“Food gardens symbolize abundance because they truly are a literal source of abundance. Food gardens provide exercise and better nourishment and help sustain the planet. They are auspicious anywhere, and the bigger the better. Situate them for the best sun. (Ours is in the front yard.) Food gardens require care, but that’s the message that goes out into the neighborhood—that you care enough to make food production a priority. If you’ve got a food garden, be proud of it.”
That’s from page 161 of Feng Shui for Hawaii Gardens.
If your vegetable garden does happen to be in your front yard, the one feng shui thing you want to watch out for is don’t put plants with a strong vertical growth habit in front of your front door. Okra is one of those plants—corn is too, and pole beans also if they are climbing up vertical poles. Okra is one of my favorite vegetables—I like it raw or cooked. It was easy to grow in Alabama and Tennessee, but we were having trouble getting good production here in Hawaii. The first problem was that the rose beetles would eat the leaves, leaving only the veins so that they looked like leaves made of green lace. We solved that problem by having a pond, so that toads were encouraged. They ate the beetles and their larvae so now the okra leaves look great (as well as our rose leaves).
The next thing was the plants were stunted. Okra is very susceptible to nematode damage and that was the problem. I decided to see if we could find a variety that was resistant to the nematodes. Alas, there’s no such thing, but Gold Coast is “tolerant” and that turned out to be good enough. I got our seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (southernexposure.com), but since they’re not hybrid, we’re going to be saving our own seeds from now on.
One important thing about growing okra is that you must harvest every day—otherwise some of the pods will become over mature (tough & stringy).