Okra is an ornamental and edible plant. In many countries Okra is known as ‘Ladies Finger’ and ‘Gumbo”. It is an original exotic plant and associate of highly ornamental hibiscus family. Because of its beautiful blooms it make a decorative plant which reaches up to 3 to 5 feet tall. Okra is known for its high vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate content and also for harnessing a superior fiber which helps with digestion and stabilizes blood sugar.
Okra grows well exceptionally in Southern gardens as they prefer warm season and performs best in warmer climates. There are two varieties of okra, ‘Clemson Spineless’ and ‘Perkins Spineless’. Clemson Spineless grows up to 4 – 5 feet tall and it is a heavy yielder and ‘Perkins Spineless’ is a dwarf variety that reaches upto 2 1/2 to 3 feet high.
Grow Okra from seed indoor or outdoor it does well in rich, well-draining soil. Buy best quality seeds from your local nursery or from online store. Plant the seeds in an ordinary garden soil however it will do best in fertile loam. Okra is not particular about pH level but it grows best with pH 6.5 – 7.5. Okra usually do not grow well in heavy or soggy soils.
Okra loves full sun and it enjoys warmer weather so ensure you choose the right location to plant okra seeds where it could get full access of sunlight. Sow Okra seeds in rows giving at least 3 feet space apart.
Sow seed directly into the soil not less than 1/2 inch deep in light soil and 1 inch deep in heavy soil; spacing is 3 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart. Water your plants gently after planting the seeds into the soil.
As soon as the seeds start to germinate, thin out the baby plants upto a foot apart from each other leaving the best plants. Supply them basic nutrients when they start growing about two weeks. Ensure Okra plant get the maximum amount of nutrients in the least amount of time.
Edible pods will start appearing 50 to Sixty days after planting. Pick okra when they are 3 to four inches in size. In hotter season, examine your okra plants every second day for the new growths and harvest them quickly because this will encourage for more pods. Harvest the pods using a stem so that it won’t lose their gelatinous juice.
Don’t let the pod ripen on the stalk if you need your plant to produce more. Harvest the young pods because they are more nutritious and tender. Once the plant reduces the production, cut-off the highest to one third, so that it will grow side shoots to produce more crop.
Always Wear gardening gloves and long sleeves while handling okra plant since most of the majority types have tiny spines which will irritate your skin. Harvest your pods and put them in a freezer bags and keep them in freezer to save them for further use.