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What Is Oscarde Lettuce: Learn How To Grow Oscarde Lettuce Plants

What Is Oscarde Lettuce: Learn How To Grow Oscarde Lettuce Plants


By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)

The addition of lettuce in the home garden is a very popular choice for growers wishing to extend their gardening season, as well as add variety to their homegrown vegetable plots. In addition to being one of the earliest sown vegetables, lettuce plants can also be grown throughout the fall to extend the harvest period into winter. Many lettuces, such as ‘Oscarde,’ offer its growers a crisp texture, as well as a vibrant pop of color.

What is Oscarde Lettuce?

Oscarde lettuce plants are an oakleaf variety of loose-leaf lettuce. Prized by growers for their stunning reddish-purple color, these plants offer gardeners a delicious disease resistant green that is perfectly suited for a variety of garden growing conditions. Reaching maturity in as little as 30 days, Oscarde lettuce seeds are excellent candidates for early season and succession sowing.

Growing Oscarde Lettuce

Oscarde lettuce plants prefer to grow when temperatures are cool. Therefore, growers must first determine the best planting time for their garden. Oscarde lettuce seeds are most commonly direct sown into the garden in early spring, around a month before the last predicted frost date. However, those unable to do so also have the option of starting the lettuce plants indoors, and then planting out into the garden or even planting in fall.

Due to its quick growth, size, and habit, this variety is an exceptional choice for growers wishing to make intensive plantings in the ground or in pots and containers. To grow lettuce in containers, thickly surface sow the seeds and water thoroughly. Harvest young leaves frequently for tender salad greens.

Lettuce should be planted in a well-draining location that receives ample sunlight. Gardeners growing where temperatures are warm may want to protect plants from excessive afternoon heat, as this can directly impact the quality of plants. Like many other varieties of lettuce, Oscarde may become bitter and eventually bolt (produce seed) when grown in or exposed to higher temperatures for a long period of time.

Throughout the season, Oscarde lettuce plants require minimal care, aside from consistent watering. Frequent monitoring of crops will help growers avoid loss due to pests such as aphids, slugs and garden snails.

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Tag: Johnnys Salanova lettuce

After my Feed the Soil presentation at Lynchburg College on 3/16, one of the participants emailed me to ask the relative potato yields from our twice a year plantings. The question sent me back to my records. Interestingly (to me) I’d recorded yield almost every time, but never compared the two. Now I know:
15 years of records on spring plantings (mid-March) gave yield ratios from a very low 3:1 to a happy 13:1. The average was 8.2:1 and the median 8:1.
16 years of records on the mid-June planting gave yield ratios ranging from a miserable 3:1 to a high of 10.7:1. The average was 7:1, and the median the same.

We used to plant at 10″ in-row spacing and have shifted to 12″. These figures contain both, with no obvious difference.

Looking at these results points out to me an advantage of doing two plantings that I didn’t mention during my presentation: a poor spring result can be followed by a good summer result. And vice versa. The 13:1 spring result was followed by 4.8:1 in the summer. The 3:1 spring yield was followed by 7.2:1 from the June planting. Doing two plantings spreads the risk.

The questioner also asked if we get potato beetles. We do get them in the spring and spray once, occasionally twice, with Spinosad, which is organically acceptable. In the summer we get no potato beetles. I think the mulch helps. Adult potato beetles emerging from the soil have to walk to find potato plants, and I bet the mulch is very challenging!

We use the same varieties in both plantings, Red Pontiac and Kennebec. Kennebec stores better, Red Pontiac gives higher yields, but isn’t good for long term storage. That said, we recently finished eating Red Pontiacs from our October harvest. I haven’t done much research into trying other varieties because we just buy what’s available locally.The Irish Eyes catalog has descriptions of varieties better for certain conditions. Moose Tubers (Fedco Seeds) has a useful comparative chart of varieties.

Salanova Lettuce Review

My impulse buy when ordering seeds last year was the full set of Salanova Lettuce from Johnny’s. These are varieties of lettuce bred for baby salad mix. You grow them as transplanted heads, and when the head is mature you cut the whole thing and bingo – you get a bowlful of small leaves. They do not grow big leaves, just more and more small leaves. Some of them have a core which you need to cut out in order to make the leaves fall apart. Others you just cut across at the base .If you’ve ever grown Tango, you’ll now the kind of thing. As well as being very pretty, these lettuces are said to save you time at harvesting compared to cutting along a row of baby lettuce mix. This aspect really appealed to some of our crew.

