Appalachia Gardening

Sow True Seed Okra Reporting @ Large Results


Jing Orange Okra

This year Sow True Seed graciously donated extra okra seed so that I could deputize @ Large Okra Reporters.

Here’s the varieties we grew:

Okra – Jing Orange, ORGANIC – “Striking red-orange pods make this Asian heirloom a true standout! This may be the only okra you’ll ever want to grow again because of its heavy production of 5″ to 7″ pods, (though we actually liked them best picked at about 3″). Plants are productive early and showed excellent drought tolerance in our trials.”

Okra – Bear Creek – “Sent to us from Robbins Hail of Missouri as a trade through Seed Saver’s Exchange. From Robbins: “The okra is some we have been growing and selecting for the last 15 years. It is a cross of Lousiana Green, Burgandy, a kind from Africa that I have forgotten the name of, and a white okra. I aim for a very long thin fruit with no real ridges, but still get some with ridges.” We were excited to trial this one, and were not disappointed! We don’t think you will be either.”

Okra – Granddaddy’s – “Originally said to be from Mr. Rex Eubanks of Whitney, TX whose family had stewarded the variety for over four generations. Found growing in the garden of John H. MacDonald who was one of the founders of the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and sent in to SSE where Sow True Seed acquired the seed. Long, thin pods have a delicious flavor and are best picked under 6” long. Good production in spite of disease pressure.”

All three varieties tasted great to us here at the Blind Pig house, but the Jing Orange beat the other two by leaps and bounds on germination, growth, and production. I wanted to grow it for the novelty of growing a red okra, but I’ll be growing it from now on because of its outstanding production and taste. Another plus for Jing Orange is that it is less slimy than other varieties.


Papaw sent in this update and photo:

August 22: I picked my first okra this morning. The biggest one is longer than I like them to grow. It bloomed on the 13th so it’s 9 days old. The other big one was hiding. It’s not a lot but it is enough for me for supper tonight. This mess came off 4 plants and I have 26 so I’ll have plenty to freeze or pickle. It’s the Grandaddy’s you sent me. I got a late start this year but I will probably be picking it right up til frost.

Jackie sent in the following reports:

August 3: The Ming Okra is almost 3 feet high and producing well.

September 3: Ming Orange Okra and Clemson Spineless Okra (in the photo above at bottom). At first the green out produced the red about 3 to 1. Now the red is out producing the green about 2 to 1.  The red is much drier. My wife says no slime. The taste is the same raw or cooked. The red turns green while cooking. The germination rate is about 35%, the same as my experience with all types of okra. The Ming Orange plant is beautiful (in the photo above at top). They are now about four feet tall. I have been pruning the leaves as I collect okra per one of your posts. I’ve heard many people comment that they had never seen red okra. They think I’m trying to pull a prank on them. That may be because of my reputation. I do pull a lot of tricks.

Leon sent the following update:

July 2: The Jing Okra is growing vigorously! I attempted to transplant while thinning and have only lost 4 of the transplants.

Jim Casada sent the following report to me a few weeks ago:

Jing Orange: 90% germination rate; begin bearing July 10 and will continue until frost; has produced very well; turns black when boiled, doesn’t effect tasted only aesthetics.

Grandaddy’s Okra: 5% or less germination rate; did not bear until August 19; very slender pods; will continue producing until frost.

If you were a reporter @ large and want to share how your okra did, you can leave a comment on this post or send it to me at [email protected]


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  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    September 13, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    Okra is one of my very favorite veggies! I can do a “mean” fried okra dish! I also like pods of okra cooked on top of a pot of fresh grown, fresh-shelled blackeyed peas or “field” peas–whichever. I had to do cooking when I was mid-teens because my mother died when I was 14. My dear Daddy, a top-notch farmer in Union County, GA, got me “hardship-case-excused” for 6 weeks in the fall during his sorghum-syrup-making time (when he made over 3,000 gallons per year–his own crop and crops of farmers far-and-wide- in Union Co., GA. I had to cook the noon meal for from 14 to 18 men working in my Daddy’s cane-gathering and syrup-mill operations! I learned to cook all the things we grew especially in our late gardens to supply foodstuffs for all those hungry workers! I could write you a long story about that, Tipper, for Blind Pig!

