Summer Crops: How to Grow Okra

Okra enjoys the warmth. It grows best when daytime temperatures reach 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius) and night temperatures do not drop below 60 (15.5). It can manage humidity making it a favorite in the South. It provides height to a generally non-toxic vegetable patch, reaching 6 feet tall, and is 3 ft wide. It’s delicate white or yellow blossoms, a few with a pinkish tinge, and long pods of green, yellow or red.

Note: The “spineless” okra pods have spines that can prick or scratch should you get near them, and they can also cause itching.

When to plant: when the soil is hot and the danger of frost has passed; begin indoors in Case You Have a short growing season

Days to maturity: 50 to 65

moderate requirement: Entire sun

Water necessity: Routine, though it can manage some drought

Favorites: Annie Oakley, Burgundy, Cajun Delight, Clemson Spineless, Dwarf Green Long Pod, Emerald, Heirloom Red, Hill Country Red, Millionaire, North-South, Red Burgandy, Silver Queen, White Velvet

Planting and maintenance: Pick a bright and warm website with neutral, well-drained dirt; add fertilizer to the soil before planting when needed.

You can either start seeds early or wait to plant once you have warm weather. Start seeds indoors per month to six weeks before the outside planting or planting date (see below) in fresh or peat pots. Many experts recommend soaking the seeds prior to planting for germination. Look for unusual seeds in specialty catalogs, for example Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Seed Savers Exchange.

Sow seeds outdoors once all the danger of frost has passed, night temperatures have reached 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) and the soil temperature has reached 70 (21). Sow seeds 1 inch deep and about 6 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart; lean to 18 inches apart when seedlings appear. Dwarf varieties of okra is going to do in a big container.

Transplant seedlings now too. Okra roots are delicate, therefore transplant attentively. Remove the bottoms and then open the faces of the pots, and set the seedlings 18 inches apart and just under the soil surface. Keep the dirt most while the seeds are germinating, then enable the soil to dry out slightly. Wait until the soil is consistently warm.

Okra isn’t normally bothered by many pests. Based upon your location, you might have issues with aphids, cabbage worms, flea beetles (row covers might help with them), mites or whiteflies. Don’t worry about rodents; they aid in pollination.

Verticillium wilt and fusarium wilt are able to keep fruit from forming; Move crops if these diseases or nematodes are a problem in your area. Blossom blight might be an issue in areas with higher humidity.

Harvest: Fruit starts forming soon after blossoms appear. Although the pods can reach up to a foot in length, select them when they are 2 to 4 inches long to get the best taste. Pods should snap, but wear gloves and protection in your arms, and use scissors or pruners to harvest. Pick okra develops.

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