I have failed in a couple past efforts a year or so ago to germinate kenaf seeds, but I am sowing in a pot in a few minutes some fresh seeds I just got from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, with the intent to transplant the seedlings into Water Wise Container Gardens...if we have a "wet" spring I will plant some directly into a garden site. I look forward to cooking and eating the leaves of this okra relative (the blooms look VERY much like okra blooms), and am hopeful my chickens and quail will accept the raw leaves as a summer "green". The stalks could be wonderful for when I fill new Water Wise Container Gardens, which work best by far if light-weight vertical plant stalks, like freeze-killed cassava stalks, largely fill each container, before I begin adding the lasagna-layers of soil and soil formers in each....they seem to act as wicks and, when decayed, as soil aerators. I am expecting that here in Tampa I will get ample seed set this fall, but I gather it grows well in northern summers. The very fast growing plants could also give me non-commital, temporary shade along my garden path out back. I met a kenaf plant in the summer of 1998 at the New Orleans Botanic Gardens when I gave a talk to the New Orleans Old Roses Society, and it made a very positive impression on me. I had no idea at the time that I was just months away from buying my "old man house" here in Tampa so I could finally, after 15 years of homesickness being trapped in Denver by what is now called an "underwater" mortgage, escape a brutal climate and utterly hostile geography alien to me as a native Floridian. So I hope that in the summer of 2010 I get to experience kenaf in my gardens.
Both it, and its look-alike, Cannabis, hold very great promise as sources of paper (plus seed oil) far superior to standard monocultural pine plantations. John