An African native, Okra was introduced to US kitchens in the 18th century, soon becoming a cornerstone in southern cuisine. A warm-weather crop, it requires a long and warm growing season; in colder climates, it should be started indoors four to six weeks before the last frost date. Okra is a heavy feeder so be sure to fertilize for optimum yield. Pick daily while the pods are young and tender before they turn woody. (Plants will stop producing if the pods are allowed to ripen.) Caribbean cuisine has created an Okra rebirth which is now popular beyond its importance in gumbo.
Average seed life: 2 years.