Today, many gardeners and summer residents grow not only the usual fruits and vegetables for us, but also try to get a harvest from overseas wonders. This lesson is very exciting, because caring for exotic plants, the gardener turns his beds into small experimental stations, and he himself becomes a researcher. Okra is still a rare plant in our farmsteads, and therefore a wonderful view for those who like to experiment with new products.
Okra - a rare exotic vegetable can often be found under other names - okra, gombo, ladies' fingers, edible abelmos.
The plant is widespread in America, Asia, southern Europe and, of course, in its homeland - in Africa. For Russia, this is still a rather rare vegetable crop. It is grown in small plantations in the Krasnodar Territory and in the Stavropol Territory, in other territories only by amateur gardeners.
Okra planted in rows in the southern regions of Russia
Okra is a vegetable herbaceous annual of the Malvaceae family. The height of the shrub depends on the species and can be 30–40 cm in undersized varieties and up to two meters in tall varieties. Due to the branched thick stem and pubescent large leaves of a dark green color, the plant has a rather attractive appearance. Single large flowers of a cream or milky color that appear in the leaf axils add decorativeness to the entire shrub. The fruits are similar in structure to pepper pods - green pubescent capsules with many seeds, in some varieties they can be quite large - more than 20 cm long.
Okra flowering and fruiting occur simultaneously
Okra is grown mainly as a vegetable crop. Due to its neutral taste, reminiscent of asparagus beans, it is widely used in cooking. Due to the high content of protein, vitamins, macro- and microelements, as well as low calorie content and the ability to lower cholesterol, okra is also used as a dietary product. The seeds of the plant are rich in oil, similar in value to olive. The fruits also contain mucous substances with enveloping properties, therefore, okra dishes are recommended for diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. From the ripened, roasted seeds, a drink is brewed that tastes like real coffee.
The fruits of okra contain a large amount of vitamins and nutrients.
Sometimes on the fruits of okra there are small blotches of burning substances. When cooked, the pungency disappears, but it is better to collect and cook raw vegetables, especially large ones, with gloves. This measure will protect your hands from burns and irritation.
Numerous varieties of okra differ from each other in the height of the shrub, the size and taste of the fruit, and the length of the growing season.
In our climatic conditions, the best yields are given by:
Okra is successfully grown in many regions of our country, however, planting methods for different climatic zones have their own differences. Okra is planted mainly in seedlings. Sowing seeds directly into the ground is possible only in the southern regions - Krasnodar Territory, Stavropol Territory, in the Caucasus. This is due to the fact that the culture is thermophilic and very sensitive to temperature drops.
In the central regions, in the Volga region, Siberia and the Urals, okra is planted through seedlings, and given the inconstancy of the weather, it is best to grow this crop in greenhouses or hotbeds.
For the good development of the okra, it is important to choose a suitable planting site. Given its southern origin, it is necessary to assign it the sunniest and most wind-protected area. Light fertile soil contributes to a rich harvest.
Okra seeds germinate from two to four weeks, therefore, to speed up the process, they are pre-soaked. To do this, put a napkin with seeds in a saucer, moisten with water at room temperature and put in a warm place for a day.
When soaking seeds, it is important not to allow them to be completely submerged in water - the seeds must breathe. For best results, you can moisten a cloth with rain or melt water.
Okra seeds are planted in late April - early May. It is very convenient to use separate cups for planting, preferably peat ones. This is due to the fact that okra seedlings have a taproot, and there are almost no lateral roots, so they are painful to transfer a transplant. The use of peat pots will allow you to plant seedlings in the garden without damaging the root system.
When using peat pots, the seedlings fall into the ground without damaging the roots
During seed germination, it is necessary to maintain a temperature of about 20 degrees and periodically ventilate the pots. After the emergence of seedlings, the film must be removed, and the seedlings must be placed in a bright, warm place.
