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How to Grow Okra From Seeds

okra image by cherie from

Okra is a common ingredient in Cajun foods and makes a tasty side dish, whether boiled, steamed or fried. You can plant okra directly from seed in your garden. For the most abundant crop, plant more than you think you will need. A few plants won’t produce much okra at a time, so if you are feeding a family, plant several rows. You can always freeze okra, so none should go to waste.

Wait to plant okra seeds until the soil has warmed and the threat of a frost has completely passed. The Southern States website advises to wait until soil is 65 degrees F so the seeds will not rot.

Use a hand spade to collect a soil sample from your garden. Take this sample in to a county extension office (or nursery--some offer soil testing) to see if you need to add fertilizer to your soil. Tell them you are planting okra.

Place your okra seeds in a glass of water and leave it overnight. According to North Carolina State University, this promotes faster germination.

Apply fertilizer, or other soil additions (such as sand) to the area if your extension office or nursery advised this. Work it down 5 to 6 inches into the soil with a tiller or a hoe. When you’ve applied the fertilizer, if necessary, or otherwise broken up the soil, use a garden rake to smooth it out.

Poke shallow holes for the okra seeds with the end of a pencil. Space the holes in a row 15 inches apart, and space your rows 36 to 42 inches apart, advises North Carolina State University. Place at least three seeds per hole, in case some do not germinate.

Gently rake 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil over the seeds. Water the area gently with a sprinkler. Keep the seeds moist until the plants emerge, and then water every three days or more often if the plants droop. Southern States recommends giving okra a deep watering at least once a week.


According to Southern States, okra will be ready for harvest in 50 to 65 days.

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