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Growing Okra For A
Long Harvest Season.

Photo of growing okra Star Of David Okra plants starting to produce

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Growing Okra

Okra is in the same family as cotton, hollyhocks and hibiscus. The stunning beauty of the hibiscus like flowers of okra gives this crop the added appeal in the garden as an ornamental.

Photo of okra flower

Photo Right - You have to be quick to admire the stunning flowers of okra. Each flower will unfold, bloom and fad in less than a day, however due to the prolific nature of the okra plant in forming pods the dazzling flower display continues over a long season.
Mouse over image to enlarge.

Okra pods are usually light green in color but you will find some varieties with different shades of green, creamy white and red. Mature pods of the different varieties can vary in size from a few inches to over a foot in length with plant heights that range from 3 feet (94 cm) to 10 feet (3 m.)

Photo of growing okra star of david pod
Photo of growing okra burgandy pod

Photo One - Star of david okra pods. These green, short, stocky pods are best eaten when 3-4 inches (7-10 cm) long, although they will grow much bigger they become very tough and really in-edible.
Mouse over image to enlarge.

Photo Two - Burgandy okra. Burgandy okra pods are hard to pick out, from a distance, amoungst the burgandy foliage around it. They are best picked when 3-6 inches (7-15 cm) long.
Mouse over image to enlarge.

Growing okra matures very quickly and should be harvested while it is still young and tender, daily picking during the peak of the growing season is advised as the pods quickly become tough and not so delicious. Like tomatoes, a properly care for crop of okra will continue to grow and produce fruit until it is killed by frost.

Quick Reference Guide

Veggie Garden Dairy
Vegetable Okra
Also Known As Gumbo, Lady’s fingers
Botanical Family - Malvaceae, Genus - Abelmoschus, Species - A. esculentus
Plant Type Warm season - annual - podding vegetable
Frost Tolerance Tender
Planting Position Grow in full sun - Requires at least 8-10 hours of direct sunlight daily - drought tolerant
Seed Viability 2 years
Germination 8-12 days at 60-90 F (16-32 C)
Growing Temp 70-95 F (21-35 C)
Seed to Transplant Direct sow
Planting Method Direct sow
When to Plant Spring
Time to Plant Wait until at least 1-2 weeks after the last average 32 F (0 C) freeze in your area but not before soil temperature are consistently 60 F (16 C) or above.
Seed Sowing Direct sowing okra seeds - 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) apart in rows 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart
Plant Spacing Direct sow seeds only - thin seedlings to 5-6 inches (12-15 cm) apart in rows 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart
Soil Conditions Well drained - Moderate to high organic matter - Medium fertility
Fertilizer Medium fertilizer needs, 3-4 quarts per 100 sq feet (3.3-4.4 liters per 9.3 square meters) preplanting of All-Purpose 5-5-5 Organic Fertilizer icon, same rate for each side dressing.
When to Fertilize 2 week before sowing - side-dress after the 1st pods have set - repeat every 6-8 weeks until the 4 weeks before expected 1st fall frost
Days to Harvest 50-80 days - depending on conditions and variety

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