Further care of the seedlings is reduced to timely watering and feeding. Two weeks after germination, the plants can be fed with a complete complex fertilizer for vegetable seedlings. Such feeding should be carried out every 12-14 days before planting seedlings in a permanent place.
Okra seedlings need to be placed in a warm and bright location.
At the age of 35 - 45 days, grown and strengthened okra seedlings are planted in a permanent place. Beds with fertile soil are prepared in the fall - mineral and organic fertilizers are introduced for digging. Planting is best done in cloudy weather or in the evening. When planting tall varieties, a distance of about 90 cm is left between the bushes and 50 cm between the rows. Low-growing ones are planted after 60 cm and 40 cm between the rows. The planted plants are well spilled and mulched with peat or humus.
Grown up okra seedlings are planted in the beds
In the southern regions of our country with relatively long and warm summers, okra can be planted directly into the ground. Sowing is carried out when the soil is completely warmed up and the air temperature does not drop below 16 C.
Soaked seeds are deepened by 3-4 cm. The distance between the holes is the same as when planting seedlings. You can put two seeds in the hole and later, when seedlings appear - carefully cut the weak ones. Smooth and water the earth.
Caring for okra is simple and the techniques for seedling and non-seedling growing are the same. After the emergence of seedlings, it is necessary to prevent the soil from drying out. When applying top dressing, it is desirable to alternate mineral phosphorus-potassium fertilizers and organic fertilizers.
At first, the seedlings need regular care - weeding, loosening the soil, top dressing and timely watering. As the okra grows, care becomes easier - overgrown bushes do not allow the soil to dry out quickly and themselves inhibit the growth of weeds. Adult bushes can be watered less often, but abundantly, in order to wet the ground to a depth of 40 cm.
The okra bush is formed in two ways. You can grow a plant in one trunk - breaking out the appearing stepchildren. Proponents of this method argue that the branches give little fruit, but take away the strength from the main shoot, which also loses productivity.
In the second method, the crown of the main stem is shortened, which stimulates the formation of lateral branches. Adherents of this kind of cultivation believe that such molding gives a greater yield. And apparently, only experiments on your own site will help an amateur to decide which method is preferable.
About two months after germination, okra begins to bloom, and after a week the first crop can be removed. The fruits need to be picked regularly, because after sagging for an extra two to three days, they coarse and become inedible. In the south, the harvest is carried out every other day, in areas with colder climates - every 4–5 days.
Collecting okra fruit
Fruiting of okra lasts until late autumn, but with a decrease in air temperature, the growth of pods sharply slows down.
Care should be taken when harvesting okra, as the plant is covered with tough, fine pubescence, which irritates the skin. Therefore, it is better to work with this culture with gloves.
For okra, there is a danger of diseases characteristic of plants of the malvaceous family.
Blackleg is a fungal disease. Often affects the stems of okra seedlings. A diseased plant should be removed immediately so that neighboring plants do not become infected. To prevent the appearance of a black leg, high humidity should be avoided, and the plants should be ventilated more often if they grow in a greenhouse.
When preparing the soil for seedlings and subsequent planting in open ground, it is advisable to spill it with a phytosporin solution. This microbiological preparation is effective for the treatment and prevention of many fungal and bacterial diseases.
Rust is a dangerous fungal disease. It appears as yellow spots on leaves, stems and buds. On the inside of the leaf, brownish bumpy clusters are found - fungal spores. Affected plants usually die. If a diseased plant is found, it is necessary to immediately remove it and inspect all plantings.
Powdery mildew is a common fungal disease. White bloom can be seen on the leaves of the affected plant, the plant does not develop well, takes on ugly forms. It is necessary to remove all leaves with a white coating.
To combat fungal diseases, it is recommended to spray with a phytosporin solution not only diseased plants, but also neighboring ones, as well as the soil around them. The instructions for the preparation describe in detail how to prepare the preparation and how often to repeat the treatments.
