This page provides written and visual instructions on How to Grow Okra. We are using the Millionaire Okra variety for its model.
The Millionaire Hybrid is a new variety and is widely adapted and early maturing. It produces medium large, sturdy plants that yield large quantities of dark green pods. Harvest them promptly, when pods are three to four inches long, as over-sized pods become tough.
The large flowers are also edible and may be stuffed or used as a garnish.
The Millionaire is an annual variety that does not tolerate any cold.
Days to Maturity: 50
FOR TRANSPLANTING: Sow in 2" pots or plug trays, 3 seeds per pot/cell, 1/4" deep, in late April or 4-5 weeks ahead of transplanting out after frost danger when soil is warm.
Keep soil mix temp. 80-90°F for fast germination. Thin with scissors to one plant per pot/cell. Transplant 12" apart in rows 2-3' apart. Do not disturb roots.
DIRECT SEEDING: 2" apart, 1/2" deep in early June or when soil is warm (at least 70°F) after frost danger. Thin to 6" apart.
HARVEST: Clip small 3-4" pods regularly to keep plants productive.
How to Grow Okra is something I never thought I would be talking about. I hate boiled okra with its slimy feel and taste, but I loved it fried. But the word okra brings back unpleasant memories of working out in the hot, hot Texas sun picking them.
I have not grown okra in my garden due to these fond memories, but for this website we will plant some in the Spring of 2010 and follow its growth.
Okra is a tall-growing, warm-season, annual vegetable that is a native to Texas. That is probably why they grow so well in the Texas heat when so many other plants stop producing. The pods are used for soups, canning and stews some commonly called gumbo. Okra pods can be boiled or my favorite fried. Okra is one vegetable that you should not try to eat without cook. It has a tough skin.
When talking about how to grow Okra, we need to keep in mind that the okra seeds do not germinate well in cool soils so plant the seeds once the soil is warm somewhere around 70 degrees.
Choose a site that gets full sun and where the mature plants won't shade shorter crops since okra can grow as tall as six feet. It does well in any pH from 6.0 to 8.0 but needs light. This is one of its characteristics that make it a good Texas native.
Okra does not like cool. It likes it hot, very hot. Seeds should be sown 1 inch deep, in hills 12 to 24 inches apart. When the seedlings are 3 inches tall, thin all but the one strongest plant per hill. It is important to thin to one plant since trying to grow more than one plant per hill will cause all the plants in the hill to have stunted growth.
Okra pods should be cut off at the steam while they are tender and immature usually 2 to 3 inches long. It is recommended that they be harvested every other day which is generally what I do for my entire garden. They will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks.
One of the things I hated about the Okra plants is the short hairs they have. This is a self defense mechanisms that was meant to keep animals from eating them. These hairs may irritate bare skin. Wear gloves and long sleeves to harvest okra. I usually wear long sleeves anyway when working in the garden.
Have fun with us in the Spring learning how to grow okra.
Below are a couple of pictures of the Millionaire Okra.
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