Growing Non-GMO Hill Country Red Okra Vegetable Seeds
- Latin Name: Abelmoschus esculentus
- Hardiness Zone: Annual 5-11
- Days to Maturity: 60-70
- Days to Germination: 4-14
- Seeding Depth: 1/2"
- Plant Spacing: 18-24"
- Row Spacing: 36"
- Plant Height: 36-60"
- Growth Habit: Bushy upright
- Soil Preference: Rich, loamy, composted, well-drained
- Temperature Preference: 75-90 °F
- Light Preference: Full sun
- Pests and Diseases: Susceptible to rot in poorly drained soil. Monitor for aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, earwigs
- Hill Country Red Color: Lightly greened pods with a dark red tint
- Hill Country Red Flavor: Sweet, herbal, grassy notes
How to Grow Hill Country Red Okra from Seed
Okra is a full sun crop that does not perform well in cold soils. Seeds can be sown direct after the final frost date but, for earliest starts, begin indoors 3-4 weeks prior. Plant 2-3 seeds 1/2” deep per peat pot or 4-6” apart in the garden in sandy, organically fertile, and well-drained soil with a pH of 5.8-7.0. Okra germinates in 4-10 days, transplanting or thinning your best starts to 18-24” apart in the garden. Seeds may pre-soak 12-18 hours to accelerate germination, but is not required. Okra thrives from regular watering and fertilizing.
Okra thrives alongside other full sun staples such as melon, cucumber, and eggplant. These plants don’t do well in cool temperatures, so be sure to keep them away from frost. During growth, remove weeds so that they don’t interfere.
Hill Country Red Okra in the Vegetable Garden
Okra is a heat-loving summertime favorite synonymous with some of the hottest, most humid regions in the country. Okra is a fruiting crop that produces tender 2-3” edible pods all the way through the warmest months of the year. Related to both hibiscus and hollyhock, okra is also celebrated for its huge, gorgeous flowers that bloom in shades of orange, pink, red, and white.
These okra are tender, and grow productively. One downfall is that pods do sometimes contain small spines. Plants can have large white-yellow flowers that attract bees.
Hill Country Red okra grows 4-6' tall. Has 3" bronze red fruit that are full of true heirloom okra flavor.
Harvesting Hill Country Red Okra
Okra is most flavorful when harvested at 2-3” long or about 60 days after sowing. Harvest often to keep up with fruiting while encouraging production. Wear gloves when handling okra plants because the fine hairs are known to cause skin irritation. Using a knife, simply cut okra pods from the plant while leaving some stem attached to the fruit. Garden fresh okra does not store well and should be enjoyed the day it is picked.
After harvest, pods can be stored in refrigeration for up to one week, and store best when wrapped. To bring out the flavor of the okra, it is best to grill them. They can also be eaten raw or pickled when harvested small. They are excellent roasted, fried, or chopped and added to cooked dishes as well.
Pods are most tender and delicious when picked young, at around 3" long. To harvest pods, cut them off the stem of the plant.
About Hill Country Red Okra Seeds
Abelmoschus esculentus. (60-70 days) AKA: Texas Hill Country Red
Okra is said to have originated in Africa and followed the slave trade establishing itself in the Caribbean Islands, Brazil, and the Southern United States.
This variety is a Texas heirloom and was given the name "Hill Country Red". The okra is red in color and "The Texas Hill Country" refers to the limestone hills surrounding Austin/San Antonio Area.
However, it is unlikely it was first established there, as this area was largely settled by Germans who opposed slavery, but who were quick to adopt new vegetables through trade. It is more likely it originally came into Brazoria County, Texas in the South where there was an active slave trade and many plantations that quickly adopted any new food source. It is believed slaves themselves were sometimes able to smuggle a few precious seeds with them on their terrible journey.
Many times they were grown in substance gardens that some slaves were allowed to grow for themselves. It is not uncommon for people to bring their food source from a foreign land with them. It is however, amazing that any incarcerated person was able to do so. This is what makes heirloom seeds so special.
Did you know the leaves of okra can be eaten like beet greens either fresh or cooked? Okra seeds were also roasted during the civil war as a coffee substitute when Northern forces disrupted trade routes in the South.
Hill Country Red Okra Seeds Per Package:
- 10 g - Packet - Approx 175 Seeds
- 1 oz- Wholesale - Approx 500 Seeds
- 4 oz - Wholesale - Approx 2,000 Seeds
- 1 lb - Wholesale - Approx 8,000 Seeds
- 5 lb - Bulk - Approx 40,000 Seeds
- 25 lb - Bulk - Approx 200,000 Seeds
Non-GMO Hill Country Red okra seeds are available for Fast Free Shipping on orders over $45.