To prevent the occurrence of diseases, when growing okra, you should adhere to the basic rules of agricultural technology:
Errors in the use of dressings lead to weakening of plants and a decrease in immunity. An excess of nitrogen and a lack of phosphorus-potassium fertilizers can provoke the occurrence of fungal diseases.
Of the insect pests, the most likely danger to okra is aphid, thrips, and cabbage scoop.
Aphids are a frequent visitor to the garden, draws juices from the leaves, weakening the plant. An accumulation of small gray or green insects can be seen on the crown of the plant and on the underside of the leaf.
Thrips are sedentary small insects that cause significant harm to plants. Settling on leaves and buds, they draw sap from the plant. After their meal, holes remain on the plants, into which all kinds of mushrooms can penetrate, so the fight against this pest must be started immediately.
The cabbage scoop is a caterpillar that devours both the leaves and fruits of okra. In a very short time, the pest is able to leave the gardener without a crop of not only okra, but also many other crops.
By following simple rules when growing okra, insect pests can be prevented. It is very important not to allow thickening of the beds, to weed out the weeds in time. Regular inspection of plants will help to notice the pest until the moment when it will be difficult to deal with it, and the damage is noticeable. At the first detection of insects, it is necessary to treat the plantings with an insecticide. Today on store shelves a rich assortment of all kinds of pest control products. Among this multitude, I would single out Fitoverm - a biological preparation, low-toxic and safe for the environment. Fruits and vegetables processed by Fitoverm can be eaten in two days.
The collected okra fruits are not subject to long-term storage. Fresh, they must be used within two to three days after removal. You can use the vegetable raw, stewed or fried, as a side dish, salad component or as an independent dish. For cooking, take young pods, wash and scald with boiling water. Fruit prepared in this way can be easily peeled off. This must be done so that the coarse skin does not spoil the taste of the dish. Okra is prepared quickly, literally a few minutes, and at the same time its useful properties are not destroyed.
Okra stewed with vegetables
To preserve the fruits of okra for a long time, they use quick freezing, drying or canning.
The okra harvest will delight gardeners and gardeners, regardless of whether it is grown in a greenhouse or outdoors. And the dishes prepared from this dietary product will diversify and enrich any diet.
Hobbies play an important role in my life - floriculture, gardening, traditional medicine, pets. I love nature and all living things very much, so I read many articles on various phenomena and laws of life, everything that brings harmony.
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In order to get an exquisite delicacy from a fresh bud, you need to do a lot of work. They begin to pick the buds at dawn and do it only by hand. Then you need to sort the collected. The size of the bud varies from very tiny - no more than a pea, to large - as small as a small olive. The smaller the bud, the more expensive the capers will be. This is due to the fact that "crumbs" have the strongest aroma. Each size has its own special name, it is indicated on the jar with this delicacy. Non-pareil babies - up to 7 millimeters in diameter, surfines - from 7 to 8, medium capucines - 8-9 millimeters and capotes - 9-11 millimeters, large fines - up to 13 millimeters and the largest - grusas - from 14 millimeters.
After sorting, the buds are dried in the sun and prepared according to one of dozens of traditional recipes. There are capers marinated in vinegar, wine, brine or salted with dry salting. It takes at least three months for capers to "mature".
Savory buds are an essential ingredient in a wide variety of Mediterranean cuisine.They are a necessary condition for a successful tartar sauce, they are served with smoked salmon, added to pasta, soups and salads. The most famous Italian dishes with capers are veal or chicken pizza, vitello tonato and spaghetti ala putanescu.
The capers of the poor are called pickled buds of nasturtium; culinary experts distinguish them in a dish not so much by their appearance as by their more pronounced mustard aroma.
It is recommended to rinse the salted capers before use in order not to imbalance the salt in the dish. If you open the jar, but have not used all of its contents, then such capers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 9 months, provided that they are completely immersed in the brine and hermetically sealed. Dry salted capers can be stored open for up to 6 months.
