Okra is a beautiful plant that produces edible pods and attracts pollinators and it’s easy to learn how to grow okra. Closely related to the hibiscus, okra is a warm-season garden vegetable that develops large yellow blooms followed by green seed pods. The pods are tender and can be used in several culinary applications.
Okra is a common garden vegetable in the southern part of the United States where it thrives in the heat of summer. The vegetable is gaining popularity in other parts of the world because the plants are easy to grow, produce all summer, look nice in the garden, feed pollinators, and taste delicious.
Plant and grow okra in your home garden this year with these tips.
Okra grows best in a full sun location but will produce well in a location that receives 8-hours of direct sunlight.
This is a warm-season vegetable and seeds will not germinate until the air temperature is consistently above 60F (15C).
Don’t rush planting seeds or seedlings too early in the spring, wait for soil and air to warm. Okra only needs 2-months to go from seeds to harvest time.
How To Plant Okra
It’s best to start from seeds since the seedlings have a fragile taproot that is easily damaged when transplanting.
Soak okra seeds in water for 24 hours before planting. The seeds have a hard outer shell and the soaking will soften the shell and the seeds will germinate faster.
Create shallow planting holes that are about 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) deep and 10-inches (25 cm) apart in prepared soil. Place 1 seed in each hole, cover lightly with soil and water thoroughly. Keep the soil moist until seeds sprout which will between 2-10 days.
Okra and a drought-tolerant, heat-loving, pest-resistant plant that requires minimal maintenance. After the seedlings are 4-inches (10 cm) tall, don’t water plants except during times of extended drought. Plants will reach a mature height of 3-6 feet (90 – 180 cm). Plants will continuously produce blooms and pods until frost.
Feed plants in mid-summer with a side-dressing of compost or your favorite organic plant food.
Okra pods are ready to harvest anytime after they reach 2-inches (5 cm) long. They do grow fast and become too hard to eat after they reach 8-inches (20 cm) or more.
Cut the pods off the stem with a sharp knife. Cut where the pod stem joins the plant stalk.
Okra plants have tiny hair-like protrusions that will cause itching to exposed skin. It’s harmless but annoying. Wear long sleeves and gloves when harvesting.