By supporting our efforts to purchase enough equipment to make seed increase in 2012 a possibility.
Our biggest need is a hoop house to get our okra off to an early start. We also need it for protection against deer.
Last year, 2011- we almost lost all our seed stock to an early May ice storm with sustained temperatures at 28 degrees for five hours. Never in my life have we had an ice storm in May, and (I'm 50 years old). May 3rd we woke up to a 1/4 inch of ice across our whole operation.
the ice storm was followed by a tornado that passed high over head, upsetting 125 tomato cages, followed by two days of 40 mph winds, three hail storms, and 22' inches of rain in a week and a half period. After re-planting our losses, we were wiped out by deer eating all but 32 of 330 seedlings of our heavy hitter in a single night.
We never got another drop of rain until early September. We had 65 days over 100 degrees in 2011. Two weeks of that were over 110 degrees, with the high being 115 on August 2nd. In June we had a Japanese Beetle invasion like no other, followed by wildfire that pushed hundreds of thousands of grasshoppers ahead of it. By July there was nothing left, but the toughest of the tough.
Most all of my 2011 seeds will be used for 2012 seed increase on my farm, and the rest will go to researchers at OSU who are helping me with this. We hope to plant in two separate locations, to avoid so many natural disasters.
If I could get a hoop house, I could plant in mid April and nurse them until they are too big to be killed. Also, with a little help from a heater in Fall, I could keep the pods growing until dry seed pod maturity, without freezing.
Last year, it was June before the ground hardened up and warmed up enough to get them off and going. We had a 21 degree morning the first week of October that killed all the pods that were not already mature on every plant but one. That one plant was inside a homemade hoop house, made from a few sheets of tin, cheap-clear plastic, and black plastic stretched over a borrowed, 12' x 20' frame.
Because of the early killing freeze, I was only able to harvest mature seed pods from 5 of the 32 "HEAVY HITTERS" that survived the deer and rough Spring weather.
I've got a little over one pound of viable seeds from these five "HEAVY HITTERS" If all goes well, by 2013 I'll be able to share the off-spring of these with other interested people, so keep me in mind for the 2013 season!
Send me an email to and I'll send you some pictures of the plants... A camera cannot do them justice, but a picture is worth a thousand words.