Q:

How do you plant okra?

A:

Quick Answer

Plant okra when soil temperatures reach 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Space the seeds about 18 inches apart and 1-inch deep in a location that provides full sun. For a short growing season, consider planting the seed in peat pots three to four weeks before the final frost.

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Full Answer

Breaking the fragile taproot of an okra plant kills the plant. With biodegradable pots, the gardener is able to transplant them to the garden without disturbing this root. While okra is drought resistant, providing about an inch of water weekly encourages better growth and production. Waiting about a week before mulching allows the soil to absorb the warmth from the sun, giving the young plants a better start.

The first harvest of okra occurs 50 to 60 days after planting. The seedpods become tough when mature, so most growers harvest them when they are finger length. When the temperatures are warm, the pods mature rapidly. Picking the crop frequently encourages more flowering and pods, allowing the grower to continue harvesting until frost kills the plant.

Okra is a tropical plant that was imported to the United States from Africa in the 1600s. Okra seedpods are popular for use in soups, stews and as a side dish. It is the thickening agent cooks use in gumbo. While popular in regions with longer growing seasons, the plant does well in any climate where corn grows.

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