How To Make An Okra Pod Wreath

Gather around kiddies for another Fairegarden How To instructional blog post. Today we will be making a wreath decorated with okra, Abelmoschus esculentus pods. This must begin with the growing of the okra. Some people may prefer to eat their okra, but here it is considered an ornamental, for the flowers and the pods themselves.

September 4, 2009 074 (2)
Over the last two years seeds were sown outside after the soil was nice and warm of A. ‘Pitre’s Short Red Bush Cowhorn’ in 2009 and A. ‘Bowling Red’ in 2010. The Cowhorn pods, above, were much larger but not red.

The Bowling was red, but the pods were quite small, good for cooking, not as good for wreath making, but those two crops provided a variety of sized pods for the wreath. The pods from last year have been in the shed awaiting reinforcements to make a nice display for the front door with a harvest theme for fall. Our seed source, Baker Creek, advised to allow the pods to remain on the plants until they become leathery, but not crispy dry. The pods are now ready. Let us proceed.

We begin by going to the workspace outside. There is an old plastic table under the garage second story deck where all projects are executed. The extra metal from the roofing was fastened under the deck floor to provide a mostly waterproof place to craft. A piece of styrofoam that was used in electronics packaging makes a perfect work surface. The pods are gathered from the shed where they have been stored and dried. Each pod stem is trimmed for a neat appearance. They are inspected for cracks, as above, where the seeds have been collected by very carefully prying the pod open to allow the little balls to roll out.

Each pod is coated with water based clear polyurethane. The smaller ones can be immersed, the larger ones brushed. They could also be painted, if you so desire, and then given the poly protective coating. I prefer the natural colors that nature provides.

Let them dry overnight. I turned them a few times to allow the excess poly to drain off and to keep them from sticking to the old broiler pan.

The pods now need to be prepared so they can be fastened to the wreath form. The stem end was pierced with a seamstress pin. Having the styrofoam underneath makes pushing the pin through much easier. Rotate the pin around several times to make the hole slightly larger, being careful to not split the stem.

We are using copper 24 gauge wire to fasten the pods. The enlarged pinhole is just the right size for the wire. I like to use copper for it doesn’t rust. Long term, if and when the pods decompose or are no longer wanted, the wire can be saved and reused. The pods themselves could be displayed in a bowl or basket as well, that is why we have taken the time to use the poly, to help preserve them from the elements since this wreath will be hung outdoors on a covered porch.

We have used three pods together on each piece of wire. Since the okra is different sizes, we used a small, medium and large for each grouping. The wire is about seven inches long and twisted together to hold the pods while the rest are so treated.

Here they are, ready to be attached to the wreath. You can use any type of wreath form, store bought or homemade. There are lots of trimmings from the garden here and many are woven into wreaths while they are still pliable for future projects. Willow is especially good for wreaths since it grows long pieces without branching. It is good for basket making as well. There are three Salix integra ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ shrubs that are cut to the ground each spring, coppiced, to keep them small and for the white and pink leaves of the new growth. I believe the wreath form used for the okra is this willow.

Here is the wreath hanging on the front door, a harvest welcome. More items could be added, or ribbon or whatever else you so desire. I am a bit of a purist and like the simplicity of it as is. I also like knowing that we grew everything on it but the wire. As mentioned before, it can be disassembled with the pods and wire reused in other ways. For now, it is perfect.

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26 Responses to How To Make An Okra Pod Wreath

  1. Carol says:

    Excellent use of okra, if you aren’t going to eat it. I actually left the last of the okra pods on the plants. They are still green! Hopefully, they’ll start to dry soon and I can make something with mine, too.

    Hi Carol, thanks. It is a good thing to use what we grow, if possible. I am loving the look of the dried okra with the satin finish poly on it. I look forward to seeing what you do with yours. Remember, leathery is how they should look, like those illustrated here. There are still a few pods on the Bowling Red too, that will be dried and so treated.

  2. Darla says:

    Very nice…I too enjoy the more natural look over all the ribbons and frills.

    Hi Darla, thanks, so nice to see you here. I think something like okra needs to be kept simple, nature’s beauty is the best of all, IMHO. πŸ™‚

  3. Jen says:

    Beautiful! You are such an inspiration.

    Hi Jen, thanks. What a sweet thing to say. That means a lot to me! πŸ™‚

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You are a busy lady. I like the natural look too.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. You know the old saying, “Busy is best”. I know you like the natural look as well. πŸ™‚

  5. Gail says:

    Dear Frances, What fun! I really like the wreath and going natural would be my choice, too. A friend grows okra and the flowering plant looks pretty in her garden. xxxgail Did the rain reach you?

    Dear Gail, thanks. The okra is garden worthy as an ornamental for the flowers alone. The pods are gravy, whether eaten or used in other ways. We did get a little rain, hope you did as well. πŸ™‚

  6. Steve says:

    You make Martha Stewart look like a rank amateur, Frances! πŸ˜‰

    Oh Steve, you do go on! HA But thanks. πŸ™‚

  7. I’ve never seen an okra pod wreath before; it’s lovely β€” delicate and somehow substantial all at once.

    Thanks Linda. This is actually the first one I have ever seen either! I like how it turned out.

  8. ellada says:

    That is a good idea, simple and beautiful.

    Thanks so much for that, Ellada. I agree, simple is best. πŸ™‚

  9. Nicole says:

    That is one cool wreath. Though I love cooked okra.

    Hi Nicole, thanks. That is the quandry, eat it of craft with it. I would suggest, plant extra so you can do both! πŸ™‚

  10. Rose says:

    Frances, your many talents never fail to amaze me! You should write a book with instructions for all your garden crafts. Your front entry really provides a hearty fall welcome to all visitors.

