Okra, broccoli, summer squash, cucumber, eggplant etc. are vegetables we grow every year. They all produce abundantly here.
We had 30 or so okra plants this year, in several varieties. They need very warm weather for the best results. We can either start them indoors and transplant in early June, or sow the seeds directly by the last week of May. We usually do both. They keep producing quite well, and their pods mature quickly, when the weather is at the warmest. Once the temperature goes down, their production immediately slows down, and they get killed by the very first frost.
Eggplants also like warm weather. If fed well and the flea beetles that attack them are taken care of, they produce quite well every year. This year we had 4-5 varieties. Most produced satisfactorily, though ‘Aswad’, a variety we tried for the first time, did not produce at all.
‘Barq’ is our most-liked summer squash. They are prolific producers every year. Their fruits can grow quite large too, though they are at their best when harvested young. We slice and freeze a great quantity of them for later use.
The broccoli varieties we plant keep producing side shoots after the main head is harvested. They are quite cold-tolerant too. In most years, we can harvest them well into winter. Broccoli plants require plenty of water and feed. Their young leaves also can be harvested. We love growing them.
‘Poona Kheera’ is the cucumber we like the most. They are good for both eating raw and cooking. We buy the seeds from ‘Seed Savers Exchange’. Though most cucumbers seem to want to spread their vines along the garden floor, we force them to grow on the trellises.
Different varieties of cucumber can cross-pollinate if planted close together. So, we limit ourselves to planting 3-4 varieties each year, although so many varieties are available online and in seed catalogs.