Home Garden How To Grow Okra In Your Veggie Garden This Year

How To Grow Okra In Your Veggie Garden This Year

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Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), native to Africa and related to hibiscus, arrived in North America in the 1600s. This edible green seed pods quickly became popular in the Deep South as both a side dish and a thickening for gumbo and stews.

As a crop, oka thrives in any climate where corn will grow. The large-flowered, fast-growing plants reach 2 to 6 feet tall depending on the cultivar. Varieties with colorful stems and leaves, such as Burgundy, also make attractive garden borders.

Planting

Okra needs full sun. It will grow in ordinary garden soil but does best in fertile loam, particularly where a nitrogen-fixing crop — such as early peas — grew previously.

In the South, plant the first crop in the early spring and a second crop in June. In short-season areas, start plants indoors six weeks before setting them out (three to four weeks after the last frost date). Sow two seeds per peat pot and clip off the weaker seedling.

When seeding okra directly in the ground, wait until after the soil has warmed and the air temperature reaches at least 60 degrees. Use fresh seed soaked overnight or nick each seed coat with a file to encourage germination.

Sow the seeds 1/2 inch deep in light soil and 1 inch deep in heavy soil; spacing is 3 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart. Thin seedlings to 18 to 24 inches apart, always choosing the strongest of the young plants.

Read more: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/gardening/a20705684/growing-okra/

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