Johnny’s Foundation Collection of Salanova. Photo from their catalog

Because the seed is expensive (100 pelleted seeds for $15.95), we decided to grow these for our hoophouse “filler” heads, which we transplant into gaps that happen in our beds of head and leaf lettuce. That way we’d get them at the time of year (late winter/early spring) when we grow baby lettuce mix and we could do a direct comparison.

We bought the full set, 100 seeds of the Foundation Collection (the more frilly types) and 100 seeds of the Premier Collection (the more flat and lobed types). Each collection is 25 seeds each of four varieties. We sowed each type in a 4′ seed row (seeds 2 inches apart) on 10/23. They came up well, and we transplanted them 1/2/14. We just started using them 3/20, so the jury is still out. Some unfortunately got cut before reaching full size. I’m not sure what full size is yet. Next year, I’d sow them earlier, so that the heads mature sooner. This winter has been very cold, they may have grown slower than they could have – some other seedlings are certainly slowed down.

A couple of them are exceptionally pretty. The Red Butter type has beautiful very dark red simple shaped leaves. The Red Sweet Crisp reminds me of a fine seaweed in looks – green at the base and intense dark red at the tips. The Green Sweet Crisp is surprisingly sweet, in a good way. Winter lettuce mixes are not usually crisp or sweet.

Osborne Seeds Multileaf Multi-red Lettuce. Photo from their website.

Also next year, I’d like to compare these with some “Multileaf” varieties from Osborne Seeds. They have 7 varieties, 3 green and 4 red. It took me a little while to realize “multired” was “multi-red” and not the past tense of “to multire”, a verb I was pondering the meaning of! They are $7 – $7.47 for 500 pelleted seeds. Some are back-ordered right now, but I’d want them next winter anyway. I’d also like to do a side-by-side comparison with Tango, Oscarde and Panisse which are inclined towards packing in many small leaves without further marketing.

And finally, yes, we’re expecting some more possible snow tomorrow morning. Can you believe it? Maybe we’ll just get rain.


Lettuce varieties for January, new year, fresh start

Newly germinated lettuce seedlings.
Photo Kathryn Simmons

Maybe you aren’t ready to think about sowing lettuce, but I am! In mid-January we sow a flat of four lettuce varieties, to become our first outdoor transplants. I like to choose four varieties that cover the range of colors and shapes.

Buttercrunch bibb lettuce. Photo Kathleen Slattery

I also like to choose hardy types that are fast-maturing. Buttercrunch green bibb lettuce is one of my favorites for early spring. One of the Salad Bowl lettuces, red or green, is also usually in my first sowing. The Salad Bowls are so reliable and productive!

Young Salad Bowl lettuce.
Photo Bridget Aleshire

New Red Fire has become another reliable lettuce stand-by for us. It was suggested to me by neighboring Virginia farmer, Gary Scott of Twin Springs Farm. It is more of a leaf lettuce, and doesn’t really head up, although it can be cut as admittedly lightweight heads. And it works fine as a leaf lettuce, to be harvested by the cut-and-come-again method. We grow New Red Fire year round, it’s that adaptable and easy-going.

New Red Fire lettuce.
Photo by Bridget Aleshire

After last year’s success with Sword Leaf lettuce, which I wrote about last May, we have added this variety to our list of favorite lettuce varieties. But if I start those four, I won’t have a romaine and will have only one red. We haven’t found many good full-size red romaines. Rouge d’hiver is a possibility, although I wonder if it would bolt too easily (it’s more famous for growing in winter). A better choice might be Bronze Arrow (it worked well last year and we were harvesting it in early May).

We expect/intend/plan to start harvesting heads of lettuce outdoors starting 4/15. Before that we will harvesting the lettuce in the greenhouse and the hoophouse.