    Hi Rose, thanks, you are too sweet. My family says that about a book, but this is better, it is always available and free. Everything is under the category How To on the sidebar. I do love writing these types of posts very much. There will be more as crafts are attempted here. Seeing the front door makes me smile. πŸ™‚

  11. Jen says:

    Francis, I am so excited to see this! I did grow okra this year (red variety), but I’m afraid I didn’t save many pods. Honestly there were not quite enough to even make a substantial side dish because they came in at such different times throughout the summer, a few at at time. Next year I will try your preservation technique!

    Hi Jen, thanks, that makes me so glad! We didn’t have many pods last year, but they kept well in the shed until more could be grown. I liked the Pitre’s better because the pods were so much larger, will grow that one again.

  12. Patsi says:

    Tis the season to be crafty.
    Very different…really like it.

    Hello my dear Patsi, thanks. This is a crafty time of year, lots of raw materials! πŸ™‚

  13. lotusleaf says:

    Ingenious!The wreath is beautiful. My okra gets gobbled up.

    Hi Lotusleaf, thanks. We don’t really care for okra except breaded and deep fried, which is not particularly healthy eating, but I love to grow it. The flowers are amazing and the pods are beautiful.

  14. Lola says:

    I love your wreath & the fact that you grew all. It looks scrumptious on your front door.I do like fried okra. But must monitor fried foods.

    Thanks Lola. I will eat breaded fried okra, but like you, try to monitor fried foods. Wreaths are lower in calories! πŸ™‚

  15. What a rad idea! Especially considering the fact that wreath-makers tend to focus on the leaves or flowers, or if they add fruits they are usually lovely yet typical berries. This is unique and botanically interesting/inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

    Thanks Katie. I like to place unusual stuff from the garden on wreaths. I hope these pods last for several years, but if not, we will be growing more just for fun. There may be other ideas that pop up in which to use them. πŸ™‚

  16. Diana says:

    Thanks for the lesson. This is something I can do with my boys. But we have to wait for the okra to produce first. Our okra seeds have just germinated in our garden.

    Hi Diana, thanks and welcome. How exciting to be experiencing spring! I hope you okra harvest allows for both eating and crafting. I will be planting extras next year here as well, trying some new varieties. Have fun with your guys. πŸ™‚

  17. Joey says:

    Autumn lovely, Frances. Thank you for sharing another of your many talents.

    Thanks Joey. This was a simple craft, the hardest part was growing the okra! πŸ™‚

  18. Janet says:

    Looks great. I think if I did this it would look like one of the kids did it. You are a handy gal.

    Thanks Janet, but I believe you or the kids could do one as good or better. I just stuck the wires on there without fooling with the pods to make them just so. But I like things a little disheveled. πŸ™‚

  19. Nice! Esp. the pod that looks like a garter snake.

    Hi Monica, thanks. I feel that they all have an interesting shape. The cowhorns really do look like horns, I will get that type again. πŸ™‚

  20. Frances,
    That is one creative wreath. I just missed a class at our NF garden club this week so I could attend a Master Gardener meeting. I so wanted to go because they were making grapevine wreaths. Your wreath is really unique with the okra and I will follow your instructions faithfully. Now I am not so sad because I will try to make a wreath like yours. Good post. Looks good on the blue door. I too have a blue door. Donna

    Hi Donna, thanks. I think you made the right decision, the MG class is important. The wreath class sounds like fun though. I hope you enjoy making something for your blue door! πŸ™‚

  21. Bom says:

    I think my daughter would like this project. Plus it gives her a good excuse not to eat okra. πŸ˜‰

    Hi Bom, thanks and welcome. The wreath is a good idea for those non okra eating among us who still love the looks of the flowers and plant as an ornamental. A few pods could be sacrificed for the table if necessary. πŸ™‚

  22. Kathy says:

    I believe I would prefer wreathing above eating any day..shameful to admit as my grandma was New Orleans born and bred. Fortunately she was not prone to insisting we eat the stuff, and her divinity made up for everything.

    Hi Kathy, thanks for stopping by. Oh, homemade divinity, be still my beating heart! The okra has many uses, but here it is for wreath making. πŸ™‚

  23. This is marvelous—so simple, yet great texture and form. I wouldn’t have looked at okra pods and thought “wreath” because they’re more squiggly than curved. Yet that’s what makes this wreath so dynamic. Brava!

    Hi Debra, thanks so much. The okra pods are works of art, each one different. This wreath was fun and easy, after you have grown the okra that is! πŸ™‚

  24. I can see I’m going to have to grow me some okra pods. Not just good for gumbo…

    Hi Helen, thanks for stopping by. I don’t really like to eat okra, but the leaves, flowers and fruit are beautiful. Have fun with it! πŸ™‚

  25. Pingback: Christian Science Monitor-Diggin' It, "An Attractive Fall Wreath Starts With a Disliked Vegetable"

  26. Martha Dowden says:

    Hi Frances – This is Martha. I have a bunch of okra someone gave me, and most of it is too big to be good to eat. (Not that I would eat it – ugh!) Can I dry this okra to use for crafts or does it have to still be on the plant to dry? I’d like to make some Christmas ornaments with the pods. I’m from Louisiana, so I’ve been around the vegetable my entire life, but never developed a taste for it. Thanks for your help!

    Hi Martha, thanks for visiting. I honestly do not know about drying okra that has been picked, but would give it a try. Put it in a warm dry place, I used my shed. The pods will either shrivel up and rot, or dry to a usable state. Good luck with them!

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