Learning Download: How to Grow Okra
Okra may not be a common vegetable found in a garden, but it makes for good canning and pickling. It also can be used in stews. Okra is a warm-weather plant often grown in southern climates. It has a taste similar to eggplant.
Before Planting: Soak the okra in water for 12 to 18 hours prior to planting to soften the outer shell of the seed. Plant okra in the spring or early summer after the danger of frost has passed. In northern climates, plant okra indoors four to six weeks prior to the last frost date. Since okra can reach 6 feet tall, plant it in an area of the garden where its shade won’t harm other plants’ growth.
Planting: For direct seeding, after frost danger, sow 2″ apart, 1/2″ deep when soil is warm – at least 70°F. Thin to 12-18″ apart. For transplanting, sow in 2″ pots, 2-3 seeds per pot, 1/4″ deep and thin to 1 plant when 2″ high. Start 4-5 weeks ahead of transplanting out after frost danger when soil is warm. Keep soil mix temp. 80-90°F for best germination rate. Transplant 12-18″ apart in rows 3′ apart. Do not disturb roots.
Watering: Water 1 inch per week.
Fertilizer: Prior to planting, mix a 10-10-10 fertilizer in with the soil. Once okra reaches 6 inches tall, give a side-dressing of fertilizer. Side-dress again two to three weeks later. Reapply the fertilizer every four to six weeks throughout its growing season.
Days to Maturity: Okra is ready two months after planting. Pods should be approximately 3 inches long when harvested. (See each variety for days to maturity)
Harvesting: Harvest promptly by clipping pods at 3-4″ long to keep plants productive. Oversized pods become tough and decrease overall yield of plant.
Tips: Wear gloves when harvesting, because okra has spines.
AVG. Direct Seeding Rate: 1 oz./78′, 13 oz./1,000′, 12 lb./acre at 6 seeds/ft. in rows 36″ apart.