As you see from the top photo, we grow our outdoor lettuce as bare root transplants, starting in open flats. I’ll write about bare root transplants next week. We find it an easy, forgiving method for many crops. For now, I’ll just talk about the lettuce. We sow in 3″ deep open wood seed flats, 12″ x 24″. We make four little furrows by pressing a 12″ plastic strip (aka a ruler!) into the seed compost. We sow the seed, label it, cover it lightly, water, then put the seeded flats in our germinator cabinet. The first flat of the year takes about 9 days to germinate. According to tables in Nancy Bubel’s Seed Starter Handbook and in Knott’s Vegetable Growers’ Handbook available free online as a pdf here, lettuce takes 7 days to germinate with a soil temperature of 50F (10C) or 15 days at 41F (5C), and only 4 days at 59F (15C).

Once the seedlings are big enough to handle, we spot them out into 4″ deep flats (also 12″ x 24″). We have a plywood dibble board with pegs evenly spaced about 2.5″ apart. You can see the offset pattern in this next photo:

Lettuce seedlings spotted out into deep flats.
Photo Kathryn Simmons

We aim to harden off the lettuce for two weeks in the cold frame before transplanting into the garden beds with thick rowcover on hoops to protect the lettuce from the still-cold outdoors. To be ready for harvest 4/15, these seeds have to become full size lettuces in 88 chilly days.

We make a second sowing on 1/31. The intervals between sowings at the beginning of the year are long, because later sowings will to some extent catch up with earlier ones. Almost all crops grow faster in warmer weather (up to a point). We sow lettuce twice in February (every 14 days), then every 10 days in March, reducing the interval down to every 6 or 7 days by the summer.

As far as varieties go, we think of The Lettuce Year as having 5 seasons: Early Spring January – March, Spring April 1 – May 15, Summer May 15 – Aug 15, fall August 15 – September 7 and Winter September 8 till the end of September and our break from sowing lettuce.

Some of the early spring lettuce varieties will bolt prematurely here if sown after March 31. Examples include Bronze Arrow, Freckles, Merlot, Midnite Ruffles, Oscarde and Panisse.

Others that we like in early spring go on to be useful in spring too. All the ones mentioned as possibilities for sowing #1 are in this category, as are Green Forest, Parris Island, Kalura (three green romaines), Nancy and Sylvesta (two big green bibbs), Pirat (a red bibb), and Star Fighter (a green leaf lettuce)

Freckles lettuce has to be sown here before the end of March, or it bolts prematurely.
Photo Kathryn Simmons


Le Potager – In the Kitchen Garden

The potager is an essential aspect of French life, rooted deep in the time when a sustainable life was a necessity. It is a year-round vegetable garden just large enough to supply the household – and maybe a few friends and relatives -with fresh vegetables and herbs every day. In France, you’ll see these vegetable gardens in front yards, side yards, along stream banks and railroad tracks. Property deeds may indicate, as mine does, an area of land designated as the potager. Of course, today, whether in France or elsewhere, not everyone has the space or time to raise all their own vegetables, but many still try to raise something of their own, such as tomatoes, lettuce, leeks or herbs.

A POTAGER SEED SET with GARDEN MAPS

Michael Schwab, the brilliant graphic designer behind iconic logos for such clients as Amtrack, US National Parks, and NPR, http://www.michaelschwab.com as is also the design force behind La Vie Rustic. Most recently he created the design for my Potager Garden Set with 3 fold out maps, one for each for spring, summer, and fall. On one side is a planting scheme for a small garden space and on the other, complete planting and harvesting instructions. In the convenient Kraft box, in addition to the maps, you’ll find a muslin bag with a Baker’s Dozen of French vegetable seeds plus one flower – because gardens should be pretty – to plant throughout the seasons. Also included are 13 sturdy aluminum garden markers. (Photograph by Thomas Kuoh)

The seeds include roquette (arugula), Flamboyant radishes, round Paris Market carrots, Merveille de 4 Saisons lettuce, Très Fine Maraichère frisée and Carouby de Maussane peas to harvest in mid- to late spring. Longe de Violette eggplant, Marmande tomato, La Victoire haricot vert, Verte de Petit Paris cucumber, Ronde de Nice zucchini and Charentais melon to plant in late spring and early summer for summer harvest. In mid–to late summer, while you are harvesting your summer vegetables, you’ll also be planting vegetables that thrive in the cooling weather of fall, the same vegetables you planted in spring’s cool weather. You’ll plant frisée again, as well as lettuce, carrots, roquette, and radishes, this time for fall and early winter harvest.

