Star of David Okra
Seed Count: Approx. 20 seeds
Days to Maturity: 55-70 days
Description: The Star of David Okra is an Israeli heirloom variety, with fruit that are twice as thick, about 1.5-2 inches in diameter, as most okra varieties. You know what that means right? Deliciously thick fried okras, yummmmmm! This variety has a distinctive strong flavor, perfect for the okra connoisseur. You can also use these bad boys in stews, soups, and to make callaloo. This productive plant can grow 8-10 ft. tall, has medium spines, and will produce lots of 5-7 inch long pods, as long as you keep your okra picked. These bright green fruit have ridges, that make star shapes when sliced. They are best when picked young, and has good keeping abilities. Plus it is very tolerant of root-knot nematode.
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.