant. It's a funny sight to see these little plants with one or two big okra pods almost as big as the plants themselves.

Is anyone else experiencing this or possibly have an idea why my okra aren't resembling shrubs?

Thanks,
chris


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RE: Okra not producing

Greetings Chris!

Your okra plants are only 8" tall....wow. I planted really late, after memorial day, and mine are at least 3' tall.

How much sun are they getting? What kind of soil? Besides the rain, how much water are they getting? What kind are they?

Brad


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RE: Okra not producing

Chris,

I bet the 8" plants are cute and much easier to pick than the Cow Horn I planted about 5 years ago. My brother-in-law told me how good it was and the pods could get very long and still be tender. Well I am a sucker for trying something new, so I planted a 40' row of it. It did produce well and taste good, but the stuff got so tall it was hard to pick. When I pulled the plants in the fall I measured the tallest on at about 14.5 ft.

Needless to say, that I retired from a Cow Horn farmer. All Okra makes me itch when I pick it, and the Cow Horn seemed just as bad as any. I also had a hard time gitting rid of the stalks. I always burn the stalks so the larger the stalk, the harder to clean the garden in the fall. I would take the 8" plant any time over the Cow Horn. At least I could take a foot stool to the garden and sit down while I picked the okra.

I bet by now the plants are much more than 8", if not will be soon.

Larry


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RE: Okra not producing

Chris,

Welcome to the forum.

I can think of a couple of possibilities.

First, the soil generally is colder in April than okra likes, so if you plant when the soil is cold the plants can remain permanently stunted for the remainder of the growing season. That sounds exactly like what you have.

This is what Dr. Sam Cotner, in his book "The Vegetable Book", says about okra exposed to cool weather "If planted too early in the spring and subjected to unfavorably cool weather, the plants will remain stunted and have low yields."

For future reference, Dr. Cotner (who was the head of the Horticulture Dept. at Texas A&M at the time he wrote the book) recommends that you not plant okra until the soil temperature at seeding depth has warmed up to 68 degrees for at least 5 consecutive days and the nighttime air temperatures have remained above 50 degrees for five consecutive nights.

I am even more conservative than Dr. Cotner and usually don't plant my okra until the nights have been above 50 degrees for a couple of weeks, because I don't want a late cool night or two here in our low elevation near the Red River to stunt my okra plants.

However, there are a couple of other things that could have happened....or you may have a couple of things going on in combination.

If you have very sandy soil (and I do mean almost pure sand, not sandy loam) that is very low in organic matter and nutrients, that could be the problem. The larger problem with sandy soil or sandy loam would be the possibility of nematodes in the soil which attack the roots and cause plants to be stunted. If your plants have an off color that isn't quite the same color as you'd see in healthy okra plants and they are stunted in growth, I'd suspect a lack of nutrition or nematodes.

Low soil pH is another possibility. Okra plants don't do well on soil with a pH lower than 6.0. However, if the okra pods that are forming are normal, it is not likely your soil's pH is too low. On the other hand, if the pods don't look right and have a sort of puffy and irregular shape to them, it might be a pH issue.

Excessively wet soil during early root growth can damage the roots to the extent that they never recover and the plants remain stunted.

Brad already mentioned sunlight, or lack of such, as a possibility.

Clearly your okra has some sort of issue, because even a dwarf variety like Little Lucy or Baby Bubba will get 18-24" tall.

So, having read what we all have said so far, what do you think is wrong with your okra?

Dawn


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RE: Okra not producing

Thanks for the feedback everybody.

If stunting can happen due to cold, I'm gonna have to put my bet there. We had a late freeze a week or two before I planted. I knew they were hot weather plants but I couldn't help myself. I had the seed, the space and well...

My home soil test measured around 6.5-7 pH and I water them sparingly. Our recent spats of rain have kept them plenty wet, however.

The sun or lack of it may play a part. I have trees surrounding the garden so direct sunlight is limited to only about 7 hours a day during high sun. I am going to wait until next year to introduce my neighbors to my hobby when I cultivate the front yard where the sun is.

I will say that I am glad the okra aren't 14 feet high, I have shade issues already.

Besides, if I recall correctly, I wished for a nice "little" garden. Haha, be careful what you wish for.

Happy Friday
chris


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I always wanted to plant cowhorn. Hmm, maybe I will re-think that. I normally plant Burgundy, the purple pods are easy to see. Also mine only seem to produce at the top so I don't miss any pods. I don't know if that is from the type I plant, or just the fact that I normally have them planted way too close. LOL Anyway, I have been satisfied with it. The taste is good and it is much easier to pick when you don't have to get into the plant to get it.

My sister planted okra one year that looked like palm trees growing out of raised beds. When I asked about it, she just said she bought the wrong kind. Until a couple of years ago, I didn't know about cowhorn, but I guess that was what she had. I'd like to have a few plants of that just to confuse the neighbors.


