Okra is a vegetable that keeps on giving all summer long. When you harvest a pod, another grows in its place. It’s related to the hibiscus plant, and produces similarly beautiful flowers. Okra grows best in hot climates, but even if you live in a Northern region, you can grow okra by starting it from seed indoors and transplanting when the weather warms up. See Step 1 to learn more about how to grow okra.

Information to help the growth of okra

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Determine how to start your seeds. If you live in a place with hot summers and mild winters, it’s easiest to plant okra in your garden patch, rather than starting it indoors. You’ll want to plant the okra seeds in early spring, after the last frost of the year, when the temperature doesn’t dip below 55 degrees at night. If that doesn’t happen until late spring or early summer where you live, then it’s better to start your seeds indoors 2-3 weeks before the last frost. When the seedlings are sturdy and the weather warms up, you’ll transplant them to your garden patch. Choose the sunniest spot in your garden. Okra grows best in full, hot sun. If you try to grow it in a shady spot, it won’t produce much fruit, if it lives at all. Okra should be planted in a location that gets at least 6 hours of full sun every day. Don’t worry that it’ll get too hot – okra really gets going at summer’s peak, when the sun beats down on the garden at its hottest.

Planting

1) You can start okra seeds indoors in peat pots under full light 3 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost date.
2) You can also start okra directly in your garden 3 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost date as long as you cover the plants with a cold frame or grow tunnel until the weather warms up. Make sure that the covering is 2 to 3 feet tall so that the plants have room to grow.
3) If you do not start your okra plants early, wait until there is stable warm weather. You can plant okra in the garden when the soil has warmed to 65° to 70°F.
4) Plant okra in fertile, well-drained soil in full light about 1/2 to 1 inch deep and 12 to 18 inches apart. You can soak the seeds overnight in tepid water to help speed up germination.
5) If you are planting okra transplants, be sure to space them 1 to 2 feet apart to give them ample room to grow.
6) Okra plants are tall, so be sure to space out the rows 3 to 4 feet apart.

Harvest

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Harvest the pods when they are 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 7.6 cm) long.
Harvest the okra every other day, and every day during the peak of the season, to encourage fast regrowth.
You might want to wear gloves and long sleeves when you harvest the okra. The leaves and pods are covered with spines that can irritate the skin

 

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