Temporarily out of stock

MESCLUN DE NICE SALAD SEED MIX

Mesclun, the name given to a variety of different salad mixes of young leaves and flowers has it origins in the city of Nice, in southern France. Here at La Vie Rustic we’ve created a bag of mixed lettuce, escarole, chicory, roquette and chervil seeds, plus nasturtium seeds for you plant in window boxes, garden pots, planting boxes or directly in the soil. There is enough seed for multiple plantings. The seeds come mixed in muslin bags, accompanied by an information card that tells the story of the origins of Mesclun de Nice, and full planting and harvesting instructions, all packed into a Kraft box with a pretty label.

The History of Mesclun de Nice

High above the city of Nice in Southern France, on a hill that was the site of the ancient Roman city of Cemenulum, now Cimiez, a Franciscan monastery was founded in the 16 th century. As part of the monastic life, the monks there, like elsewhere, cultivated a potager garden that included various lettuces and greens as well as other vegetables and herbs. By the 19 th century, so the story goes, the monks of Cimiez were too poor to purchase lettuce seeds of a single variety, so for their salads they grew a mixture of whatever lettuce seeds they could obtain, and supplemented the young leaves with the shoots of chervil, and wild greens like roquette, purslane, dandelion, and chicory that grew near their hillside gardens.

The resulting mélange or mix was a balance in flavor of mild from the lettuces, slightly bitter from the chicory, spicy from the roquette, chervil, and nasturtium leaves and flowers. There was also harmony in the variation of colors of the ingredients from light to dark green to magenta and red, and in the shapes of the leaves. Oakleaf lettuces and roquette were treasured for their elongated pointed leaves, a contrast to the curved leaves of the butterhead lettuces and the spoon shape of the romaine. Chervil was considered a key element, not only for its slightly anise-lemon flavor but also for its lacy elegance.

By the early 20 th century the mix, under the term Mesclun, became identified as a specifically Niçoise salad mix but not until the 1960s did the mix appear in the markets and restaurants in other parts of France.

Today, to be a considered a true Mesclun de Nice, the mix must contain chervil and roquette and a minimum of five different lettuces, though many Niçoise insist on a minimum of eleven other different ingredients to include lettuce, escarole, and frisée.

However, there are a multitude of variations on Mesclun that use Asian greens, such as mizuna for spiciness, baby spinach, chard, or beet leaves for mildly bitter flavor and in the case of chard and beet leaves, color. Radicchio is frequently added as well.

Regardless of the mix combination, purists insist that the leaves must be no larger than 7 centimeters or about 2 ½ inches. If the leaves are larger, it is considered to be a young salad mix, no longer Mesclun

The leaves are cut from the growing plant, allowing for continuous regrowth.

About La Vie Rustic’s Mesclun de Nice

Ours is a balanced and harmonious mixture of seeds of seven different types of French heirloom lettuce, of two different French heirloom escaroles and one frisée, plus chervil and roquette. These are pre-mixed and packed into a muslin bag. A smaller muslin bag contains nasturtium seeds. There is enough mixed seed to plant a five foot row or five-foot square patch 3 times.

Lettuce: Rouge d’Hiver Romaine, Merveille de 4 Saisons Butterhead, Reine de Mai Batavian, Green Oak Leaf, Parris Island Cos Romaine, Bronze Mignonette Butterhead, Oscarde Red and Green Oak Leaf Frisée: Fine Maraichère Escarole: Coeur Pleine and Pain de Sucre plus seeds of chervil, roquette.

