I cut our first okra pods today, many of which were too large and should have been cut days earlier. I'll be checking the plants daily or every other day now so I'll get them at the tender stage.
The reason I'm impressed with the okra is that they've survived a lot of extremes and still flourished. More of our attention went to other areas of the garden and lot. Early on, we had spread 8 inches (yep, 8 inches deep) of manure and woodshavings from a nearby horse barn over that area. At the time, there was little grass, and very very hard sand underneath. There was also drought for months...all spring.
I was really trying to see a green bean patch get a good start, and our limited time focused more on those than on the okra. The okra was planted in rows alternately beside rows of lima beans. The limas succumbed to our neglect not because we didn't water them when small, but because the Bermuda grass was so invasive and our budget didn't stretch to laying down landscaping fabric or rolls of plastic. We had some boxes, but that bermuda grew overnight. It swallowed the limas alive, and covered the okra entirely. Still, we left the okra sections unmowed...in hopes of what, I don't know, but I guess we wanted to see what would happen.
I'm glad we did! What happened was not in the category of Garden Beautiful, but those okra plants, which we had bungled by planting too closely together and in the middle of a drought, and then neglected to thin or weed, and later discontinued watering...kept on holding their own. Pretty soon their tops surpassed the top of the Bermuda. We were curious to see which would ultimately triumph.
Interestingly, some of them survived, and started maturing. I don't advise anyone to duplicate our way of growing it...we'd have a much better return if we'd planned better, tended them better. But one thing we learned was that okra can hold its own even in the midst of thick Bermuda. It LOVES punishing heat. The deer seem to leave it alone. It also survives days of rain. And neglect. The pods were disease-free, and insects of all sorts were among its leaves, but with no damage noted. These two small patches yielded 4 lbs of pods at first picking.
If I were to speculate, a better-tended patch or set of rows would be one of the easiest veggies to grow here.
It's a keeper! Now the question is...does it NEED Bermuda to grow so well?? haha :)