Wednesday, November 2, 2016

HARVESTING OKRA SEEDS

This past weekend, I decided to do something we've never done...save our own seeds for use next season!

Okra pods
I had been drying some okra pods in the sun along the garden fence.  We knew they were ready when I shook them and they sounded like maracas!  

Okra pods with seeds
When you crack them open, they are rolling around inside like little bb's.  

Okra seeds
I set up on the coffee table in the living room and slowly pulled apart the dried pods.  Seeds went everywhere.  Oops.  I'm sure that in about six months, we'll find some in the far corners of the living room and swear that the mice are back, LOL.  But we ended up with quite a few seeds.

It's our first seed saving exercise from something grown in our own garden.  

Any tips or advice?  
How to keep them viable? 
Storage?


19 comments:

Colleen said...

collecting the seeds either twist the dried pods in your hands to break open the seed or slice the pods lengthwise from top to bottom, prying the pods apart at the slit with your fingers -the seed will fall out quite readily.  My advice, do this over a large bowl on some sort of deep container as seeds will fly Everywhere as you experienced.

Dry the seed thoroughly for several days, then store in a cool, dry place in tightly closed containers until next season.  I store all my seeds either in envelopes or small paper bags but I Never store in sealed glass jars or ziplock baggies.

Okra seeds have a history of not storing well so you will need to collect new seed each autumn for use the following season. Okra seeds are unlikely to remain viable into their second year. When it is time for replanting, soaks the seed a couple of hours or over night before planting.
I have found that seeds that float to the time are no good and I throw them away.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeBSO8YRzKs

Colleen said...

When planting time comes around; Soak Okra seeds in warm - NOT hot - water (120 degrees or less comfortable to the touch). At least 3 inches of water for 24-48 hours with hydrogen peroxide, change twice if possible.Hydrogen peroxide or kelp tea will boost germination as well.   If done correctly, the seed should be swollen, a lighter color, and the hull should be softer.  Dab them with a paper towel and plant immediately.

Texas Rose said...

Hopefully yours are not a hybrid variety.
You will get good plants next year only if your okra were not hybrids. If they were hybrids, you'll get plants that produce rather tough pods. Been there, done that.
Good luck!

Audrey Westlake said...

I am fairly new to gardening and am reading a book I'd highly recommend if you'd like great, detailed info on saving seeds: "Seed to Seed" by Suzanne Ashworth. It's full of helpful information and from what I've read it's true that if your okra seeds you planted this year were hybrids, the seeds will produce plants that may or may not be like the ones you grew this year. If you want to save seeds, you'll need to start with an open-pollinated variety, not a hybrid. Best of luck!!
Audrey W.

Gerri said...

I thought that when okra pods dried they turned inside out? Like a banana peel kind of, if you can visualize what I am describing.

Linda said...

When I have to do anything involving small pieces with the potential for flight, I use a large bowl and put my hands to the bottom to work. Deep is the key component to the large bowl. Also, I have been known to put a sheet on the floor under me and the table. Of course, no matter what you do you will find these seeds forever! I had not had a live tree in several years and found needles up against the baseboard even though I had cleaned/vacuumed there often.
pparsimony

Linda said...

A paper grocery bag works well in place of a bowl for collecting fly away seeds. If you get tough okra next year let some go to seed-pods for Okra Santas!

Gail said...

Mom used to "string" hers with needle and thread through the stalk/cap. Hanged them to dry along with the red peppers until planting time next year. We've sold several for decorations at the family shop.

1st Man said...

As always, great advice. Thank you so much. I'm going to have to refer back to this next Spring (or feel free to remind me, ha)

1st Man said...

I don't think they were, I'll have to look back at the variety. I forgot about that, thanks for the reminder. Hybrids sometimes won't even work.

1st Man said...

Thank you (and welcome to the blog by the way). I am going to look for that book, thanks. I don't think this was a hybrid plant, but I need to go back and look at my records.

1st Man said...

I know exactly what you mean. That's interesting, I never thought about it but it makes sense. But yep they just dry out inside and out and become crispy. Thanks and thanks for stopping by!! Comment anytime!!!

1st Man said...

Ooh smart idea, thanks. Oh and wow you are right about those pine needles, they hang around forEVER, ha.

1st Man said...

Well now that's smart too!!! I'll remember that one as well. Thanks!!!

1st Man said...

Dried on a string with red peppers? That sounds awesome. I'll have to google and see if I can find some pictures. Love that idea for decorating too.

1st Man said...

And yes, DEFINITELY okra Santas, I can't wait for that!!!

Colleen said...

Start a Garden Binder and put in important information for you to look back on.

Kev Alviti said...

Your probably dry enough there but if you want to make sure they're extra dry for storage heat some rice on a tray in the oven. Then put these in a maDon jar and let cool. Then add the seed you are saving in an old pair of tights and the rice should draw out the last bit of moisture.

Anonymous said...

paper bag or envelope is the best way to store,I have viable seed from all sorts of plants, kale, choho, broccoli, collards greens, leeks.....so many and they were all kept in paper. Allowing brassicas to go to seed is good for the bees,especially if they have grown over the summer, they will often flower in the spring, bees love flowers from the allium family as well, so if you find any onions (bought for cooking) that have started to sprout, just plant them in any spare patch, even over winter, and let them flower, they are quite beautiful. Last year I had a particularly tasty little beef tomato and simply scooped the seeds on to a piece of kitchen paper, spread them out and let them dry,then folded the paper and stuck it in an old envelope (even remembered to label it) I sowed them three days ago, just pulled them off the dried paper and they have all germinated, so you don't need to faff around macerating or rinsing, they worked fine. btw, it is spring where I am in NZ.