How to Harvest Okra


Okra is a green vegetable used in many dishes, especially in the southern states. It can be boiled or fried (sliced and battered, then fried in hot oil) and makes a mild side dish. Okra plants produce several pods, and continue growing pods throughout the growing season--if conditions are right and the gardener is lucky. It is these green, tapered pods that are the edible part of the plant. Harvesting okra is not difficult, but it can be time-consuming--especially if you have many okra plants.

Step 1

Put on garden gloves to protect your hands. Okra plants have little hairs/spines that can feel abrasive after a while.

Step 2

Look for okra pods that are at least 2-3 inches long. For pods that look a little two small, give it a gentle squeeze between thumb and forefinger. If it gives a little it should be ready. If it feels very hard still, give it a few more days to mature.

Step 3

Grasp the okra pod and pull it out horizontally from the plant. Locate where the okra pod connects to the stem and cut it off at the stem with pruning shears. Try to avoid nicking the stem while doing this.

Step 4

Place the harvested okra pods in a bucket. Check the rest of the plant for harvestable pods and then move on to the next plant.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not allow okra pods to get too large before harvesting, if possible. They have the best texture and taste when they are still just a few inches long. Large pods develop a stringy, woody texture that remains even after boiling. You should always wash vegetables before cooking--but if you use pesticides on your plants, wash okra especially well.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden gloves
  • Small pruning shears
  • Bucket


  • More About Okra
Keywords: Picking Okra, Harvesting Tips For Okra, How to Harvest Okra

About this Author

Corey M. Mackenzie has been a professional freelance writer for more than two decades. She received a B.A. with honors from Wichita State University. Corey specializes in writing about pets, interior decorating, health care, gardening, fashion, relationships, home improvement and forensic science. Corey's articles have appeared in Garden Guides, Travels and other websites.