Tropical Seed Saving African Hybrid Okra Demonstration

43 replies, 2 voices Last updated by  Glendon Hamner 5 days, 13 hours ago
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  • #4882

    K. Afrane Okese
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    @kafraneokese

    The Africa Hybrid Okra has been improved by open pollination by @glen from Panama.

    In this demonstration, we will try to capture all the characteristics and adaptability of this variety whiles comparing with the already existing varieties.

  • #4885

    K. Afrane Okese
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    @kafraneokese

    The site was sprayed with weedicide. Seeds were sowed in the dying weeds. No-till as usual. The weeds will die and go down and give way to the okra to come up.

    The seeds were sowed, 2seeds per hill at a spacing 1m x 1m on 17th April 2018.

  • #4888

    K. Afrane Okese
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    @kafraneokese

    7days after planting. 45 out of the 70 hills sowed.  Insects attacking very early. We applied insecticide to prevent further attack.

  • #4891

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    I am very pleased and thankful to see this trial in progress.  Please enclose foto’s so we can see how this trial unfolds.

    • #4903

      K. Afrane Okese
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      @kafraneokese

      Sure, Glen.

      We will be telling all the story about this okra with many more pictures as we go on.

  • #4892

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    Oh, I wanted to try and identify this new variety of okra.  It is a hybrid backcross between Abelmoschus Esculentus and Abelmoschus Caillie.  It is also an open-pollenated new species of okra.  It is very exciting for me to see this new hybrid being trialed by Afrane, in Ghana.  Lets see what happens!

  • #4907

    K. Afrane Okese
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    @kafraneokese

    14days after planting. We replaced seeds that did not germinate and those that were lost to insect attack at that young age. So we then we had 57 out of 70 stands after the replaced seeds had germinated.

  • #4909

    K. Afrane Okese
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    @kafraneokese

    21days after planting. It is said that this okra is very delicate during the first month.

  • #4912

    K. Afrane Okese
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    @kafraneokese

    30days old okra. The field is coming up pretty well. The plants are gradually passing the delicate stage. We had to apply an insecticide for the second time to stop insect attack.

  • #4926

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    Afrane, the juvenile specimans look great.  Soon, if you have not done so you will need to thin out each hill or stand to one plant per stand.  I am sure you have already applied fertilizer or aged manure.  If not, this would help.  I use pelletized fertilizer in a form that is of good quality.  A tablespoon or so, broadcasted around each plant would be fine the first time.  Then, as the plants get larger, increase the amount some.  About every 10 to 14 days.  You will get the feel of it by doing this.  Once the plants are putting on pods you want to pull back on the fertilizer by applying much less frequently.  Your juvenile plants should be starting to branch.  Each leaf node should be throwing off the beginning of a branch.  This is branchy okra.  It will grow nice thick branches.

    • #4929

      K. Afrane Okese
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      @kafraneokese

      Well noted, Glen

  • #4935

    K. Afrane Okese
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    @kafraneokese

    Day 36

    NPK 15:15:15 applied. Flea beetles identified to be feeding on the leaves of the Okra. Contact insecticide applied at 2weeks interval. It is becoming necessary to reduce interval of application to a week.

    Observation: At this stage when we had to get beneath the plants and remove the weeds around the plants we experienced itching from spines on the leaves.

  • #4974

    K. Afrane Okese
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    @kafraneokese

    Day 40

    A sudden turn of events after the application of pesticide and fertilizer. The young okra plants are burnt, supposedly by the over-application of the fertilizer.

    Glen (@glen) advises we apply just a tablespoonful of fertilizer at a time and the at a wider radius. The fertilizer is supposed to be spread around the crop and not heaped at one spot.

    The next step is to replant all lost stands of okra.

    Lessons learnt.

