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About Emerald Okra: Emerald okra was developed by the Campbell Soup Company, and introduced in 1950. Originally, however, okra comes from northern Africa, where it still grows wild. This unusual member of the hibiscus family still has an important part in African and Mediterranean cuisine, as well as being a culinary tradition in the American South.

Emerald Okra Germination: Okra loves heat, so gardeners with short growing seasons may need to start their seed indoors; plan to set them out 3-4 weeks after the last frost. Before planting the seeds, soak them overnight to encourage faster germination. Plant 2-3 seeds in one peat pot, and keep them at 80-90 degrees F until germination; thin to the strongest plant by cutting off the rest. When the air temperature reaches a consistent 60 degrees F, plant the seedlings in full sun 12-15" apart in rows 3' apart. For direct sowing in warmer climates, sow the seed 3/4" deep and later thin the plants to 12-15" apart.

Growing Emerald Okra Seeds: When the seedlings reach a height of 4", apply mulch to conserve moisture and control weeds. Keep the plants moist during dry weather. In cooler climates, it may be necessary to apply black plastic or provide row covers for adequate heat. Emerald okra does tolerate cooler temperatures, and is a good variety to grow in cooler climates.

Harvesting Emerald Okra: Emerald okra should be harvested at 3" for best taste and tenderness. This variety is spineless for a painless harvest.

Saving Emerald Okra Seeds: When saving seed from okra, keep mind mind that it will cross pollinate with other varieties of okra and should be separated from them. Allow the pods to fully mature, and cut them off after they turn brown; if they begin to split, cut them immediately to prevent seed loss. Twisting the pods or putting them in a bag and applying pressure should remove the seed. Spread the seed out to dry for a week, then store in a cool dry place for up to 2-3 years.

Detailed Emerald Okra Info: Abelmoschus esculentus. Also known as Emerald Green Velvet or Velvet. Biennial. 55 days. 540 seeds per oz. 48-96" height. 12-15" spacing. Produces 6-8" long dark green, round pods.

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