How to collect seeds from heirloom okra

Heirloom Okra, Summer 2014

Heirloom Okra, Summer 2014

Due to the extremely busy Spring and Summer growing and harvesting seasons, there was little time to document things going on in the garden. This post is about 3 months beyond the time of seed collection; however, it is not too early to start thinking about what to plant in the Spring.

Okra is a warm weather plant that tolerates the Texas heat quite well. Heirloom okra is easy to grow and the seeds—after the first purchase—are free! Heirlooms are easy to grow because they are not hybrids — seed companies don’t breed these hardy creatures, mother nature does!

For best results, plant Okra when the soil temperature is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit (but not warmer than around 85 degrees F.). Plant the seeds in loose, well-drained soil that contains organic matter (e.g., compost).

Wait 7 to 10 days for seeds to sprout and thin as needed (or replant if a poor stand of okra results). If an heirloom variety is planted, the seeds can be collected and stored for the following Spring.

Collecting Seeds.

Do not pick the green okra pods–leave them on the plant and they will develop into brown pods with mature seeds. Once brown and dried, the pods can be gently pressed to reveal the small dark brown to black, oval-shaped seeds. I store my seeds in paper envelopes — easy to label and “breathable” paper to prevent moisture retention that often leads to seed-damaging fungal growth.

 

 

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