  • #4979

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    The first lesson you must take out of this is that everyone makes mistakes when gardening.  I have gardened all my life and I still make mistakes.  Its what you do with the information that is important.  We must pay attention to details at all time when applying fertilizing or applying farm products to our crops.  Even so, I still sometimes over-apply a product and do damage when my intention was to help the plants grow well.  So, do not be hard on your self.  You should return to the grow site and see if there are any survivors.  I would also rethink the grid pattern you are using.   One meter between plants is good.  Widen the space up between rows.  I suggest 2 meters between rows.  You will need space later to enter the stand to harvest the okra.   The no till method should work fine.  Maybe some of the existing plants can be saved!   That would be good news!

    • #4990

      K. Afrane Okese
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      @kafraneokese

      Thanks, Glen.

      We have replanted the almost the whole field on Sunday, 27th May. We are expecting germination from tomorrow. That mistake will be well taken care of.

      The okra adventure is still exciting.

      Looking forward to welcoming the new ones on the fields.

  • #4984

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    These are today’s foto’s of part of my current planting of Hybrid African okra.  These plants are growing in the Republic of Panama in Central America.  My climate is pretty much identical to your climate there in Ghana.  I am growing my specimans in 10 gallon pots using amended soil.  I added compost to the soil.   Seeds were planted on April 15th so the plants are now 45 days old.  You can see the pod heads forming.  You can also see branches forming at all the leaf nodes.  I also had a set-back.  I over applied calcium to the soil before sewing the seeds.  This slightly burned some of the seedlings and did indeed killed some of my seedlings.  I had to replant part of my garden with new seed.  These current plants were fertilized with one tablespoon of quality fertilizer several weeks ago.  I have been getting adequate rain every other day or so.  Temps here in Panama are very warm.

    • #4991

      K. Afrane Okese
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      @kafraneokese

      Nice.

      Your okra plants obviously are having a good time. We shall follow suit.

  • #4995

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    I can’t wait to see the new seedlings when they come up.  I feel badly that you had the misfortune for the first try.  I am sure you will do well the second time around.  Last year, I had a bad experience as well.  I planted all my okra.  The seedlings came up and were infected with leaf-curl virus.  I didn’t know what it was at first so I let the plants continue to grow because you know, sometimes seedlings can grow out of a problem.  Well, the problem did not get better.  Leaf curl virus is one of several different virus that can infect our okra.  It is brought by the white fly.  The leaves on the seedlings get curled up and mal-formed.  I let the plants grow for 30 days before finally pulling them all up.  I replanted new seeds.  Right in the same pots I was using.  I don’t know why, but the new seedlings did not get infected with leaf curl virus.  Very lucky.  I lost a month but it could have been worse.  My new seedlings could have been infected again.  But, for whatever reason, they were not.  I had a very good season after that.  This year, I have not seen white fly or virus of any kind.  I have seen wilt desease though, that infects peppers and tomato’s.  It has not bothered the okra yet.

  • #5112

    K. Afrane Okese
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    @kafraneokese

    The survivors

    These are the state of the okra that survived the fertilizer spell. Forming pods at this stage.
    The pictures were taken a week ago.

  • #5113

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    Afrane, I am very glad to see that there are some survivors.  How many survived? Keep an eye on the new pods to see if the pods are aborting.  If not, that is a great sign.  It is normal for a few pods to abort though.  Then, it should not happen again.  Notice that the plants are branching out and pod clusters are forming on the branching.  The plants are particularly red in color.  This is a theory of mine.  If your soil is on the acidic side, this okra will be more reddish in color.  Had you applied some lime to the soil before planting, the plants would have been less reddish or fuscia in color.  Make sure and cut the pods at about 4 inches in length for best quality.  Things are looking good for these new plants.  I would like to see foto’s of the other specimans as well to see their progress as well.  Oh, pod production is slow at first until the side branching begins to form pods.  Then, production will increase to acceptable levels.  Watch the plants.  When you can identify very branchy and productive plants you want to begin producing seed.  Seed production is very important if you like this variety and want to continue growing this new species of okra.  I am seeing insect damage.  Probably worms or locusts.  Check the underside of the leaves to see what is bothering the plants.  You are producing pods now so if it is possible you don’t want to apply pesticide.  Pick off worms and catepillars by hand if you can.  The surviving plants look good.  Nice branching.  Should be lots of pod production later when the branching begins to make pods.

