Be Careful How You Garden

My informant for this story was my friend’s grandfather.  My friend’s grandfather grew up in a rural area where they did a lot of farming.  He continued to have a large garden into her later years and always helped my mother plant and tend to ours every year.  My friend’s grandfather always insisted that you could not plant potatoes and okra together.  Again, as with most pieces of folklore, their importance and weight is from the traditions and history that they represent rather than a scientific reasoning to explain their existence.

Later in my life, I heard that there actually may be a reason for not planting potatoes and okra near each other.  The reason had something to do with  how legumes give off nitrogen in the ground and other plants take up.  This could possibly result in too much nitrogen for either the potatoes or the okra.   I don’t recall the details of the explanation, but my mother still doesn’t plant potatoes and okra next to each other.  I think it is a way she pays homage to her father and grandfather.