From The White House Gardener Mysteries by Dorothy St. James
Being from Charleston, South Carolina, let me tell you there are some staples in the kitchen garden I cannot live without. Okra is one of them. Okra is a green edible seed pod that makes gumbo have its distinctive texture. It's also delicious fried (isn't everything?)
The plant is super easy to grow. It's usually a tall plant (depending on the cultivar) with giant tropical looking leaves and pretty yellow flowers. You can grow them inside (but they are going to get tall), in pots, or in the ground. The plants like to be warm and will take to just about any condition.
The big yellow flower lasts one day, but is quickly replaced with a new one as the plant grows. If growing inside, don't worry about hand pollinating. They don't need it.
There is rarely a day without a flower, which means new pods are constantly setting.
Pick the pods when they are still relatively small and green (before they turn tough). They are ready a few days after the flower falls. If you get a big harvest, pickle them!
This year, instead of growing them in rows in the First Lady's kitchen garden, I talked Gordon into letting me use them as a backdrop in a corner the Rose garden. The okra mingled with the roses, lending a surprising look of the tropics to beds.
If you're looking for something a little different, and beautiful, to plant in your edible (or not so edible) try planting okra next spring. Your stomach will be thanking you.
What unexpected plantings have you made in past gardens?