Category Archives: Okra

Late Season Bean Planting

After trying to get over the failure of my spring garden, probably due to Dow Agriscience’s poison aminopyralid, I have decided to replant some quick growers for the second half of our growing season here in Texas.  This bed is scheduled to have broccoli, cabbage and greens this fall.  However, since these crops won’t be planted for at least 6 to 8 weeks, I am going to try to get a quick crop of beans.

So far, the beans look OK.  I think that maybe most of the poison aminopyralid may have degraded in this bed.

This half of the bed is planted with yellow wax beans. I intend to pick them for fresh yellow beans and have no intention of saving seeds. This means that this crop should be done in 60 days.  There is basil planted all thru this bed – I planted it after my squash mysteriously started to dye – probably thanks to Dow’s poison aminopyralid that is now loose and ruining compost piles all over the western world.  One okra plant survived – barely holding on for the past few months, but now seems to have taken off – it is in the lower left side, circled in red. In the front right corner is a lone surviving pepper plant.  The peppers seem to be doing better – again I suspect that maybe Dow’s poison aminopyralid may be degrading.  The tomato next to the okra never recovered and really needs to be pulled.

yellow wax beans

This end of the garden – below – was initially planted with left over Seed Savers Painted Pony beans from a 2009 batch. The seeds were refrigerated, but I guess they were just too old – only 2 seeds sprouted. So, a week later I replanted the area with a few Bolita Bush bean seeds that I had left from Baker Creek, dated 2010. They sprouted and now they look like they are actually pole beans! As such, I had to put some tomato cages among them so that they have something to climb onto.  I had intended to only grow bush beans for 2 reasons: to improve the nitrogen in the bed and for something quick – bush beans mature quicker than pole beans. Well, this is a surprise an I hope that they will be done and producing by the time I have to yank them out to plant my broccoli seedlings in. I didn’t have enough seeds to cover this whole half of the bed, so I’ll just leave that bare spot unplanted for now.  I had planed to save some of these Bolita seeds – if the plants can mature quickly enough.

late summer bean crop

I still don’t have my greenhouse moved over to our new property and have had a very difficult time trying to get seeds to sprout.  These are my cabbages and broccoli seedlings.  The chinese cabbage seedlings were rained on and over half of them were lost.  I have reseeded these trays. I need several hundred chinese cabbage seedlings and at least 6 dozen cabbage transplants and at least that many broccoli seedlings.  I plan to grow the broccoli under my winter hooped garden beds and stick the cabbages all over – under the hoops and outside.  It can take the freeze.

broccoli cabbage seedlings

I have trouble knowing when to start the cabbages and broccoli because it is so hot here for so long and quickly gets cool.  It is almost too hot to get the seedlings started and then gets too cool to get them growing good in the garden.  I can’t even start the spinach until the soil cools to 75 degrees and at the same time I plant my lettuce.  I plan to direct seed the carrots, chard, beets and kale pretty soon.  The turnips are the last thing to get planted.  The winters seem to be getting colder and get here sooner.  I’m having trouble timing plantings.

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Survivor Okra

Originally published Summer of 2011

This strip of okra has had a rough life.  While planted in fertile soil, something(s) has/have been systematically killing the seedlings.  I originally started over a dozen seedlings.  I carefully planted them along this edge of the garden fence.  They were cut down – probably initially by cutworms – replanted, and killed again.  I now have 3 good sized plants that i think will make it, and this poor, abused, struggling okra:

Okra survivor

Look at those gouges in the stem! Something chomped half of the stem in several places. The scars have hardened over and the eaten leaves are growing back. This little sapling is a survivor! Maybe
grasshoppers chomped the leaves, but the stem?? What eats half of a tough plant stem? These 3 okra plants, plus the survivor, are the remaining okra. Since I had so many seeds saved from last year, I began just sticking them in the ground every few inches along the fence. They sprouted, and were slowly cut down. One night 2 sprouts were cut down. I think 2 are still there. Even wrapping a toilet paper tube around them as a cutworm collar didn’t help some of them. Cutworm, grasshoppers,pillbugs, small white quarter-inch worms, something sure likes okra. Fortunately I don’t – or I would be upset at the devastation. I grow it because I think it is a pretty plant. It has such a pretty flower. I have so many okra seeds because I allow so many of the pods to harden and mature the seed.

Remaining okra along the fence

You’ll notice the wilted pepper and morning glory leaves – as a vegetable gardener, I have watering ‘issues’ to deal with (these issues don’t seem to concern those watering lawn grass).  It regularly gets 90 to 100 degrees here in June, and usually with no rain, although this year we have had a couple of small rain showers.  I have to heavily mulch – leaves around the plants and old hay between rows. I’m sure the mulch helps hide pests, but it is necessary for moisture conservation.

Being able to and knowing how to grow some of your own food is a very important character trait. We are a sad people in America today – nothing like the strong people who moved westward and settled this country. These okra plants are stronger than many people today.

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