LA VIE RUSTIC VEGETABLE SEED COLLECTIONS
When I lived in Provence, I bought my vegetable seeds from a small agricultural store in a neighboring village. The name on all the seed packets was Vilmorin. Later, I learned that it was the oldest seed company in the world, founded in Paris in 1743. All the seeds in La Vie Rustic’s Seed Collections are heirlooms, in production for over 75 years, and those marked with a “V” appear in The Vegetable Garden, a thick tome written by the famous French seedsmen and horticulturists, M.M. Vilmorin-Andrieux, over 125 years ago. The English language version appeared in 1885.
Growing vegetables from these seeds will not only provide you with personal satisfaction in the kitchen, but with the knowledge that you are participating in a chain with links going back more than 250 years to the Quai de la Mégisserie in Paris where Vilmorin has had a seed shop since the 18th century.
-Georgeanne

LA VIE RUSTIC FRENCH CHICORY SEED COLLECTION

Photograph by Thomas Kuoh www.thomaskuoh.com

Escarole, frisée and radicchio are all chicories. In French markets and home gardens, you’ll always see a goodly amount of lacy-leafed frisée, thick-leafed, tender hearted escarole, and multiple varieties of chicorée sauvage, or, to the Italians, radicchio. All belong to the chicory family and share a characteristic slight, but desirable, bitterness. They are versatile in the kitchen. Beyond making hearty salads, they can be braised, grilled, baked, or made into soups.

About Escarole and Frisée
The escaroles and frisées have pale yellow hearts which are tender and mild, while the outer dark green leaves are tougher. Escaroles have thick leaves, slightly ruffled on the edges, and thick midribs. Frisées have thin, fine, lacy leaves with thin, delicate midribs. The hearts of both may need to be blanched – that is it is protected from sunlight (and consequently from photosynthesis that turns the leaves green) by one of several different methods. It is not unusual to see an escarole or frisée in a French market that is 18 inches in diameter with a 12-inch blanched heart.

About Radicchio
Radicchio, which in French is called chicorée sauvage, varies, according to variety, from a lush magenta to pale green speckled with rose. There are also dark green types.
Radicchio can be red, pink, pale or dark green at maturity, but most start out as green. As the heads swell, the inner leaves, protected by the outer wrap, begin to color.

The photo below is of freshly harvested escarole and radicchio, ready to turn into a salad.

Contents of the French Chicory Seed Collection

A large overpacket, letterpress printed on a 1950 Heidelberg press by a master printer, contains 6 individual packets with 1 gram each of the chicory varieties below, each enough for planting a 50 foot row or multiple seedings of shorter rows, plus complete planting and blanching instructions.

  • Scarole Cornet de Bordeaux – This is an upright escarole with tightly-wrapped, somewhat flaring leaves that protect its pale yellow heart. The cornet type was described in the Vilmorin book. It is self-blanching.
  • Scarole Pain de Sucre – This is an upright heirloom escarole growing up to 18 inches or more, with tightly wrapped leaves. It is self-blanching.
  • Scarole Blonde a Coeur Plein – This is a flat, spreading escarole with sturdy, tightly bunched center leaves. It needs to be blanched to maximize tender leaves.
  • Frisée Très Fine Maraichère – The very fine feathered leaves of this heirloom curl into a robust heart. It needs to be blanched to maximize tender leaves.
  • Frisée Ruffec – V – this sturdy frisée received high praise from MM. Vilmorian-Andrieux over 125 years ago. “The midrib of the leaf is very white and thick, very tender and tasty.” It needs to be blanched to maximize tender leaves.
  • Chicorée Sauvage de Verone –This is a classic radicchio originating in the region of Verona in northern Italy. It produces a sturdy round head, and the dark outer leaves will keep the leaves of the inner heart tender. The inner leaves are magenta with wide, white midribs. There will be some plant variations.

When to plant: In cool climates, plant in spring when the ground thaws for a summer harvest. In warm climates, plant in summer for a fall and winter harvest.

Germination: 7 to 10 days
Days to maturity: approximately 90 days

In the Kitchen: The robust leaves of escarole and frisée make excellent salads that handle big flavors, like crispy bacon or jambon cru, sausages, fried eggs, cheese, or garlic croutons (your choice of combination) and dressings rich with balsamic or aged cider vinegars. A French classic is a frisée salad topped with warm goat cheese. Escarole and radicchio are also excellent grilled.

