Kandahar Pendi Okra
Origin: Kandahar, Afghanistan
Improvement status: Landrace
Seeds per packet: ~55
Germination tested 12/2018: 78%
EFN EXCLUSIVE. If you've struggled with growing okra in the past, this may be the okra for you. As opposed to most named varieties, which are bred for uniformity, this is a diverse landrace population. Plants may produce green, red, pink, or white pods, which may be long, short, fat, or thin. Most will be slightly spiny, which okra's characteristic invisible spines (best harvested with gloves). The seeds of some plants have very high oil content. Originally collected by the little-known but prolific USDA agricultural explorer E.E. Smith in 1954, "pendi" is not a cultivar name, but simply the name for okra in one of the many local languages used in Kandahar (note the similarity to "bhindi," the Hindi word for okra). If you want to try your hand at plant breeding, using a diverse population like this is a great way to start. Given Kandahar's location at roughly 3000 feet above sea level, this okra is well worth trying in places where the common varieties of okra often refuse to grow. You may have losses in your first year, but as you save seed through the years you will develop your own landrace! Grown ecologically in New Jersey by the Experimental Farm Network.
GROWING TIPS: Direct seed in late May or early June after things have warmed up a bit. Or transplant healthy plant starts around this time. Plants should end up 8-18 inches apart.