Post by heavyhitterokra on Jul 30, 2020 9:14:17 GMT -6
I'll try to post the URL to a PBS special called, "A taste of History" From Garden Kitchen to Table.
What I was interested in conveying, in particular, was the chef in this series, deep frying whole okra pods on an open fire, using cast iron pots in his colonial kitchen. That can be found at time mark 16:42 in the video.
It's a 25:29 length video, demonstrating 'Three Sisters' Cooking, as well as a few pointers on 'Three Sisters' gardening techniques. I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of my grandmother using her cast iron cook pots and Dutch Ovens to cook over an open fire while on camping trips when I was a boy. (Best fried potatoes, beans, corn on the cob, and deep fried catfish I ever ate.) Great memories!
Post by heavyhitterokra on Aug 1, 2020 21:34:53 GMT -6
August 1, 2020
Harvest #2 of the season ... 5 more pounds of tender pods harvested this evening.
At this stage of production, it's very important to harvest the first few pods right away, so that the plants don't go into seed production during their first bloom and start laying down for the season. They need to feel a little stressed at this point in order to kick into second gear and really shoot for the stars.
If they think they've done their job of reproducing, they'll just relax and take it easy the rest of the season. If they think they've lost all their first tender pods, they'll re-double their efforts and try harder next time. They'll continue to do that for as long as you keep them harvested cleanly, but if ever a tough pod is allowed to grace their branches, it will signal via hormones, to the plant, to slow down and concentrate all efforts on seed production rather than focusing on forming new blossoms and preparing for new pod production.
Okra is lazy. It will lay down and quit on you if you let it, so don't let it. Keep those plants harvested daily and you'll have a bumper crop by the end of the season. These are some branchy little fellas this season! They'll bear very well if I keep them picked clean for the next 60 days.
Each branch of these plants will produce an average of 10 pods. That's a lot of okra!
As you can see, by looking down this row, all the plants are branching nicely.
Post by heavyhitterokra on Aug 3, 2020 21:04:44 GMT -6
Good question ... Yes, I do prune the lower leaves away to promote branching. It's hard to convey just how I do that. I start pruning when the plants start looking too leafy, which ought to start happening in about the next week or two, as the plants begin to 'bolt'.
I only cut the lower leaves, not the branches or any leaves forming on any branches. Eventually, the branches will also begin branching. I call that "secondary branching" the secondary branches also produce pods. Each new branch will produce an average of 10 extra pods, so the more the merrier as far as branches are concerned.
The branches appear at each leaf node, right in the crotch between the leaf and the main trunk. When the branch reaches about 6" or 8" inches in length, I cut the leaf away from the main trunk of the plant, to focus the energy to the new branch. Sometimes, I spend more time trimming leaves off than I do harvesting okra, which can get to be frustrating when you have a lot of okra to pick but you're too busy pruning to get your work done. This is what the finished product looks like. I do this to promote airflow to prevent mildew as much as anything.