RED BURGUNDY OKRA (Abelmoschus esculentus) is an open-pollinated variety originally bred by Leon Robbins at Clemson University after 8 years of careful selection. You will sometimes see it listed erroneously as a hybrid. This is a gorgeous variety for your edible/ornamental border. The attractive 4' plant has green leaves, burgundy stems, branches and leaf ribs and the beautiful burgundy pods that follow stunning yellow flowers that also have a red tinge to them. Although the red color is mostly lost on cooking, if you pickle, the brine will turn red. The pods are more tender than the green varieties on a whole, and measure 6"-8". Best flavor if pods are picked at 3"-4". 50-64 Days. 50 Seeds.
ABOUT OKRA: Okra was brought to America from Africa by slaves and has been a favorite of Southern cuisine since the 1700s. When cut, okra releases a sticky substance with thickening properties. Related to the hibiscus and to cotton it is a Southern treat - essential for gumbo, but also added to all manner of soups, stews curries and catsup. Or try dipping in corn meal and frying for a real treat! Also makes excellent pickles. A unique vegetable with mild flavor it is also highly ornamental with large yellow flowers. One important note: Okra should be eaten when fresh - preferably freshly picked or no more than a few days old. If you have experienced a tired batch sitting on a grocer's shelf you have missed out! Some folks save the seeds to grind and brew as a coffee substitute!
NUTRITIONAL INFO: Okra is surprisingly nutritious and beneficial. Just half a cup provides 20% of your daily value for vitamin C and calcium. Okra is also a good source of magnesium, vitamin B6, potassium and more. It also is a exceptional digestive detoxifier.
GROWING TIPS: A warm weather crop so wait until both soil and night air is warm before planting 1/2" deep, 1" apart, in rows 3' apart. Thin to 12"-18" apart. They will begin bearing fruit when they reach about a foot high and will continue until frost if kept picked. Ants are attracted to the sweet ooze from okra plants. Regular gardens ants will not hurt your okra production, but fireants will suck the life out of it (plus you risk being bitten yourself when harvesting), so I recommend using Diatomaceous earth before production begins. You can find it easily on line and it is a 100% organic solution to the problem. Diatomaceous earth is fossilized diatoms which, when magnified, appear as tiny porcupines. Ants and other critters (like slugs) hate these and it can be sprinkled around the base of plants without harming bees and other pollinators, which even some so-called organic pesticides do. It is so safe you can handle without gloves. But you'll always want to wear gloves around okra plants as the leaves can be irritation.