If your recipe requires capers to be added and you don't have them on hand, try replacing them with salted olives.
Asarins perform very well in decorating vertical surfaces. They do not need expensive supports, the structural details of which will be hidden under dense foliage by the beginning of summer.
For certain species, the role of an ampelous plant is quite suitable, for example, asarine antirrino-flowering, the seedlings of which for these purposes are fixed on a 50-centimeter support. After the dimensions of the vines begin to exceed those of the structure, the latter can be removed, thereby allowing the shoots to hang.
Azarins are grown outdoors, in containers, houses, but what they are not suitable for is for cutting.
Asarin planting in open ground is carried out in a well-lit area, protected from through winds. The support for the plant must be selected in advance, so that by the time the seedlings are planted, it is already available.
Kobeya is an interesting shrub, which is also suitable for vertical gardening of a personal plot. It is grown for planting and care in the open field without much hassle, but several conditions of detention need to be known. You can find recommendations for growing and caring for this plant in this article.
Okra is an annual, tropical plant up to 2 m in height, originating from Ethiopia. It is a tropical plant that grows best in warm conditions. It is available all year round, but the peak season is during the summer months.
It thrives in warm tropical or subtropical climates and prefers well-drained, rich and light soil, even with loamy or slightly clayey soil. The plant is resistant to drought and waterlogging.
He loves light and grows well in full sun, so the day is always short for him. A very delicate plant and is afraid of the cold.
Okra is quite popular all over the world due to its easy cultivation, reliable yield and adaptability to changing moisture conditions. The stem of the plant is strong, straight, sometimes capable of variable branching and ranges from 0.5 to 2.0 m in height.
Leaves are long, wide, up to 10-20 cm, palmate-lobed with 5-7 lobes. Okra flowers are 4-8 cm in diameter, with five white or yellow petals, sometimes with a red or purple spot at the base of each petal. The flower only exists for one day.
About 20 years ago, I first saw calla lilies.
And since then I have never ceased to admire the beauty of these snow-white flowers, which have many names - richardia, Ethiopian zantedeschia and calla.
Every year in the fall, there are up to 70 tubers in my collection. Over the years 8, hybrid copies have also appeared, but they are so picky that I hastened to get rid of them, distributing them to everyone.
The first bulbs of this plant were presented to me in my school years by my teacher. I brought home two small heads and put them in a regular 2-liter plastic bottle, cutting off the neck first. Since then, I have had a chance to study all the features of these wonderful flowers, so now I myself can share my experience of growing them.
Calla lilies are one of the few plants that bloom during the winter. But over the years of practice and experimentation, I have learned to grow them in the open field, where they begin to spread their "sails" on the eve of summer.
I start planting plants in a flowerbed at the end of April, when the ground warms up enough. Until the threat of night frosts has passed, I cover the plantings with a film. And immediately after planting, I water it abundantly, and next time only after 1.5-2 weeks. When I see that the calla lilies have successfully adapted, as evidenced by the new green leaves that have appeared on the plant, I feed it with a weak solution of nitrate or combined mineral fertilizer. And I do this only once for the entire season: excessive feeding can lead to rotting of tubers and death of plants. All other watering is carried out as needed.
In 3-4 weeks after disembarkation, an adult calla will bloom, but only if the climate is favorable for it. Usually a biennial plant blooms, which produces a flower arrow with a wide asymmetrical bell-shaped white (yellow or red) color. This kind of "cover" well protects a narrow ear, consisting of densely sitting nondescript flowers. Do not be surprised that the calla flower is not a “cover” at all, but a narrow cob-core.
A very beautiful and elegant flower pleases for about two weeks, and then changes color, becoming off-white. At this time, it can already be cut, but very carefully so as not to damage the new bud, which may replace the one that has already dried. An adult plant is able to give 2 (and sometimes 3) flowers in turn. In this case, the first will be the highest, all subsequent ones will be rather low. After the last flower has faded, the calla will begin a dormant period. At this time, it is advisable to reduce watering.
