Glen was kind enough to send some African-X (AX) okra seeds my way this Spring. We thought we'd see how it does at 39 degrees N.
In early May, we discussed the long growing season AX enjoys. The weather was abnormally cool and wet here, with the forecast predicting the same for the entire month. Although I've always direct seeded okra, we decided I would start the seed early inside. Considering available garden space and plant spacing requirements, I decided to grow eight plants. All seeds germinated (100%) within 7 days.
5/16 – seed germination
Each germinated seed was planted into seed starting mix, one seed per pot.
5/19 – all seedlings have emerged
5/28 – seedlings continue to grow nicely. Ready for plant out.
6/01 – plant-out day in the garden. We usually use newspaper covered with straw as our row cover/weed barrier. I had an old piece of path cover available, so I decided we'd use it as the row cover and plant through it, then cover it with straw. We ran a soaker hose underneath, and will use that for watering.
Post by heavyhitterokra on Jul 8, 2020 20:47:47 GMT -6
Thanks, for the photos, Rick. I really enjoyed reading your posts. Keep up the excellent work. Some of us really needed that cheering up, this has been a tough season and it's always good to see progress, vigor, and such a good attitude.
7/16 - AX seems to have shifted into the next gear. Still showing signs of minor insect damage, but AX seems to be unfazed. Also appears a flower "cluster" is forming? Dunno. It's a fun time to be growing AX!
Here in Oklahoma, AfricanX is looking good. Though all okra seemed to stall out for a while, when we have cool rainy weather, AfricanX looked healthy and "happy" the whole time. Now, with the heat and dryness, it's starting to grow. I'm using drip tape and plastic mulch, which seems to agree very well with all okra. I suspect we'll start getting pods within two weeks now.
Found my first AfricanX flower today. Looks like it bloomed yesterday. I think that's about 61 or 62 days from seed. Pretty good! I found the first flower on Stewart's Zeebest on July 29 (3 days earlier).
Rick and George, I am real happy to see AfricanX showing off!!! Beautiful pod heads. Are we getting any branching yet? Beautiful giant yellowish flowers that turn pink when they close. They also tend to open late in the morning in contrast to regular okra which opens early in the morning and closes early as well. Sometimes AfricanX okra opens at 10 or 11 am and closes in the early afternoon. This is why AfricanX okra seldom crosses with non-Africanized okra. Be patient with the growth rate rate. AfricanX is slow to get going but don't kid yourself. They get giant sized. Real pleased to see such beautiful specimans growing in the US.
Rick, this type of okra looks and behaves like African Okra. Well, it is African okra!! African okra is A Caillie. This is an inter-species crossed okra, hence the name AfricanX. It grows slower than A Esculentus. This variety loves rain and over-cast conditions. Gets tall but does it real slow. This plant will get as wide as it is tall. Its common to see plants 48 inches tall and 60 inches wide. Pick your pods when they are 3 or 4 inches long. Its best to have about 20 plants growing. You aren't going to cut multiple pods from one plant until later when you have advanced branching that also has pod heads. The 8 plants you have now will give you a preview of how they grow in your climate. They will be monsters!! You can let pods mature for seed saving at any stage of the game. It won't affect this variety's pod production at all. You need to determine which plant is the most excellent and save seed from that plant. It takes longer to make seed with this variety so it is good to start early. When you walk by the plant flick the pod. When you can hear the seeds rattle cut the pod and bring it indoors to finish curing in the pod. Leave it in the pod to dry further for another couple of weeks or longer before shucking and storing them in zip lock bags. Store them in the freezer for long term storage. As far as the pods go. They are best if picked small for the kitchen. I always let them get about 3 or 4 inches. Pod color can vary. If the plants are grown in acid soil the plants and the pods are more purple. If you have less acid soil they are less purple. This okra is very forgiving when it comes to soil. I prefer my pods to be on the green side myself but no matter what color they are, they taste good. I hope you love this okra as much as I do. Please save enough seed to send me some eventually. We don't have mail service right now in Panama so it will be later. Thanx so much for the report.
Rick, the best way I've found to tell if a pod is still usable is to crease it with a knife. If I hear a crunch under the blade, it's not going to be good. If there's no crunch, but the blade slides through with little resistance, then it's good. The length of pod during the usable stage seems to be longer when conditions are idea and shorter during high heat and drought times.