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Growing Okra, also Ladyfinger, gumbo

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

Not recommended for growing in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions

  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 68°F and 95°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 14 - 24 inches apart
  • Harvest in 11-14 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Peppers (Capsicum, Chili), Eggplant (Aubergine)
  • Okra on flowering plant
    Okra on flowering plant

In warm districts okra can be sown in garden beds. Raise seedlings in a similar way to capsicums - warmth is essential. Pick pods within a week of flowers opening - at about 5 - 8 cm long. Pods become tough and inedible if left too long.

Pods have a high gum content so do not appeal to everyone.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Okra

Use pods fresh or dried in soups or casseroles or as a boiled vegetable.

Your comments and tips

05 Nov 08, Sina (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Okra should germinate in 10-21 days at 20C, so you shouldnt need to use black plastic. Soaking the seeds in lukewarm water for at least two hours will definately help. In a temperate zone it is definatly worth growing in tubs as warmth is necessary especially at night at all times, but if you get up to 40C, a sheltered spot will do. well watered and a foliar mist and a couple of liquid feeds will keep them happy. Usually start to crop in 52 days
01 Feb 12, Silversurfer (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I had great success planting early crop of Okra in 2011. I use the Burgundy Okra which is somewhat cold tolerant (Eden Seeds). I soaked seeds in warm water for 2 hours and heated up the ground or seed tray prior to planting (clear plastic) and maintained greenhouse conditions with a portable cover (very easy low cost cover) = significant increase in propagation. I cropped and ate these for 2 months and followed up by planting green Star of David Okra. Same method produced great propagation results BUT I have a problem with these at harvest. I'm hoping someone has an answer. The Star of David sprouted the fattest Okra Ive ever seen. I thought Id managed to grow giant Okra yet no matter how short I picked them they remained too hard to eat - huge unusable crop - I only collected seeds. U guys got any answers? I will plant a late summer crop of Burgundy Okra that can survive longest into winter. Combining the use of cold tolerant and green Okra I hope to crop for 8 months a year.
30 Nov 12, Dennis patuwairua (New Zealand - temperate climate)
where can I purchase okra plants in New Zealand
23 Dec 12, Lee (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Usually I find plants at local markets, otherwise have to start from seed. Yates, Kings and Egmont have okra seeds of various types. The last lot of plants I bought were from a grower in Rama Rama, which is considerably further south than here, but much flatter and further from the sea so their climate can be quite dry and hot. I've never seen okra sold as plants or seedlings at generic garden centres. This may be because I live in urban Auckland and the weather is borderline for growing okra - first sign of coldness and they halt and sometimes never start growing again. Humid conditions can also attract powdery mildew here.

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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