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RE: Okra not producing

Chris,

One way to 'introduce' neighbors to your hobby of growing edibles is to plant attractive veggies in the front beds. There are a couple of dwarf okras that are gorgeous and produce good yields. You could 'sneak' them into a bed an no one would recognize them as okra unless they are gardeners themselves. I've linked one of the beautiful dwarf varieties below. It is "Little Lucy" and is a red okra that got 18-24" in my garden, where I grew it in the cottage flower border. Another one that gets about 3' tall and blends in well with ornamentals is "Baby Bubba".

Carol, Except for excessively tall tomato plants, I don't like for anything to get so tall that I have to stand on a stepladder to harvest it. Cowhorn okra can get very, very tall and it does shade the surrounding plants if you aren't careful about placing it on the far northern edge of the garden. I like Burgundy okra too. Oh, heck, I like all okra. I plant mine fairly close too in an effort to get as many plants into the available space as possible and also to shade the ground and keep it cool and as weed-free as possible. I was out picking okra this morning and the production is really increasing, and it wasn't bad before. Must be the heat!

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: 'Little Lucy' Okra


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RE: Okra not producing

Okie Dawn, Thanks for your helpful suggestions. I can only fight the nematodes by planting anti-nematode crops in the Summer. Up until now, I could only grow okra in the summer heat. At this point the nematodes have squashed that plan. I need the garden space through the winter to grow my veggies.

My organic rich sandy soil really produces eye popping cauliflower and brocoli plants during the winter. I guess I get the crops in and out before the soil gets hot enough to make the nematode population explode. Most of the broc heads were 17" across or better.

I suppose that I just have to do what I can do and when I can do it and accept things as they are.

Chris, I would be happy to trade you thirty shrub sized (though podless) okra plants for those few little ratty 8" plants with pods! LOL. Just so we're all havin fun! Take care all.


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Capt. Turbo,

Well, at least you can grow things in the winter!

I bet your soil is wonderful for everything except nematode-prone plants.

What you really need is a dumptruck load of my red, thick, dense Oklahoma clay.....mix it into your improved sand and it probably would shut down the nematodes. Normally, I wouldn't recommend anyone add clay for any reason, but nematodes are the exception.

You know, you could grow "Little Lucy" or "Baby Bubba" okra in containers. I grow tons of wonderful veggies in containers, using everything from molasses feed tubs to cat litter buckets (painted a lovely dark green with Fusion spray paint for plastic) to 10-gallon grow bags.

Too bad you and Chris can't work out a swap.

You take care too!

Dawn


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Okie, please send me a truckload (or five) of that nasty clay soil. I will have cold beer waiting and send you home with lots of sand to improve your home garden soil! We can have some real fun messing with those nasty "todes"!!! ;)


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Capt. Turbo,

Wouldn't it be a great trade? What I want to know is why those nasty hurricanes don't wash the nematodes right out of the soil? Oh, wouldn't it be nice if it worked out that way!

Dawn


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RE: Okra not producing

Thanks for suggesting LIttle Lucy, Dawn. I will look into them for sure.

chris


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RE: Okra not producing

I grew some burgundy okra one year that only got about 8" tall. Didn't yield very much, either. It was long enough ago that I've forgotten whether I planted it too early or not, but I know that the soil was not improved there and it probably struggled for nutrients.

Last year I grew cowhorn. Oh, wow! I'd grow it again in a New York minute, but I've got enough in the freezer for probably a couple more years. That's a great idea, about planting it in the flower garden, I just might plant a few in my front yard garden next year. They do get tall and look like palm trees. The flowers are pretty too, almost like hollyhocks. The wonderful thing about cow horn is that they don't get woody, even when they are huge!

This has been a really weird summer, so maybe it's not the plant's fault. I'm grown Clemson Spineless before and got a good yield.

Lots of things make me "itchy" -- tomato vines, hollyhocks, and yes, okra. If I know I'm going to be out there in them, I'll slip on an old long-sleeved cotton shirt and wear my soft brown gardening gloves. But most of the time, I'm out there, I see something that needs to be done, and I go ahead and do it while I'm thinking about it. Then I have to come in and wash up. That and the ants that seem to be everywhere are a bit annoying.


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My okra has started growing again with the warm weather. 3-3.5 feet tall and really starting to bloom and set now. Haven't picked much but should be a lot soon. Like Dawn said patience in planting is very important with okra. I agree it is stunted and might not never grow. Have seen that before. Especially when transplanting. If you had sown direct in the soil that early chances are your germination would of been poor to none. You can cheat on tomatoes and a few others by starting inside and then setting outside. But okra is one of a few I've seen that if you do that and the soil is cool you stunt it sometimes all summer. And they plants look all tempting in the stores. I had thought about growing Cowhorn. May still grow a short row. Knew it got tall but not like that. Would make a nice windbreak on the south side of the garden. I have sunflowers over 8" there now. Jay


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RE: Okra not producing

Ilene, Where did you find seed for cowhorn? I looked a lot of places and I couldn't find any. Jay, like you, I have just the place to plant it.


