Monday, October 15, 2007

Okra and Peanuts

This year we tried two varieties of okra in our garden. The variety in the top picture (or to the right depending on your browser) is "Alabama Red" and the bottom picture (or the okra that is completely red) is "Jing Orange". No I didn't get those backwards---I have them correct. Though if I didn't know which was which I would say that I had them backwards.
Both did about equal in our garden with little watering. Actually without any watering except as they were sprouting---after that they were on their own. We did go through one very long period were it did not rain, the air was dry and no dew developed in the morning----and they wilted a bit during the middle of the afternoon each day. However---they continued to produce well and never did really falter, rebounding nicely when it finally did drop a small bit of moisture on our area.
So---would I grow them again? Yes, to the Jing Orange and maybe to the Alabama Red.
Comparing them I would say the "mini thorns" of the alambama red were the biggest draw back for me. They were so annoying that I think that probably ranks as the number one reason why I wouldn't grow them again. The jing orange pods didn't have any prickly things so our fingers were fairly safe while picking. Also, I felt the jing orange had a slightly better flavor----though my husband liked both equally well. The Jing orange's flavor is kind of........flowery. Not sweet though---just different. They also retained their tenderness longer than the alabama red did with the plants also staying shorter. Because they branched a bit more instead of growing straight up, it made it easier to pick them since you didn't have to reach over head so far. Next year I will for sure plant okra again and Jing Orange Okra will be one I choose.

My next plant I grew that I wanted to post about were peanuts. I chose two types---just as in the okra. I won't even bother mentioning the varieties since:
One---we won't be eating any of them
Two--I don't remember which section has which variety in it.

We had a bit of an issue with the peanuts. First, as with all seeds planted in the early summer, we watered to help them sprout. As we started watering though, the grass over in that section broke through the too thin mulch and just went crazy. Crazy! It was beyond our ability to get it under control----tilling and starting over again would have been the way to go. However, we didn't do that, deciding to just leave it and try and keep it in bounds to see what happened. We just stopped watering and left the area completely alone coming in every now and then to beat the grass back into submission. (why my pasture can't grow like that is beyond understanding ) Anyway, surprise, surprise---those peanuts finished sprouting just fine and continued to grow and flourish. Quite well actually even though they had grass trying it's best to smother them out.
So, this weekend while rechecking the potato beds for stray potatoes missed the first time around---I stumbled on peanuts! Was I surprised. First----I have no clue when you are suppose to harvest. I thought it was when the plants died back some what so that is what I was waiting for. However by the looks of what I found---see the pictures----some had not only finished but started to sprout. (????) Technically you shouldn't eat peanuts raw from the ground---they have a fungus that can/does grow on them and it is dangerous. That is basically why all peanut products you eat will be cooked in some way. Well, throwing caution to the wind we ate some. They are o.k---I didn't really like them raw. My husband did though. They are kind of peppery and nutty with a beany hint all at the same time. Yik. Anyway---more research into peanut production is necessary for my next years foray into homemade peanut butter. I would for sure use them for a nitrogen fixer/green manure though since they are such good growers even in heat and drought.
Wondering what we will do with them though? Why save them for the pig to harvest of course. She comes to us in two weeks and so she will go there to dig and till and eat peanuts. What better way to get rid of all those pernicious grass roots before next spring? With a treat for the pig for doing her work included in it of course!

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