LA VIE RUSTIC FRENCH LETTUCE SEED COLLECTION

Photograph by Thomas Kuoh www.thomaskuoh.com

In French markets and home gardens, you’ll see an ever-changing array of lettuces in all colors, leaf types, shapes, and sizes. Red, pale green, dark green, variegated, tight heads, loose heads, tall and short – the choice is vast and varied. The ones we have selected here represent a combination of shapes, colors and flavors that will ensure you a wide range of lettuces for your salads. All of them are heirlooms with a long history of being cultivated in French potager and market gardens. The seed varieties marked with a “V” indicates they were described by the famous French seedsmen and horticulturalists, MM. Vilmorin-Andrieux, over 125 years ago in their book, The Vegetable Garden, first published in English in 1885.

Butterhead Lettuce Salad Photograph by Sara Remington

Types of Lettuce
Batavian or Crisphead
Batavian lettuces are somewhat old-fashioned. They form a semi-tight head, with looser, spreading outer leaves. They are the precursor to the crisphead or iceberg types so commonly seen today with exceedingly tight heads and lots of wrapper leaves, which are generally discarded before being sent to market.

Butterhead Lettuce
Butterhead lettuce forms small to medium heads comprised of loosely folding leaves with a fine texture. The leaves are very smooth and delicate, making these a favorite in France for the classic, thick mustard vinaigrette that coats the leaves.

Romaine or Cos
Romaine lettuce forms an upright head, with elongated leaves that are slightly spoon-shaped. The leaves may be slightly ruffled at the end and the mid-rib may or may not be pronounced. Romaines are typically quite sturdy and crunchy.

Loose-Leaf
Loose-leaf lettuces grow in a loose, open shape with no discernible head forming. None of this type is included in our French Lettuce Seed Collection.

Contents of the French Lettuce Seed Collection
A large overpacket, letterpress printed on a 1950 Heidelberg press by a master printer, contains 6 individual packets with 1 gram each of the lettuce varieties below, each enough for planting a 50 foot row or multiple seedings of shorter rows, plus complete planting and blanching instructions.

  • Reine des Glaces, also known as Frisée de Beauregard – V -This Batavian type, like some of the other lettuces in this collection, has been cultivated for more than 125 years, a testimonial to how good it is. It might be my favorite lettuce. It has deeply cut, almost lacy leaves with spiky edges, and its tightly curled head has an iceberg look. It’s easy to imagine that once upon a time iceberg lettuce did look and taste like Reine des Glaces, full of favor with a crunchy texture. Although best grown in the cool days of spring and fall, it can tolerate some heat.
  • .Rouge Grenobloise- This Batavian type has a large head, heavily brushed with varying shades of magenta, and pale-green inner leaves that are somewhat crisp. The leaves are curly and ruffled. It does equally well in warm and cold weather, making it a good choice for many growing areas.
  • Merveille de Quatre Saisons – V – This is a classic larger butterhead type, with soft delicate leaves that are blushed dark magenta along the tops, pale green at the base. It has been in production for more than 125 years and is still a favorite in farmers’ markets and restaurants, not yet eclipsed by new breeding. It’s called ‘4 Seasons’ because in all but the hottest and coldest climates, it can be grown year-round, though it is best, I think, in spring and fall.
  • Reine de Mai – This butterhead lettuce forms a lovely little pale creamy-green head, sometimes tinged with just a bit of rose. The leaves, like other butterheads, are fine and delicate, and their unusual color sets them apart. It is not very heat tolerant.
  • Rougette de Montpellier, also known as Rougette de Midi- This butterhead type forms a small, almost round head with typically dark maroon leaves, green at the base. The leaves are tender and delicate. It is more tolerant to heat than some other butterheads.
  • Romaine Rouge d’Hiver- V – This romaine, after being in production for more than 125 years, remains a standard for both home and market growers. The leaves are smoother and more delicate than those of most romaines and vary in shade from maroon to bronzish red, with pale green bases. This lettuce is excellent to harvest as baby lettuce when the leaves are 4 or 5 inches long, and of course, it can also be harvested at full size.

When to plant: Climate is the major influence on lettuce. When the days grow hot, the lettuce becomes bitter. Plant in spring and fall in warm climates, spring, summer, and fall in cooler climates.

Germination: 5 to 7 days
Days to maturity: Approximately 28 days for baby leaf, 50-58 days for full heads.