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RE: Okra not producing

I went over on the seed exchange board and worked out a trade for something else and the trader sent me the okra seed as a "bonus". She said they'd been grown in her family for years. Sorry I don't remember who she was. Try that board first, then maybe eBay. I think rareseeds.com and reimerseeds.com have them. I'd offer to send you some that I gathered but a lot of them turned moldy in the pod while I was trying to get them to dry so I'm not sure they're any good.


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RE: Okra not producing

Carol,

Baker Creek normally has cowhorn okra, but is currently sold out of regular cowhorn, although they still have the new (to them) Kansas cowhorn in stock.

Southern Exposure always has one or two kinds of cowhorn okra, usually the regular cowhorn and Fife Creek, as well as Texas Heirloom Red and Burgundy, which aren't cowhorn types but which are (along with Little Lucy) the most attractive okra plants I've ever grown.

Willhite Seeds in Poolville, Texas (one county west of Ft. Worth) always has cowhorn okra and their price is usually unbeatable. I've bought a lot of seed from Willhite this year, both for this fall and for next spring. They're linked below.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: Willhite Seed Company's OP Okra page


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RE: Okra not producing

Well, I was the one that started the thread and now I will report that today, we have started seeing lots of blooms on the okra. It is about 4 to 5 feet tall and bushed out like a shrub. The blooms are all but hidden down in the leaves and we did get one pod. There appear to be quite a few more that will be ready in the next several days. I am thinking about doing some pruning to make it easier to harvest. I have been reading about the height on the cowhorn species and wonder if you can just lop off the tops when it hits about 6 feet tall and keep it from heading for the sky?

Bob


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RE: Okra not producing

Thanks Ilene and Dawn. DH and I are thinking of attending one of the Baker Creek functions if we can find a weekend without company while they are still open. It just looks like an interesting place to visit. We may have lost our window of opportunity for this year.

I looked at Willhite after you mentioned it the other day and I will likely order some things from them for spring. I will take another look because I don't think I looked at okra. My son lives near Ft Worth, but I don't get down there very much.


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RE: Okra not producing

Dawn,
Now there you go. Tempting one of my biggest addictions. Now I will just have to buy something from Willhite's I'm sure. LOL. Don't smoke or drink but think gardening and seed shopping are one of my worst addictions. Jay


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RE: Okra not producing

Jay and Carol,

One thing about Willhite that impresses me is how many seeds they cram into a package.

Another is that they generally ship quickly. I received my order of fall seed 3 or 4 days after I ordered it online. To be fair, the order from Johnny's Selected Seeds that was placed on the same day arrived only 1 day later than that, but Johnny's was more expensive both in terms of price per packet of seed and in shipping.

Willhite's has been around a long time and sells only proven varieties that do well in our part of the country. Their main market has always been commercial growers and market growers as well as home gardeners, so they don't sell unproven varieties. You seldom see much change in their seed line-up. They are not one of those companies that offers the 'latest, greatest' new, unproven varieties every year. You'll notice their comments for commercial growers, for example, in the melon sections where they often mention specifically which ones are good shippers.

When I was a kid, you ordered your seeds (or found them in local stores) from several seed companies that either no longer exist or whose seeds aren't found in stores any longer, because everyone carries the same seed companies now.....Burpee, Thompson and Morgan, N-K, etc. In Texas, those companies were Livingston, Willhite's, and Gene Porter & Son Seeds and they sold seeds that they knew did well in this part of the country. Of those, only Willhite's remains readily available. I can still find Livingston at one retailer in the D-FW area, and, of course, the Porter Seed Co. (developer of the Porter and Porter Improved tomato varieties, among others) closed down over a decade ago....which caused much grieving among Texas growers.

Once, when I needed some seeds "right now" and we still lived in Fort Worth, I drove to Willhite's location in Poolville which really isn't a standard retail store. It is the corporate office and shipping headquarters, but there's a counter there and you can order on the spot and they go and pull your order while you wait. I assume they still have that set-up, but that must have been more than 15 years ago. Anyway, the people could't have been nicer.

Their specialty, by the way, is watermelons. They have tons and tons of watermelon varieties.

I did find Willhite Seeds in Agri-Products once in Ardmore and I was astonished and delighted. I remember I bough okra, green beans and black-eyed Pes. I don't think I saw any Willhite Seeds in there the last time I was in that store though.

Dawn


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RE: Okra not producing

My Clemson Spineless is starting to take off and produce. I just saw the cowhorn on Park Seed's website for something like 1.00/125 seeds on sale. Tell me more about Cow horn Okra. I may plant it next year. How does it compare to Clemson?


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RE: Okra not producing

Quailhunter,

I only grew Cowhorn one year, that was in my old garden, which had much better soil than the one I have now. My only complaint was its stalk size. It seemed to be a little more scratchy than Clemson, it may even out produce the Clemson for frying okra because the pods will stay tender to a larger size. For boiled okra I had rather the pods be about 2 inches long.

I would say "go for it". The seed is easy to find around here, and cheap. I think they are about $.89 a pack at the coop. One pack of okra seed will last me 3 or 4 years.

Larry


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