How to Plant Okra

Overview

Okra is grown for its immature seed pods. The seed pods are dried or used commonly in stews or soups. The okra plant will grow 3 to 5 feet high, and its flowers develop into long slender seed pods. Although the pods will reach 7 to 9-inches in length, they are best when harvested between 2 to 3 inches long. The okra is a warm weather plant.

Regions that Experience Frost

Step 1

Sow the seeds in peat pots, with two seeds per pot, ½-inch deep. Do this about a month before the night temperatures stay above 50 degrees.

Step 2

Water the peat pots thoroughly, and allow them to drain. Keep in a sunny window or hotbed.

Step 3

Remove the weakest of the two seedlings, in each pot, after they reach 1 inch tall.

Step 4

Plant the peat pots and their seeds in the garden when night temperatures reach 50 degrees or higher. Space the pots 18 inches apart, making a row. Space rows 3 feet apart.

Step 5

Fertilize when the seedlings are 8-12 inches high. Use 5 ounces of 5-10-5 fertilizer for every 10-foot row of okra. Spread the fertilizer by scattering it around the base of each plant.

In Frost-Free Regions

Step 1

Till the soil to a depth of 8-10 inches deep and amend soil if necessary. Okra prefers organic soil that is well-draining.

Step 2

Sow three or four seeds in one area, ½ inch deep. Space groupings 18 inches apart, making a row. Space rows 3 feet apart. Plant during the spring.

Step 3

Water thoroughly. Do not get it soggy.

Step 4

Cut off the weakest of the seedlings, in each grouping, after they reach 1 inch tall. Leave one hearty seedling per grouping.

Step 5

Fertilize when the seedlings are 8-12 inches high. Use 5 ounces of 5-10-5 fertilizer for every 10-foot row of okra. Spread the fertilizer by scattering around the base of each plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Okra seeds
  • Peat pots (optional)
  • Shovel
  • Fertilizer

References

  • "Vegetables and Fruits"; James Crockett; 1972
  • "Vegetable Gardening"; Clifford and Wilson; 1975
  • Iowa State University; Horticulture Home and Pest News; Okra; Tigon Harmison; 2006
Keywords: planting okra, gowing okra, okra gardening

About this Author

Ann Johnson was the editor of a community magazine in Southern California for more than 10 years and was an active real estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelors of Art degree in communications from California State University of Fullerton. Today she is a freelance writer and photographer, and part owner of an Arizona real estate company.