In the Kitchen: Try Reine des Glaces for your next wedge salad with blue cheese dressing, adding some crumbled bacon. Combine Reine de Mai with fresh tarragon, basil, and chives and dress with Champagne vinaigrette. Mix all the baby lettuce leaves together and some fresh herbs to make your own mesclun mix. Most of all, enjoy a fresh garden salad every day.


Reader Comments

END OF SEASON

Submitted by Tracey on September 16, 2020 - 3:18pm

At the end of season, do I trim the okra plants down or do I pull them up all together?

Submitted by The Editors on September 18, 2020 - 11:17am

Generally, okra should be pulled up and disposed of at the end of the growing season. However, there is something called “ratooning,” which is the process of cutting down the okra plants in late summer to encourage a second production of okra into fall. This is usually done in late July to mid August, and stems are cut down to about 6 to 12 inches. Depending on where you are located, it’s likely too late in the season for ratooning this year, so we would recommend pulling up your plants if they’ve stopped producing and your first fall frost date is less than 10 or so weeks away.

Clemson Spineless

Submitted by Rick on June 22, 2020 - 4:45pm

Just curious why "Clemson Sprineless" isn't on your recommended variety list? It's about all I see around here.

Clemson okra

Submitted by Tim on October 5, 2019 - 3:08pm

It is Oct. 5 /19. My okra is growing limbs out of the stalk and producing even more okra. Is this normal ? I live in mobile , Al.

Planted OKRA first time

Submitted by Justus on August 26, 2019 - 6:14pm

I planted a garden for first time in my yard where grass was. Covered the grass until it died then simply plugged the ground and dropped in the plants that came up from seeds in the kitchen. Wow! Everything was mixed up and I didn't know what was what. Spinach, 2 types Lettuce, cucumbers, okra, 3 kinds of peppers, even a cantaloupe, radishes beets, carrots, basil, oregano, broccoli cauliflower and green onions 2 types. in a tiny space. Everything just started growing. I didn't know what they were but after a month or so, I saw cucumbers, lettuce, a beet, or maybe it was a radish? a banana pepper, and the okra had flowers but nothing on them. Today the OKRA is as tall as me, at least 5 ft, and they just keep giving me okra. I didn't know I could just throw them in the freezer, so THANKS! I think it took my okra about 2 or 3 months to all get going. The one plant in most sun started early but the others are just now going. My neighbor told me after I planted them all in little holes that I should have cultivated the dirt before planting, but the plants didn't know that and they just took off from that little hole I put them in anyway. It has changed my life. I didn't think I could grow a garden, but I didn't really, I just took the time to plant a few seeds, and they did the rest. Makes me want to plant the seed of a dream I've had all my life and see if it will grow!

Submitted by hugh wilcox on July 5, 2019 - 8:55pm

Planted okra in May and it stopped growing at about 4 inches tall. I have always had good crops before.

Okra problems

Submitted by The Editors on July 9, 2019 - 1:13pm

Do you think it was planted too early? Night temperatures must average above 50 degrees F., okra fails to grow properly.
Another thought is root knot nematodes. If there are swellings on plant roots, the plant can’t take in all its nutrients and gets stunted.
Of course, once okra does harvest, you need to cut old pods from the plant or it will stop producing.

Want to spray okra with Epsom salt solution.

Submitted by Jeff Poston on July 23, 2018 - 11:42am

What would be the proper ratio and would it be beneficial.

Epsom Salts solution ratio

Submitted by The Editors on July 27, 2018 - 9:43am

Jeff, use about 1 tablespoon Epsom salts to 1 gallon of water.

Epsom salt spray

Submitted by Christine on July 28, 2018 - 11:25am

What is the purpose of the epsom salt spray?

Epsom Salt Spray

Submitted by The Editors on July 30, 2018 - 5:02pm

Epsom salts are made of magnesium and sulfur, which are beneficial nutrients required by plants. Magnesium especially helps with photosynthesis, and therefore fruit production. Measured spraying of certain plants with an epsom salt solution is a good way to ensure that the plants are getting enough magnesium to produce healthy fruits.

