Fenton Friday: Does This Look Like Okra to you?!

At the far back right corner of my community garden plot is a tall, red gorgeous plant with dramatic tropical leaves. It is supposed to be a Red Okra. It is not.

The seedling I was given this spring at a local plant swap was labeled as an Okra and it sure looked like one to me. As it grew over the summer, I patiently waited for the familiar hibiscus-like blossoms to form and the the horn-shaped fruit to form. I waited and waited and waited.

Finally, a few weeks ago, a flower started to form. The spike was not at all okra-like. It was more like the clusters of some tall grasses. And then it hit me. This is NO Red Okra! It is the Castor Bean plant. Not only is it NOT edible, but its seeds are quite deadly. WTH! What kind of careless person mixes these two plants up and passes them on to unsuspecting gardeners!

It is not the first bait-and-switch seedling mix-up I have been the victim of in my plot -- see last year's "flowering" Tobacco debacle here -- and it likely won't be the last. So, what to do in future? I generally trust fellow gardeners to be correct in their labeling, but from now on I should be more selective in quizzing gardeners at the local plant swaps I attend.

How about you, what mislabeling crimes have you suffered from in your garden?

About Fenton Friday: 
Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 6th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.)

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