Wednesday, August 12, 2009

okra...in minnesota?

Burgundy okra growing along side zinnias. Look at those
colors! And check out that creamy yellow okra flower!
We often think of okra as a southern staple, and rightly so: this plant thrives in hot weather. But it is possible to successfully grow okra up here in the north, because okra a fairly fast grower (60 days for 'Burgundy'). So it works even in our short growing season. Yields may not be as high as in the steamy south, but the plant alone is worth the effort. We have 'Burgundy' okra in the Edible Landscape, and the plant's deep maroon color is a beautiful contrast against the bright green stems and pastel blooms of the adjacent zinnias. Not only that, the okra flower is a sight to behold. A member of the Malvaceae (mallow) family, its relatives are hibiscus and hollyhock. The five-petaled flowers unfurl to reveal a creamy yellow (or pink) blossom, with a purple center. These flowers are replaced by deep burgundy pods within a few days, which should be picked young (4" long, unlike the one in the photo) for best flavor and texture.

The closest information I could find for growing okra in the Midwest was from Iowa State University.

No comments:

Post a Comment