    • #5114

      K. Afrane Okese
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      @kafraneokese

      We had 8 okra plants surviving.
      We did not apply lime before planting.

      The damage on the leaf is caused by the flea beetle.

  • #5116

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    How tall are the plants?

    How wide are the plants?

    How many branches are forming on an average plant?  Are the branches forming nice blossom heads?

    I have no experience with Flea Beetles.  My problems right now are worms and locusts but mostly worms.  Also, with the heavy rains we are getting in tropical Panama we have issues with fungus now, forming on the pod heads and blooms.  I am seeing this in tomato’s and peppers also.  My older plants in big pots look clean now.  Plants are 70 days old and are getting tall and very wide.  Over 48 inches wide.  I have begun cutting okra. Production is slow now.  It will improve shortly after branches come online to assist with production.

     

     

    • #5126

      K. Afrane Okese
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      @kafraneokese

      The average height of the first batch of Okra is 60cm (24 inches) and about the same distance wide. They suffered from the fertilizer application but have recovered fine.

      We have an average of 4 branches per plant.

      There are indications that the soil is highly acidic. Just as you pointed out the petioles, leave veins and the okra pods have pink colourations.

  • #5132

    K. Afrane Okese
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    @kafraneokese

    Update on the 2nd batch of planted okra seeds.

    Once again we have lost over 80% of the 2nd batch of plants after fertilizer application. We observed a much wider distance from the plants at a very reduced rate.

    Our observations on fertilizer application
    – The soil is acidic and little addition of synthetic fertilizer increases the acidity
    – The okra plants at between the 30 and 60 days old and not well developed physiologically are not able to survive high soil acidity.
    – There is the need to lime the soil.

    The 3rd batch of seeds planted to replace the dead stands of okra.

  • #5136

    K. Afrane Okese
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    @kafraneokese

    3rd batch of okra planted

    The third batch has been planted and about a week old.
    They look quite vigorous that the two batched planted in the recent past.

  • #5138

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    Afrane, I am very concerned now if you are losing so many plants.  Like you said, it is almost as if the soil is poisonous to the plants.  I do believe it would be a good idea to have the soil tested. I have never seen or heard of okra dying like this.  I have been regularly fertilizing my plants and have not been having any type of reaction like you describe.  I did apply lime to the soil a few weeks before planting and did experience some burning of young seedlings.  Eleven survived just fine and are very large producing plants now.   As we know, okra is very forgiving plant.  However, it prefers soil that is on the neutral side.  Or, somewhere near 7 ph.  It can grow in acid soil.  However, if the soil is too acid it could be what is poisoning your plants.  We do not want this red coloration on the pods.  It is imperitive that a soil test be done.  Or, maybe okra needs to be planted at a different site.  My plants are only slightly reddish.  The pods are totally light green in color with no fuscia shading or purple coloration at all on the pods.  Pods are slightly curved which is normal.  I would like to get to the bottom of this and I do believe this is just a temporary setback.  If you only have a few surviving large plants please try and save some seed in order to ensure that you have seed to plant later.  I will send seed again after it is produced also if it is required.  I wish I knew what was going on for sure with those red plants.  I just do not.

  • #5139

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    I did take the opportunity to enlarge the foto of the Hybrid okra plant.  The plants are branching and producing on the branches.  I am seeing only one well developed branch that is producing.  We want to see 3 or 4 long, thick well developed branches that are producing.  The plants should also be taller than they are now.  Plants should be 48 inches wide at least also.   Full, large plants.

    Your climate is perfect for this okra.

    The problem has to be the soil.

    Once we find out what the problem is with the soil, then action can be taken to correct the problem.

    Also, if you have any organic material or loam that can be worked into the soil at each stand where you plant the seed, this may help as well.  I believe you also need a lime application.  Unless you have testing done on the soil you really don’t know how much that needs to be applied.  You must be careful with calcium also or you will poison or burn the plants.  I have personal experience with that.

