I’ve planted Clemson Spineless okra for years . . probably ever since I started gardening and that was at least 40 years ago.
This year I read about the Heavy Hitter okra and decided to plant it also. The Clemson Spineless is in a raised bed on the far north side of my garden area. On the south side of the back yard, completely away from everything else, in the lower level of the retaining wall, just below the elderberries, I planted about 15 Heavy Hitter seeds. They’ve produced as well, maybe better than the Clemson Spineless. According to the blurb on Rare Seeds’ web page, this variety was developed by improving the Clemson Spineless. I’m saving some for seeds and I may continue to use this variety.
But the real mystery is this plant!
This one is in the same bed with the Clemson Spineless. I think there are actually two of these plants mixed in there. The Clemson Spineless is about 6′ tall. The mystery okra is probably 2 to 3 feet taller than the Clemson Spineless. I stand there next to it feeling like a midget. It’s just now starting to produce and there’s no way I can reach it without standing on a ladder.
The bloom is huge . . about twice as big as the other okra flowers. You can see in this picture how much taller it is than the surrounding plants.
I kept thinking this thing was going to open into a flower and, even as a flower, it was weird. I took Vince out and showed him and that was the day the flower shown above opened. I had never noticed other flowers on it so when Vince saw the huge flower and how tall the stalk was, he was saying “There’s something wrong with this plant!” Then I showed him this pod looking thing and he asked what it was. I told him I had thought it was going to be a flower. He said “No! That’s the fruit!”
I took the picture, came in and used “Lens” on the phone to see what I could find out and it appears it’s Motherland Okra. I planted that entire bed from one package of Clemson Spineless seeds. According to Rare Seeds, there are 30 seeds per pack of Clemson Spineless. I didn’t plant 30 seeds. There are probably about 21 plants in the 4 x 8′ bed. I’ve never grown Motherland. No one else around me has a garden. It’s a mystery for sure.
I was going to cut the pod and see what it looked like and Vince suggested I wait and let it go to seed so we can grow it again next year if we want. I’m glad he suggested that because it’s $6 for 10 seeds at Rare Seeds.
The description of this okra says “the late-maturing plants grow to 15 feet tall with elephant ear-sized leaves”. That makes sense. This one pod is the first it has produced and the other okra has been producing since at least mid-July. The elephant ear sized leaves is true. That was the first thing Vince noticed . . the leaves are just humongous. I think I’m going to make this Kale & White Bean Soup recipe and use the okra leaves instead of kale.