Wednesday 19 November 2014

Okra, Ladies' Fingers Or Bendi

How to grow Okra, Ladies' Fingers.

Okra, known as ladies' fingers or bendi (in Malay) plant is very easy to grow.  It grows well in well-drained soil, in warm weather and exposed to at least a few hours of sunlight.

The okra fruit is high in fiber and has high vitamins and minerals contents. When cut, it will ooze out a transparent slimy substance.  The fresh seeds are white in color.  

Okra can be cooked by blanching in boiling water, or by steaming. It can be stir-fried with garlic or with "sambal belacan" (prawn paste), or can be added to curry or spicy dishes.  It can be slit open lengthwise, stuffed with fish or meat paste and cooked.
These are my okra seeds.  To hasten germination, you can soak these seeds in room temperature water overnight.
I have some recyclable container base (with holes at the bottom for water drainage) filled with garden soil.  I then buried my okra seeds in the soil (1 seed to 1 container).  I watered the soil and kept these containers away from direct sunlight, making sure the soil remain moist.
When the okra seeds sprouted and grew to a height of about 4 to 5 inches tall, I transplanted the baby plants into my flower pots.  From this picture, you can see 2 baby plants which I might have accidentally dropped in 2 seeds instead of 1 for germination.  I do not have the heart to discard one of them, so I let them share the same pot.  They do seemed to be a bit thin and tall.
My okra plants are growing beautifully tall and slender and I have to tie them to a support.  Can you see the buds on the plants?
The flowers are blooming!  Aren't they beautiful?  The creamy yellow petal matched with the dark center is so striking. 
The leaves of this okra plant are also extra large.  It is claimed that the whole okra plant can be eaten. The leaves can be cooked and eaten as normal greens or can be eaten as salad.
Look at the okra fruits growing!  This is the longer okra specie. 

This one is special.  Isn't it cute?  I think it looks like a swan head looking sideway.
This is the first fruit!  My heart is filled with thanksgiving for such a king size fruit.  It is slightly over a foot long.  I managed to harvest it just before it matured. Look at the lumps on the surface of the fruit.  It means the seeds are getting big.  Once it matured, it will be too fibrous to be eaten.  It is best to harvest when the fruit is tender and immature.

This 2 okra plants were over 6 feet tall and fruiting when this picture was taken, 

Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in His ways.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours,
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;
your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.
Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD.
(Psalm 128:1-4, New International Version-NIV)
Isn't this amazing?  Out from the mother plant, came forth a new branch (I didn't know that okra plant can grow branches.  Lo and behold, it bloomed and out came a big fruit!
Can you guess how tall this okra plant is now?  It has grown to over 8 feet!  I have to support it by tying it to a pole to prevent it from bowing down because of the weight of the fruits.

Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who finds great delight in His commands.
(Psalm 112:1, New International Version-NIV)


  1. Amazing!!! That is why I love to plant vegetables... Can benefit us humans! hahaha... and the best thing is that they are purely organic.... I hope mine will come out nice too.. no need to be one foot long.. half of your length is also good enough for me... hahahaa..

    1. Yes Claire, you are so right! Harvesting the fruits at the end of it is so rewarding and the best is getting to eat them fresh from the garden with all the nutrients for our body.

  2. You have green fingers. Everything you plant grows extremely well. Tell you, I love okra cooked in any style. Heard that there are 2 types of okra, one is whitish & the other is greenish, correct me if I am wrong.

    1. Hi Irene, so far I have yet to come across whitish okra, but I have seen the reddish one in my neighborhood. The green one is the most common one.

  3. Whenever i see plants, i am very happy, but i do not have green fingers...

    1. You need not give up trying. A friend of mine used to say she doesn't have green fingers is now enjoying her garden. She started with plants that are hardy and easy to maintain and she plants shrubs and fruit trees. Most of her plants are doing quite well.

  4. Wow, Nancy! I did not know that okra plant can grow so tall! Your fertilizer must be very good hee..hee... This post is so timely because I have a box of okra seeds. Shall see if I have time this weekend to do some planting. It is so wonderful to be able to harvest edibles from one's garden :)

    1. Oh yes, Phong Hong, I also didn't expect my okra plant to be that tall! In fact I was preparing to uproot it when I noticed that it is still fruiting. Yes, do go ahead and plant them, and watch them grow and bless you with abundant fruits.

  5. I love to eat okra. Did not know that the leaves can also be eaten. You are really blessed by the Lord with such green fingers. What fertilizers do you use? Do you mind sharing with us this info?

    1. I too love okra. I haven't tried eating the leaves yet, might not like them. I do not use any special fertilizers (no secret), just the ones sold by the nursery (chicken or goat manure I think).


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