    I read somewhere that you have a plant Doctor?  I am very interested in his opinion on this project and what he suggests as a way to turn things around.

  • #5140

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    Afrane, I suggest that you do not fertilize the last batch of seedlings for at least a month.  Watch them carefully.  When you do fertilize go light on it.  This way, we will know that it is a soil issue, and not a fertilizer issue.

    I am going to try and get some foto’s of my plants posted on this thread fairly soon.  I am not tooting my horn.  I just want people to realize that this new hybrid okra does have potential.   With some determination we will find out what is going on and get equal results with your plants.

    The only thing I am interested in is seeing you be successful at growing okra.

     

    • #5146

      K. Afrane Okese
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      @kafraneokese

      Your observations and suggestions are very well noted.

      It will be nice to put some of your okra photos here.

  • #5148

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    This is a recent foto of some okra I have cut.  I am eating okra today in fact and wish you could join me.  We are putting it on the BBQ.  The okra is a decent color with only slight fuscia shading.

    • #5162

      K. Afrane Okese
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      @kafraneokese

      Indeed they look decent.

  • #5152

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    Ok, these are 3 foto’s of younger plants.  The seed for these plants were sown on May 15.  So, these plants are about 50 days old or so.  Conditions have not been good for these plants.  Rains and over-cast have dominated their young lives.  Never much sunlight.  In spite of this these plants are doing well.  I have experienced some fungal issues in the podheads or calyx heads of a couple of these plants.  These plants will make the first pod a little later than in ideal conditions.  Conditions make the plant.  They are beautiful specimans.  There are 6 young juvenile plants in this row of pots.  Oh, so you will know.  I grow my okra in pots.  I use large pots, 18 inches across, 12 inches high approximately.  About 10 gallons of soil in each pot.  The soil is a mixture of my local yard dirt and also a product called Abonat.  Abonat is composted, fermented, wood shavings.  I use about 1/3 Abonat, and 2/3’s dirt or top soil.  My soil is acidic which is typical of tropical soil so I amend with calcium.  I used a calcium product that comes in a bottle that you mix one cap full with one gallon of water.  I add to the soil when I prepare the pots for planting.  I do not have my soil tested since I am not aware of where the labs are.  So, I use trial and error.  This is not a good method since adding too much calcium to soil will burn up your plants.  But, I do the best I can.  These plants should begin producing soon.  If Afrane wants, I will continue to post foto’s so you can see what this new hybrid okra looks like and how it develops.

  • #5153

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    Notice on the first foto the branching.  This variety branches very nicely.  Right now, the average plants make about 3 to 5 nice big fat branches.  All these branches will produce okra.  Does your variety branch like this?  Branching means more okra.  More okra is better.

    • #5161

      K. Afrane Okese
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      @kafraneokese

      Ours are also coming up with some more branches. Not as tall as yours though.
      Nice plants you have there.

  • #5160

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    The next foto’s are of my older plants that were planted on April 15th, 2018.  These plants are approximately 80 days old and they are blooming and making pods.  The plants have anywhere from 3 to 5 branches.  Each branch could possibly form more branches coming from the leaf nodes but so far, all I am seeing is buds.  This secondary branching does not follow thru.  At any rate, the primary branches are thick and well developed in light of the fact that there has been very little sunlight and excessive amounts of rain and high humidity for the duration of most of these plants lives.  Each developed branch produces a pod head and they bloom and produce okra.  Notice how thick the branches are.  These plants will produce okra for many many months as they are true perennial okra plants.  To remind you.  This is a brand new open-pollenated hybrid okra.  A blend of A esculentus and A Caillei.  I did indeed eat BBQ’d okra today and they were absolutely delicious.

    • #5166

      K. Afrane Okese
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      @kafraneokese

      Okra BBQ sounds interesting. I can’t wait for the first meal with ours.

