Silver Queen Okra
Seed Count: Approx. 20 seeds
Days to Maturity: 80
Description: A very unique rare variety of okra. Silver queen is delicate and creamy colored. The ivory-green pods grow up to 7 inches long on vigorous 6 foot tall plants. This variety is best picked when young, when these pods are nice and tender and packed with delicious flavor. Silver Queen's flavor is legendary, but its the plant's vigor and productivity that makes it quite popular. You'll get huge yields of fruit on this robust, well-branched upright plant that you'll swear it was a hybrid and not an heirloom. Like many other okra varieties, Silver Queen does not tolerate cold weather well, and prefers long, hot summer days.
Mint2Grow Tip: Pick okra often, while pods are young to keep the plant nice and productive. I love to eat okra stir fried in a little soy sauce and sesame oil, but my favorite way to eat okra is the sinful, deep fried, southern way.
How To Grow
Sowing: Okra loves heat, so growers with short growing seasons will need to start their seeds indoors. Set seeds outside about 3-4 weeks after the last frost. Before planting your seeds, soak them overnight; this can help with faster germination. Plant 2-3 seeds in one peat pot, and keep them at 80-90 degrees F until they germinate. Thin to the strongest seedling by cutting off the rest of the plants at their bases. When the air temperature reaches a consistent 60 degrees F, you can harden off the seedlings and plant them in full sun, 12-15 inches apart in rows 3 ft. apart. For direct sowing, in warmer climates, sow the seeds 3/4" deep; later thinning the plants to 12-15" apart.
Growing: When the seedlings reach a height of 4 inches, apply mulch to conserve moisture and control weeds. Keep the plants moist during dry weather. In cooler climates, it may be necessary to apply black plastic or provide row covers so that the plants get the adequate heat that they require. These plants get pretty tall, so make sure you don't plant them where they'll block plants that enjoy a lot of sun. Okras do, however, make amazing windbreaks, since they are such sturdy plants. Companion plant Okra with peppers to shield them from the wind, because peppers are much more fragile. In turn, peppers repel cabbage worms from the okra plants. Melons, cucumbers, and eggplants also make for great companion plants.
Harvesting: Okra is best and most tender when its younger, and the seeds haven't gotten the chance to grow too big. It can be harvested at any length up to 7". When saving seed from okra, keep mind mind that it will cross pollinate with other varieties of okra and should be separated from them. Allow the pods to fully mature, and cut them off after they start to dry; if they begin to split, cut them immediately to prevent seed loss. (I like to tie mesh bags around mine to prevent this). Twisting the pods or putting them in a bag and applying pressure should remove the seed. Spread the seed out to dry for a week, then store in a cool dry place for up to 2-3 years.