Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Both red and green Okra turn out to be seriously delicious contrary to my first experience with it. It can be eaten raw finely sliced in salads (thanks for that tip, Addy :-) and sliced in half and fried. Scrumptious! Now the mucilaginous part of the fruit is more a mouth feel thing than any flavour. It is a tad weird but thinking of own-grown fresh, almost anything even those fairly tasteless Queensland Arrowroot are worth eating. Lightly fried sliced Okra, fried Sweet Potato make a super Pizza with the other usual ingredients .... mmmmm!

 

I've decided to keep some seeds from both the Red and Green varieties. My question is: how long does the pod need to stay on the bush? In the pic, taken this morning, it is about 6 to 8 inches long and has taken on a dull look, changing colour too. I squashed the grub!

OK so to the green one: some of the new leaves are contracted - if it were a Capsicum I would suggest it is running short of nutrients. I think that is still the case, there are some aphids on it too suggesting the plant is struggling. Pic:

Right now to the Winged Beans:

 

I notice leaves are curling under both on their length and the edges are curling under - forgot to take some photos! Anyway it suggests a deficiency ... erm, phosphorus? potassium? Some clue would be helpful. Do the pods taste sweet? Mine are not only shy bearers but the young pods taste kinda 'green' ;-) really they are a grave disappointment. I expected sweet crunchy pods like Dutch Pole Beans and Joe's Beans which are delicious! If I can replace whatever nutrient/s the plant is short of and it comes good it will stay otherwise, given it is a fussy grower, it is coming out for good. The Lab Labs in contrast are powering and I'm expecting many edible pods from them.

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Great to hear that you've embraced okra Elaine!  I left mine on the plant until they started to go brown and dry themselves before harvesting for seeds.

 

Not sure about the winged beans Elaine, still haven't got any germinated let alone growing!  The last lot I decided to soak I forgot about and rotted :(  

 

Boron seems to be something that is generally lacking in most soils so might be that?

Ah, could be! I added Borax to some of the climbing beans a while back - they had curved and twisted pods. Thanks! :-)

I've found some more info about Okra in general, even a couple of recipes and given my glut of beans at the moment, will give one of the recipes a whirl. Info here:

 

The Winged Beans ... a few members have grown them and I'd be pleased to hear some practical advice about them. My fingers are hovering around pulling up the whole plant at the moment but sometimes is just lack of a specific nutrient ... when they were very tiny plants, they just sat and glowered and turned yellow. I put on some Lucerne inoculant but that didn't do anything it was only when I added some Organic Xtra that they started to grow. Logic suggests adding nitrogen especially to beans is not the way to go. Help!

Elaine, I'll put a link on Addy and Christophers page as they have had success.

"mucilaginous"??  had to google that one.  Euww!  Word sounds just like it means.

 

My winged beans are seedlings still.  Was pretty darned impressed they grew at all given my success at getting any bean seed to sprout! If you discover the secrets to a magnificant crop, let me know. 

 

 

Slight update on Winged Beans and another question: the plants are growing quite strongly now and producing several pods per day. If I don't pick them when about 3 inches long max. they get woody very quickly. The flowers turn out to be absolutely delicious! Tricky to describe the flavour but much more flavoursome and sweeter than the pods.

 

Question: is the Winged Bean a perennial in Brisbane?

 

Okra update: I have cut the pods, they had just started to surface-split. The seeds are dry and now tucked away for next time.

Mine died off towards the end of winter last year. You can use the young leaves too, apparently. I've never tried. My plants are just starting to perk up, I started late this year... You can cook the older beans (sliced) as a drier version of the "sweet potato leaves coconut milk"... Just stir fry in sambal, and add a bit of coconut cream and fish sauce to steam the beans till soft. Or add the sliced beans to the sweet potato leaves.. Here's the pic I posted last year :

http://brisbanelocalfood.ning.com/photo/angled-beans-thai-style?con...

Here's a link to some interesting info about the winged bean -

http://www.rasarasa.net.my/cms/content.jsp?id=com.tms.cms.article.A...

Great Addy :-) I've found the pods I forgot to pick when young are really tough and stringy so I've left a few for seeds. I don't know what a sambal is so if you can describe one that will be a great help. Seems like the Winged Bean fills that awkward high summer spot when the European beans are being hit with bean-fly. The flowers are totally delicious!

Elaine, you can buy "Sambal Oelek" from most supermarkets. My homemade sambal is made from chillis pounded with "blachan" (shrimp paste, in a block). Grill the blachan or crumble and dry fry before adding to the chillies. Freeze in a ziplock bag and use when needed!

If you don't want to use sambal, sliced chillies and fish sauce can be substituted.

Hey, if you eat the flowers, how are you going to get beans??

 

'Zactly! Just tried one because I'd heard they were good to eat - it's a toss-up between a few scrumptious flowers and lots of bulky but not so tasty beans. Go for the beans, though. Flowers seem a bit like eating super-gourmet foods likes hearts of palm - just because you can but it doesn't make sense.

 

I've seen Sambal Oelek bottles and wondered what it was. So Chillis I have plenty of right now, fish sauce I've never tried but at least I get the picture! Sounds delicious and I'll bet it smells divine when cooking :-)

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