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How to Grow Okra for a Bountiful Harvest Throughout the Year

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My garden is my therapist. It heals me as I watch it grow. It teaches me patience and that all things are lifeward.

A batch of freshly picked okra!

A batch of freshly picked okra!

How and Why to Grow Okra

With a little patience and planning, you can enjoy fresh okra all year round! You can start any time of the year in warm climates.

Once your plants have grown up, follow-up with additional planting every few months—okra grows and ripens very quickly. When they are fruiting, you should check on them every day, otherwise they will become ‘woody.' So try not to wait too long before picking those pods off of young plants.

When growing okra in your garden, you'll need to take into account that it's a perennial plant. This means the same type of fruits will continue coming every year without needing replanting!

If growing outside in warmer climates where winters aren't too harsh, then overwintering isn’t required. If you’re living somewhere with longer cold periods during the winter and early spring, however, you should overwinter your plants—either by bringing them inside or by protecting the plant from the elements in its place outside.

Seeds and Seedlings

No matter what climate you live in, okra likes it hot. Soil temperatures should be at least 65°F before you plant. If the soil is too cool, the okra seeds will rot before they germinate.

They say one way to make sure your soil is warm enough is to use black plastic or landscape fabric to cover the planting area a few weeks in advance to planting, but that seems a lot of extra work. If I was in a cold climate, I would just start them in small pots inside by a window!

When you're ready to plant (or transplant!), make sure to choose a sunny spot in your garden. Okra loves the sun and needs at least six hours of direct sunlight each day to produce well.

You can plant okra directly in the ground or in pots. If you live in an area with a long growing season, you can sow seeds directly in the garden after the last frost date. If you're starting your okra indoors, wait until the plants are 12–18 inches tall before transplanting them outdoors.

Note: Amend your soil with compost or another organic matter before planting to help improve drainage and add nutrients.

Clemson Spineless Okra Information

Here are the details of the okra that you will grow from the seeds in the packet linked above. These are great because they work in all grow zones! So no matter where you live, the Clemson Spineless is a great type of okra to start with.

Details

  • Name: Clemson Spineless Okra
  • Type: Heirloom
  • Size at Maturity: 3" Green Pods
  • Days to Maturity: 60 Days
  • Light Requirement: Full Sun
  • Planting Time: Warm Season
  • Planting Depth: 1/4"
  • Plant Spacing: 12"
  • Hardiness Zones: All

Directions

To plant, make a small hole in the soil with your finger and drop in one seed. Gently cover with soil and pat down lightly. Water well. Repeat this process, spacing plants 12–18 inches apart in rows that are 3–4 feet apart. If you're planting in pots, choose containers that are at least 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep.

Water your okra plants regularly, especially during hot, dry weather. Keep the soil moist but not soggy to prevent root rot.

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Fertilize your okra plants every two to three weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer or compost tea.

Harvest okra when the pods are 2–4 inches long and still tender. If you wait too long, the pods will be tough and woody. You can harvest okra up to two times a day during peak season. To pick them, cut the stem with a sharp knife or snip with pruning shears.

Once you've harvested your okra, you can eat it fresh, pickled, or cooked. Okra is a great addition to soups, stews, and curries. It can also be battered, fried, pickled, sautéed, or roasted like other vegetables. It really is a versatile food.

Okra does best when it's kept moist, so be sure to water your plants regularly.

Okra does best when it's kept moist, so be sure to water your plants regularly.

Further Care Instructions for Okra

Okra does best when it's kept moist, so be sure to water your plants regularly.

Within a few weeks, you should start to see new okra pods forming on the plants. You can begin harvesting these pods when they're about 3–4 inches long. Just cut them off the plant with a sharp knife and enjoy!

If you live in a region with a long growing season, you can plant another crop of okra in late summer or early fall. This will ensure that you have a fresh supply of okra all year long!

Preserving and Eating Your Okra

If you're looking for a tasty way to preserve your okra, pickling is a great option. Pickled okra can last for several months in the fridge and makes a great addition to any meal. To pickle okra, simply cut it into pieces and add it to a jar with vinegar, water, and your favorite spices. Let it sit for at least a week before enjoying.

If you want to try something different with your okra, why not roast it? Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetable and makes it a great addition to any meal.

To roast okra, simply cut it into pieces and toss it with a little olive oil. Then spread it on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes.

Sautéing is another great way to cook okra. Sautéed okra is a delicious side dish or addition to any meal. To sauté okra, simply heat up some oil in a pan and then add the okra. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's tender. Then add your favorite seasonings and enjoy!

No matter how you choose to enjoy it, okra is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that's easy to grow at home.

What's your favorite way to enjoy okra? Let us know in the comments below!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 apStumbo

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