Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Growing organic okra

Okra, also known as lady finger or bhindi is officially called Abelmoschus esculentus. The name 'okra' comes from West Africa, as someone told me when I worked in Nigeria, and it's popular for thickening the stew that goes with garri.
Anyway, we planted some and found that they grew easily. In the full sun with not a lot of care or attention needed. The only problem is that each plant does not produce a lot of fruits at a time, and they are relatively large.
The flowers appear at the interstice, with the first one at about 20-40 cm off the ground. The plant keeps growing, so you have to harvest them as it grows, to avoid them becoming too hard. In the end, the plants grew to about 1.5-2m, over a cycle of about three months.

They are very tasty when cooked straight from the plant :p

Information on okra from Purdue University.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Flowering lotus

I find my lotus - in a pot in a heavily sunlit area - flowers about once every 3-4 months. It works in cycles, with it dying down and most of the leaves dying, then the leaves come back and then the flower comes. I use a fertiliser recommended for lotus and always try to keep the water full. Usually there is only one flower at a time, but once I had two.

Here is one lotus blooming. From start to finish it took about 12 days, but the final full open blossom only really lasts a day or two. It's always very nice though :)