Okra, which are known botanically as Abelmoschus Esculentus, are a type of vegetable that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing okra as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.
Best Time to Plant Okra
This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the okra seeds spring 2 to 3 weeks after all danger of frost has passed. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.
To check when okra are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.
How to Plant Okra the Right Way
There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing okra in your home garden.
Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your okra grow. Generally, your soil should be loams and sandy loams . Soil PH levels should be around 6.0 to 6.8.
3′ apart in rows. 18″ apart in rows, keeping rows approximately 3′ apart. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about .25″. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.
Begin thinning your okra seedlings one plant every 18″ when the seedlings are 2″ tall.
How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Okra
The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your okra. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it.
Ideally, your okra should be getting full sun, which means as much sunlight as you can possibly give it, or at least 6 hours or more.
How Much to Water Okra
As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your okra do, and the amount of water is no different.
Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your okra begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.
Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.
How Long Does it Take Okra to Germinate and Grow?
Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your okra grow.
It takes approximately 12-14 days to germinate, and a total of 58 days from seed to harvest.
When to Harvest Okra
The best time to harvest your okra is when seed pods are 1 to 2 days old and 2 to 4 inches long.
Okra can grow up to about 2 to 3 inches.
What Can Okra Be Used For?
Food Use: Used in soups, stews, gumbos, and Cajun dishes.
Flavor Profile: Smooth, tender, and delicious!
Can Okra Grow in Pots and Containers?
Yes, you will ideally need a 12″+ containerfor each plant. This can help control weeds and keep your plant from growing out of control.
It also gives you the flexibility to move your okra around if you need to adjust sunlight or bring it indoors to avoid harsh weather conditions.
Are Okra Safe for Bees?
Yes, okra are safe for bees.
According to GreenPeace.org, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition.
Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, I feel it is important to note that growing okra is bee-friendly.