How to Start Okra Seeds

Overview

Okra is a warm-season vegetable. It is both ornamental--as its large flowers resemble hibiscus--as well as being a food-producing plant. The green, immature seed pods are served whole or in slices. When sliced, okra resembles small stars. This gives them the ability to work as garnish as they float in soups or are sprinkled in side dishes. Okra is usually started from seed. As the seedlings don't transplant well, they should be planted directly in the garden bed after all danger of frost is past in spring.

Step 1

Lay a 2-inch layer of compost over the garden bed that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. Till the compost into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil with a power tiller or a hoe. Compost adds nutrients and helps the soil drain.

Step 2

Sow okra seed to a 1-inch depth, planting three seeds in each planting hole. Space the seeds 18 to 24 inches apart in rows, spacing the rows 2 feet apart.

Step 3

Mist the bed with water to keep the soil moist until germination. Mist daily if there is no rainfall or if the bed feels dry at a 3-inch depth when you stick your finger into it.

Step 4

Thin the seedlings once they germinate, usually within 14 days of planting. Pluck out the extra seedlings that sprouted at each planting hole, leaving the largest or healthiest looking plant. Leave the spacing between plants at 18 to 24 inches apart.

Tips and Warnings

  • Okra plants can grow over 5-feet tall. Do not plant them where they will shade other summer vegetables in the garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Power tiller or hoe
  • Seeds

References

  • University of Illinois Extension: Okra
  • University of Wisconsin: All About Okra
Keywords: starting okra seeds, growing okra, vegetables gardening

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.