      Thanks, Glen (@glen) for the wonderful pictures and elaborate commentary on their growth.

      We shall follow suit and surely we would love more pictures from your side.

  • #5164

    K. Afrane Okese
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    @kafraneokese

    We notice that grasshoppers have also been attacking the okra. These ones will cut the stem off at the very tender stage.

    As a measure to reduce the use of chemical insecticide, we are adopting wood ash. This, we hope will also correct the acidity of the soil to some extent.

    Picture update soon.

  • #5167

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    Wood ash?  I have never tried that.  Does it really sweeten the soil?

    Powdered calcium is not an expensive mineral to purchase.  It comes in 100 lb bags here in Panama which I cannot use since I am not a farmer.  I have no where to store it.

    In the US, powdered calcium comes in very small bags also for the home gardener.  Panamanians don’t garden anymore so only farmers buy it here now.  But you might be able to find smaller bags?  Like 5 lbs or so?

    A 100 lb bag of calcium here only costs 5 dollars.   I remember back in the US, a 5 lb bag would cost me 2 dollars.

    Liquid calcium is a product that comes in a plastic bottle.  It is calcium that is mixed somehow with water.  You shake up the product real good than mix a cap of it in a watering can with 1 gallon of water.  It works well, but this product is expensive.  I paid 3.50 for a small bottle of it. However, the bottle has lasted me for several years.

    If I was you, I would speak to experienced gardeners in your area to see how they control the ph in their soil.  Whatever solution you choose I realize that it needs to be affordable.

    Maybe wood ash is the solution?  Whatever you do, be conservative in your application.  You could do more harm than good.

    I need to google wood ash to see what it adds to the soil.

  • #5168

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    Apparently wood ash is good for controlling PH.  However, be careful not to use too much please.

    Using Wood Ash as a Fertilizer
    Wood ash is an excellent source of lime and potassium for your garden. Not only that, using ashes in the garden also provides many of the trace elements that plants need to thrive.
    But wood ash fertilizer is best used either lightly scattered or by first being composted along with the rest of your compost. This is because wood ash will produce lye and salts if it gets wet. In small quantities, the lye and salt will not cause problems, but in larger amounts, the lye and salt may burn your plants. Composting fireplace ashes allows the lye and salt to be leached away.
    Not all wood ash fertilizers are the same. If the fireplace ashes in your compost are made primarily from hardwoods, like oak and maple, the nutrients and minerals in your wood ash will be much higher. If the fireplace ashes in your compost are made mostly by burning softwoods like pine or firs, there will be fewer nutrients and minerals in the ash.

  • #5345

    K. Afrane Okese
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    @kafraneokese

    The 3rd batch of okra planted almost 37 days ago.

    Growing slowly. Manure has been applied, however, the rains are not falling. They are surviving and very soon when the rains come we expect them to start moving up fast.

  • #5389

    K. Afrane Okese
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    @kafraneokese

    These are images of the earlier batches of okra plants. They are now producing fruits. We had 6 plants producing good fruits currently.

  • #5392

    K. Afrane Okese
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    @kafraneokese

    Observations of fruit harvested from the African Hybrid Okra Plants.

    1. They are not spiny, that makes working around it and harvesting easier.
    2. They are slimy just as preferred.
    3. They taste great.
  • #5394

    K. Afrane Okese
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    @kafraneokese

    Saving some seeds for the next trial.

  • #5414

    Glendon Hamner
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    @glen

    Afrane, excellent reports.  I just ate a huge serving of Hybrid African okra for lunch.  Great to see that you are able to save seed.  For long term storage you can keep the seed in zip lock bags in the freezer.  Try to squeeze the air out of the bags as much as possible.  Seeds can store for several years that way.

    Pods are less red than I thought so that is good news.  In USA markets they like plain green pods, preferably dark green and straight.  All markets have different requirements.

    African okra usually is light green in color with fuscia or reddish hues and also tends to be ovoid in shape.

    This does vary of course with the variety of okra being grown.

     

     

     

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