To grow okra, you should plant it in full sun and keep it moist. Water it thoroughly in the morning and throughout the day. Thin the seedlings when they are three inches tall. It is also important to keep the plant away from unwanted pests and weeds. You can use a homemade pesticide to keep these pesky creatures at bay.
Plant okra in full sun
Okra is a popular vegetable that grows well in hot, humid conditions. It can be planted from seed or from transplants. Its leaves and stem are edible and used in traditional medicine. Okra is also an important ingredient in Louisiana Creole dishes. The edible pods are good for the body and are a good source of fiber.
To plant okra, choose a site in full sun with rich soil and a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. Okra doesn’t do well in a poorly-drained soil. It is a good idea to amend the soil with compost before planting. Once the seedlings are four inches tall, thin them.
You can extend the harvest season by starting okra seeds indoors. Keep in mind that okra seedlings are delicate, so make sure to transplant them gently into the ground. Okra is considered a drought-tolerant crop, but it produces more pods when given adequate water. It does not grow well in cooler soils.
Water okra seedlings
Okra seedlings are delicate and need plenty of water, especially during the early growing stages. Water them about one-half inch per week during the first month of their lives. You can also side-dress them with aged manure, rich compost, or balanced liquid fertilizer every few weeks. The key is to avoid over-fertilizing them, because too much nitrogen will discourage flowering and promote leafy growth. Lastly, thin the plants once they reach three inches, and space them at least 18 inches apart. Water them at least one inch per week and avoid high temperatures.
To harvest your okra, wait for the pods to grow about three inches. After three inches, they will be ready to pick. Harvest them before they become tough, or they will become inedible.
Protect okra from pests
One of the easiest ways to protect okra from pests when gardening is to spray it with neem oil. This non-toxic substance is very effective at killing aphids. However, it’s more expensive than other remedies. Another option is to attract ladybugs and bees that feed on aphids.
Nematodes are a serious problem for okra, and are best controlled through an effective nematode control program. A good nematode control program should include sanitation, crop rotation, and removing infected roots. For more information on controlling nematodes in your vegetable garden, refer to HGIC 2216. In addition, you should plan your crops so that okra is not planted in the same row as plants with susceptible nematodes.
Another option to protect okra from pests when gardening is to keep the bed mulched. This will discourage squirrels and chipmunks from destroying the okra plant. Lastly, don’t forget to fertilize your okra plants. Fertilize them periodically, not all at once. Use a slow-release fertilizer and water them often.
If you are growing okra for your gardening needs, you can store it in the freezer. However, you need to know how to store it properly. This vegetable prefers warm temperatures, especially nights that are in the 60s and days that are in the 80s. If you live in a cold climate, you may have to wait until late June to plant your okra. It will take about two months for the okra plants to mature and start producing pods.
Okra seed pods need to mature to be edible, so you need to harvest them once they are large enough. You can break the pods by hand or use pruning shears to split them. Once the pods are split, the seeds will fall out easily. The seeds need to be dry and kept in an airtight container. Store them in a dark, cool place. If you store them properly, you can use them for at least three years.
Okra seeds can be stored for four years, but the quality will degrade over time. It is important to collect fresh seeds each year to ensure that you will have fresh plants the following season. It is also important to use heirloom or open pollinated seeds when saving your seeds. Avoid hybrid seeds, as they may produce a different variety than the original seeds. This is because hybrid plants have been modified to have specific characteristics, like disease resistance.