  • Reply
    September 13, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    We have never planted orka. My neighbor did and gave us some. I have not seen the red before. We love breaded okra.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    September 13, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    I fell by the wayside this year with most all of the garden. My husband had bypass in May and couldn’t help as he usually does. I have several conditions that limit me too. I love “okree” –Mama could cook the best I’ve ever eaten. She combined it with half ripe tomatoes, put flour, salt, & pepper and fried it. It turned out looking awful but was delicious.

    everyone–are any of these varieties less itchy? I always dread picking the okra.

  • Reply
    September 13, 2018 at 9:38 am

    I started my “Grandaddy’s” in peat pot trays because I have a problem with animals rooting and digging in my garden. I put two seeds in each pot. I lost count but I’m sure I had close to 100% germination. The problem was the seeds didn’t all come up at the same time. I had plants in some the pots outgrowing the pot before the other one with it came up. Some even germinated after I had planted the pot. Of course I couldn’t divide them because of the harm I would do the root system of the big one.
    I think I planted my okra too close together. About 18 inches apart. Some of the plants are stunted and won’t produce I’m sure. The bigger plants have them shaded too much. I had expected the plants to grow taller and slimmer. Right now the bigger ones are 4 feet tall and about the same wide, with stems 1½ inches thick. Like a big okra bush. When they are through producing I’ll probably have to cut them with a chainsaw.
    I think next year I’ll plant “Grandaddy’s” again but a little differently. I plan to put one seed per pot and space them about 30 inches. I also need to find a sunnier spot for my okra. The place they are now had full sun when I planted them but due to the lower angle of the sun now only get half as much. Okra don’t do good in the shade.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 13, 2018 at 8:51 am

    B. Ruth–I’ve always soaked okra seed overnight (or maybe even as long as 24 hours) before planting. It’s fairly difficult to get okra to germinate and I think the soak loosens up the outer husk. After planting I use a watering can to dampen the soil atop the rows of seed and then cover with a very thin layer of straw to help keep the moisture in. As a rule I have no problem getting germination, although I might add that i always plant too thickly, figuring it is easier to then extra plants than to have a gap-toothed row. I save my own seed from a type a fellow native of the Smokies who had moved to this area shared with me. He called it “Texas Longhorn” and the lengthy pods, which will remain tender until 6 or 7 inches long if it isn’t too dry, merit the name.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 13, 2018 at 6:41 am

    PS…I think okra has a beautiful bloom and the picture of the okra plant shown is gorgeous…

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 13, 2018 at 6:40 am

    We didn’t get Okra planted this year…slow with all our garden, due to back problems husbands is the main keeper of the garden now. I only process the produce. I sure did miss my Okree…I did however, buy some unusual okra in Summerfield Ga. a couple of weeks ago..One variety was very long and thin, no ridges to speak of. The lady said it wasn’t slimy at all. I couldn’t think of the name until reading on down in your blog. Now I am thinking it is Granddaddy’s for it sure looks like the picture of Papaw’s okra. The other okra I bought was as she called it Star..It was very short and fat with many prominent ridges like a star but more than six ridges…but I think the ridges are double or Siamese twined together to make it look like more than six…Six is normal in okra I believe, according to natures plan if I remember correctly from bio class…I cut it up and cooked a bit with tomatoes, onion and red bell pepper for four big plastic boxes of soup starter for the freezer. I like to do this and then in the winter dump it in with the cooked meat, carrots and taters…easy peasy…
    I loved reading everyone’s report today. Very interesting. I don’t remember the name Jing orange but we have grown a red okra for our area. We grow mostly Clemson Spineless as it done well for us, blooming early and producing on a young plant.
    Do you soak your seed in milk or buttermilk for a few hours or overnight. This was a tradition given my husband by his family. My Dad always soaked his okra but not in buttermilk for he hated buttermilk. However, a small bowl of warm water could be found on the counter with okra seeds in it about the first hot days of summer.
    Also, we never planted Okree…until a few hot days came along, so that it would sprout quick. I’ve always heard not to get in a hurry to plant okra as it is a hot weather plant and seed will mold in the ground if planted to early with all the spring cold rains.
    I guess a lot of folks have a lot of superstitions about planting okra and ways of getting the job done. I would love to hear some of others ideas on planting this crop.
    Looks like your reporters did a great job of growing and reporting okra germination and growth this year…
    It’s gonna taste mightly fine…fbiled with some fresh red ‘maters for a side dish or fried up alone, or mixed with cubed taters n’ onion, stewed up in soup/gumbo or a few of those slime less okra pods laid on top of that pot of green beans n’ shellies…This is one of my favorite ways to eat okra stewed with beans…
    Thanks Tipper, I enjoyed this post today.

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