I leave 3-4 leaves on the calla, and carefully cut off the rest with a knife. This is enough for the normal development of calla lilies, because then less nutrients are required.
In the open field, calla lilies bloom until mid-October, and if the autumn is warm, then even longer. After that, it's time to transplant the plants - I send the largest tubers individually to large enough pots.
On a note
Calla lilies do not tolerate tightness, if you neglect this, they will slowly develop and hurt.
The roots of these plants are cord-like, extending from the succulent tuberous rhizome in all directions, and appear on the surface. Bulging roots - the result of not planting deep enough. Therefore, when moving to a new place, it is best not to add soil to the edges of the pot, and then gradually add it.
Based on my own experience, I have refuted the myth that calla does not bloom when planted in a group of flowers. This is not true. An adult plant that has passed a dormant period and is not overfed with nitrogen will certainly bloom, no matter how many bulbs are in one pot next to it. But it is advisable to separate the children during transplantation so as not to burden the adult plant with their presence. After that, the wounds should be sprinkled with crushed coal or ash. The soil for calla lilies should consist of 1 part of sod land and 2 parts of peat.
The main enemy of calla lilies is the spider mite, which most often appears when pots with other indoor plants are also next to the calla lily. It is possible to defeat the enemy if the plant is abundantly sprayed with a solution of any pest control agent. And since zantedeschia is a marsh plant, it also needs to be moistened with water from a spray bottle.
Kala is not only beautiful, but also a useful plant that will tell you what the weather will be like. For example, before the rain, water droplets appear on the tips of its leaves. On gloomy days, you have to wipe the windowsill every day, since the droplets from the leaves quickly turn into small puddles on it.
I have been working as a teacher for 12 years. And all this time, many students come running to my office during breaks to find out the weather forecast from the calla lilies. Having seen these wonderful flowers for the first time, some of the guys also got carried away with the cultivation of this beautiful plant. And for their experience to be successful, I presented my pupils with little "baby" calla lilies, which already feel great at their home.
In cut, this plant is great too. The long peduncle and decorative leaves allow you to create original flower arrangements that retain their freshness for an extremely long time and delight the eye. After 18 years of acquaintance with calla lilies, I had many other indoor plants - some have long disappeared, while others are still there. But calla has remained my flower companion and a kind of talisman in life.
If for some reason you were not able to see the flowering of such a wonderful plant, then try to follow these simple rules and you will probably be able to make sure that calla is not an exotic whim, it just needs your attention and love.
© Author: Tatiana Fedorovna MIKHNEVICH
How to grow calla lilies. Garden World website
These flowers can even be given to a man. Yes, it is the red calla lilies that are given to the male representatives in Europe. They captivated me with their unpretentious care and amazing flowering.
Zantedeschia - photo
Zantedeschia appeared in my garden about 8 years ago. I acquired several varietal tubers: Picasso - a gorgeous purple color with a pastel rim, and a pink Garnet Glow. Now in the collection there are already 10 varieties of tuberous, including white indoor calla. Every summer I plant her in the garden to the "girlfriends", where she seems to come to life.
After winter dormancy, in March-April, when the tubers begin to sprout and the sprouts reach
3-4 cm, plant them in containers and put them on a light windowsill. I transplant it into open ground when the threat of frost has passed, not earlier than May. Callas are quite moisture-loving plants, and when lush foliage appears from small sprouts, I water them abundantly, especially in dry weather. I regularly weed and feed with any fertilizer for tuberous (according to the instructions).
In the fall, calla lilies retire, and the leaves gradually wither. As soon as this happens (at the end of September), I cut off the foliage at a height of 10-15 cm from the point of growth, dig up the tubers, dry them and send them to storage in a basement with a temperature of no higher than + 5-10 degrees.
© Author: Svetlana KONONOVICH Author's photo