Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just call me the Okra Queen

Let me preface this by saying I haven't had a vegetable garden in 10 years. Well, I tried the first year we were here in this house, but had very little luck in the location i chose. This year, i borrowed a dear friends tiller and thought I would till a small plot for tomatoes. He also has a garden every year, but incessantly battles deer and rabbits.
I chose to plant tomatoes, okra, bell peppers, zuchinni, green beans,cucumbers, crook neck and butternut squash. While he battled deer i was blasted with butternut, bowled over by green beans and have now been overwhelmed by okra. I lost the cucumbers to a heat wave while we were confined to the hospital and my tomatoes were destroyed by the large green tomato worm.
I was, however, treated to a "volunteer" tomato plant that is just now starting to produce. Honestly, how do you get a volunteer tomato where you have NEVER had a garden in that location?? I figure it came from eating hamburgers adorned with tomatoes during many of the times we have grilled and eaten in that general area.
Back to the okra! It is quite prolific, over head high and with the frequent rain showers I have had to cut EVERY DAY, a meals worth at a time. The Mountaineer White Half Runners ( green beans) are doing the same.

We have eaten enough for the year and given away more, so the next weeks haul will go to the freezer dusted with cornmeal and ready to fry (the heart smart way, of course, in several tablespoons of olive oil) with just a little left whole for stews.

While I praise the okra, beautiful bloom, blah blah blah, I cannot NOT mention the horror of picking it. I should have included a pic of how one must dress to accomplish this task. I usually go at it right after work while still in jeans and I have a longsleeved shirt by the back door (my okra shirt) to protect the arms. Too much contact with the leaves of the plants can cause extreme itching that only a cool shower can calm. Even more of a challenge, I contend with ants swarming the unopened blooms that don't seem to be hurting the plants or production. I picked an hour ago and am still finding ants.

I understand okra originated in Africa and came to America via slave trade but is enjoyed by many cultures mostly in stews. The frying part, well that's mostly a southern thang, i reckon.

I would be glad to share!

1 comment:

lime said...

i'd gladly take some of the abundance of butternut squash but i'll pass on the okra. i did learn something though. i had no idea you had to be so careful picking it.