Growing Okra - Okra Flowers

Hey y'all, now that I'm a 'Southerner', I thought I should grow some Okra. I've never grown okra before (and really haven't eaten much (if any!) of it either), but I decided to give it a try and planted some okra seeds in the veggie garden earlier this year.

The okra seedlings were pretty slow to get going (I assume this was mostly due to all the crazy rain we've had). However, okra L-O-V-E-S hot weather and, after the heat spell we've been having here recently, it has started to grow like a weed.

Did you know that okra has really incredible flowers? 

Okra is a relative of hibiscus and it's flowers look a lot like the flowers of a hibiscus.  Had I known how beautiful it's flowers were, I would've started growing okra long ago! It really "pretty's up" the garden! Just look at that flower ... it's amazing!

Okra Flower

Growing Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)

Okra likes it hot -- preferring daytime temperatures at 85 degrees or more, so it's usually best to plant okra later in the season. You can direct sow okra (like I did), or you can transplant seedlings. If you go the seedling route though, be sure to handle those little babies with care -- okra has a very sensitive taproot that cannot be broken.

Otherwise, okra is easy to grow. It likes a pretty neutral soil pH (6.5 - 7.0) and may need a little extra water when small (especially if you are transplanting seedlings), but otherwise needs about an inch of water a week.

Okra gets pretty big -- many varieties can get to be 6 feet tall!  Right now, mine are about 2 1/2 feet tall and just starting to flower. It takes approximately 60 days from planting to get your first okra crop.

How to grow okra

I don't have anything near being ready to harvest yet, but apparently many varieties of okra are covered with tiny spines that can irritate your skin, so it's important to wear gloves and long sleeves when harvesting okra.

Once I get a crop, I'll let you know how spiny they are!

Jul 19 2013
Posted in: Vegetables

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