Known most recently for their Bradford Watermelon, another wonderful family heirloom has been quietly hiding on the farm just out of eyesight from the public. The Bradford Family Okra has been grown and passed down in Sumter, SC for almost as long as their famous watermelon. In the mid 19s Theron Bradford built an okra thresher to harvest the seed from his crop and supplied all the local feed and seeds in Sumter and surrounding counties. This was the preferred okra by the locals. It was unique in that the tip of the okra would still snap clean at even 6-8 inches in length, meaning that it was a very large tender pod.
Nat Bradford, Theron's grandson, is now the breedline manager for his family's heirloom okra. Over the summer of 2017 Nat introduced this okra to SC chefs who have placed it in high demand. Chef Forrest Parker, impressed with its size and tenderness, commented ""Wow! This okra is large enough to stuff! This changes everything we know about okra.""
Chef Kristian Niemi commented that he had never tasted such a sweet okra. And Chef Sean Brock referred to the pearl-like seeds as he pressed them from a large pod that ""this is okra caviar!"" Now, after close to three quarters of a century, the Bradford family is making this fabulous, rare okra available again! This is a very limited release this year. Don't miss out!
Approx. seeds per packet = 90 Packet $3.95 Packet weight 6 grams
|Average Seed / oz||Seed / 100' Row||Average Yield / 100' Row||Days to Harvest|
|420||1 oz||30 lbs||60|
|Planting Season||Ideal Soil Temp||Sun||Frost Tolerance|
|After Last Frost||70-90°F||Full Sun||Frost Sensitive|
|Sowing Method||Seed Depth||Direct Seed Spacing||Seeds Per Packet|
|Mature Spacing||Days to Sprout||Production Cycle||Seed Viability|
Okra is a frost sensitive annual that requires full sun and well-drained soil. Okra will tolerate a wide variety of soils and once established is heat and drought tolerant.
Okra has a thick seed coat and does not germinate easily. Soak seeds in water at room temperature overnight and/or nick hard seed coat prior to planting for improved germination. Direct seed after the danger of frost has passed and soil has warmed to 62˚F. Sow seeds 1/2" deep and 3-4” apart in rows that are 3-6 ft apart. Seeds will sprout in 7-15 days. Thin seedlings so that mature plants are 12" apart.
Okra is ready to harvest in approximately 60-70 days. Depending on the variety, pods are best eaten when 2-3" long. If left on plant too long, pods become tough and fibrous. To increase productivity of plants, harvest every two days to promote further pod production.
Okra flowers are perfect and self-pollinating, but they are so large and showy they attract lots of bees to help get the job done. Okra needs at least ¼ mile to retain seed purity, but ½ mile would be best. Okra will keep producing as long as you pick, so it's best not to save pods from early flushes as you will be selecting for lower overall yields. Let your seed pod choices dry on the plant, and cut them off (wearing gloves!) with pruning shears or just grab the pod and twist. You can store the seeds in the pods until use, but for best long term storage, crack open the pods and store seeds in glass jars.