Submitted by marty chauvin on August 12, 2018 - 3:29pm

how do you apply salt water to okra and not kill plants?

Submitted by Shelia Persons on May 4, 2018 - 9:06am

Can okra be planted in elevated cedar planter?

Okra in containers

Submitted by The Editors on May 8, 2018 - 10:38am

It sure can! Make sure your planter is at least 12 to 14 inches deep. Also, it is best to choose a dwarf variety, such as “Baby Bubba” or “Cajun Jewel.” Dwarf types won’t grow higher than 5 feet. (Other okra varieties can grow as much as 8 feet or more, which would be difficult in an elevated container.)

Submitted by Bernard on July 9, 2018 - 3:14pm

my okra has come up but the plants are spindly and falling over, any suggestions?

I usually get a bit of dirt

Submitted by Isabella on July 17, 2019 - 10:51pm

I usually get a bit of dirt and press a mound around the bottom of the plant and it does the trick, but another solution might be to get some sort of a stick like bamboo or just a long one that has fallen from a tree and tie them together with a twist-tie. Hope this helps:)

Okra- companion and combative vegetable plant

Submitted by Donna Reagh on March 17, 2018 - 7:52pm

I live in East Texas and would like to know what are companion vegetable plants and combative vegetable plants to plant along side okra. No one haves okra on their companion/combative plant charts. Could you please, please help me out with the answer. Thank you

Submitted by jragan on March 24, 2019 - 11:12am

tomatoes and squash. no intervention or disease. 4 to 5 feet row. Spray with dishwashing liquid 5 to 1 once a week for achids and nematodes

Can I intercrop okra with cucumber?

Submitted by Crucial on January 16, 2018 - 11:50am

Am in Ghana and want to go into okra production but I want to find out if I can grow okra and cucumber itercroppeped? if yes how can I go about it.

Submitted by Terri on October 18, 2017 - 3:23pm

Between my daughter and myself we had so much Okra did not know what to do with it. Started become creative with Okra as well as learning how to can it. Finally my neighbors found out I had so much and I started giving it away. My goodness in the grocery store it's $3.48 lb.

Can one process okra or green

Submitted by Joseph Mutaboba on August 15, 2018 - 2:40pm

Can one process okra or green beans for better conservation instead of leaving the produce to rot?

Submitted by Tim Clark on April 7, 2019 - 9:00am

If have a lot of okra, your local food store usually loves local Okra. I pick mine in the evening and deliver it to the store on my way to work. After work I swing by and get paid. I pick every other day, around 40 lbs. local okra is not wilted or bruised due to shipping

Most people don't like picking okra due to the itching.

Why didn't My Okra harvested yet?

Submitted by Tim T on August 30, 2017 - 7:24pm

I planted the okra in late may early june, i have yet to see any of the okra harvest, i have nice leaves but not an okra in sight, is something wrong?

Okra production

Submitted by Steven White on September 10, 2017 - 1:53am

Best guess is too much nitrogen in the fertilizer.
Get a super bloom liquid fertilizer to promote flowering

Submitted by Tramayne on September 21, 2017 - 11:54am

Mine is just now starting to come in. I had the same problem. It took longer than the 52 weeks to maturity.

Okra leaves

Submitted by jenny hernandez on July 26, 2017 - 10:54am

my okra plant has holes in their leaves. what is causing this. I need help. what should I do.

Holes in Okra Leaves

Submitted by The Editors on July 27, 2017 - 11:02am

Insect pests are the most likely culprits. Please see our pest pages for more information.

I want to plant okro. I am from Cameroon leaving in Douala

Submitted by Ayienwi victor on June 16, 2017 - 4:32pm

When is the appropriate time to start. What are the things needed for the cultivation of okro.

How to plant okra

Submitted by Teyim rodrick ticha on July 7, 2017 - 2:11pm

If you are serious about the production okra you can contact me me for guides.am an agriculture student in the university of buea third year and am always in Douala from time to time, contact 670382172

Growing okra

Submitted by boipelo kitso on June 15, 2017 - 1:25am

am from Botswana and I have planted okra but it has been affected by a hash coldness, the leaves, flowers and fruits were affected but the stems are still okay now I wanted to find out if there is still anything that can be done.