You know growing okra is not something I do. Mike says in his article below many people don't grow it because they don't eat it.... Uhm that would be me!
EDIT TO ADD: Call me crazy but since I posted this article, I've discovered new ways to eat Okra! Namely a certain THM Smoothie. :)
Though I'd love to try pickled okra! And maybe Mike is right... growing it yourself makes a tastier dish.
This is a guest post by Mike of Average Person Gardening
Mike has some great tips!
Okra is one of those vegetables that most home vegetable
gardeners look past when planning their gardens. Most of the time it is because they, us home
vegetable gardeners, say they don’t eat it.
While that may be true, okra, like many other vegetables you grow in
your home garden, tastes so much better than what you will buy in the store.
Okra is part of the Malvaceae, or mallows, family which contains an approximate 243 genera with 4225+ species including hibiscus and cotton. High in fiber and vitamin C, not only is okra a great health choice, it is also easy to grow at home, if you have a little space and some sun.
Young Red Burgundy okra seedlings
just starting out.
The same Red Burgandy Okra when grown.
Okra is a perfect candidate to start indoors from seeds. I recommend that you start your seeds no
earlier than six weeks prior to the last frost date in your area. Any sooner and you are going to have some
large okra plants sitting in your living room.
Use a good potting soil to plant your seeds in or expandable peat pods
work great also.
As is the case with any vegetable that you start indoors, you
need a good light source. You can pick
these up at any home center. They are
fairly inexpensive to not only buy, but operate. Set your light source about 2 inches above
your seed starting tray and keep it at that height above your okra plants as
they continue to grow.
Your Okra plants will need at least 8 hours of light each day, and an automatic timer works best for this application. You can get a real good one for as little as $6 from a hardware store or home center.
GREAT IN SUCCESSION
Okra is a perfect candidate to follow peas since peas are considered a nitrogen-fixing crop. That is, a crop that produces nitrogen compounds to help plants grow. Also, peas grow early and are finished by the time Okra is ready to be planted, in most cases. This gives you a soil with nitrogen rich compounds and space to plant them in.
Once your okra plants are about six inches tall, put a good
mulch around the base. Two to three
inches deep of pine straw or pine needles, although other mulches will work
just as well, should suffice. This is
going to help you conserve moisture, and aids in reducing the amount of weeds
that will pop up around the base.
DON’T FORGET TO FEED
All vegetables need to be fed every couple of weeks and okra is no different. Fish emulsion or compost tea make for a great organic solution when it comes to feeding your okra plants. You should feed your okra plants weekly with compost tea and bi-weekly if you are going to use fish emulsion.
When the okra pods are about the length of your finger they
are ready to be harvested. Be sure to
use a knife or scissors to cut them off from the plant. You could potentially damage your okra plant
if you try to pull them off.