Grow Your Own: Okra14 May 2019
Okra is well known as a blood sugar balancer which makes it a very powerful tool for diabetes. Less well known are okra’s anti-cancer benefits. Studies on okra’s effect on cancer have shown that:
• Okra kills 72% of human breast cancer cells in vitro
• Okra pectin inhibits 75% of highly metastatic melanoma cells in vitro
• Men who eat okra have 40% less prostate cancer
Okra is a hot weather plant and grows well in Southern Florida. Here at the Hippocrates Health Institute we harvest plenty of freshly-picked okra every day this time of year and deliver it straight to the kitchen for the ultimate farm-to-table experience for our guests.
Wait until the weather is warm to set out your plants. Plants like it when nights are at least in the 60s and days 85 or warmer. Soak your okra seeds overnight for the best germination. Choose a sunny location and plant the seeds in fertile, well-drained soil about 1/2 to 1 inch deep and 12 to 18 inches apart.
Water right away and continue watering once a day on those days it does not rain. Once every two weeks.
fertilize with compost tea or side-dress each plant with compost. Warm weather helps pods grow quickly, so check plants every day once they start producing. A pod can grow from nothing to full size in 2 or 3 days. Pods first appear at the base of the plant up so that by the end of the season you could be on your tiptoes to harvest.
Pods are ideal when 2 to 4 inches long; they get very tough and stringy if allowed to stay on the plant. Always remove any that are too big to eat because they keep the plant from producing. Use pruning shears to cut the pods with a short stub of stem attached. Okra is best eaten raw as many of the health-giving nutrients are heat sensitive.