This is a follow-up article from my earlier one How to grow Okra. In this article, I will give you some most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about growing okra. This is also a continuation of our FAQ series. If you haven’t seen that yet, I request you to see that too. Here is a link to the FAQ series. And for now, lets start with okra.
Most Commonly Asked Questions About Growing Okra
When can I grow okra?
Start planting okra seeds indoors in soilless media 3 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost date. You can also do the same in your garden as long as you cover the plants with a cold frame until the weather warms up.
Why do my okra pods have prickly hairs on them?
This is natural. There is nothing wrong with your pods. Just while harvesting, use a pair of good gardening gloves to be on the safe side.
Do all okra varieties have spines?
No some okra varieties such as Clemson Spineless are without any spines.
Why doesn’t my seed germinate even after soaking?
This is probably due to the fact that you seeds are too old. Okras seeds don’t have a good reputation of keeping well. The best seeds are the fresh ones. If you buy seeds, buy them every season. Also, you can save the seeds yourself by allowing a few pods to fully mature.
What is ornamental okra?
If you don’t want to raise the vegetable for eating, you can still grow okras for ornamental purposes. They have big, hibiscus-like blooms that definitely attract eyes. The delicate, almost otherworldly flowers, last only a single day. They appear from early summer until the first frost.
All okra plants are ornamental, but certain varieties are showier than others. Here are some of the most popular ones.
Can I grow okra in pots?
Yes, you can. Technically you can grow any variety, but for the sake of convenience, use the dwarf ones.
Do I need to provide a support for my okra plants?
No support is needed for okra, the plants are generally bushy.
Why doesn’t my okra bear any fruit?
Sometimes living in an extreme condition (too hot or too cold) can cause okra from fruiting. It can also be due to the poor soil fertility or drainage.
Why is my okra going yellow?
Yellowing of leaves sometimes indicate problems that gardeners can easily solve. but other times it needs long-term solutions. The solution can be as simple as adding some compost filled with nitrogen. Or it can be a complicated one such as crop rotation.
Why Are My Okra Plants Wilting?
There are many reasons for the wilt one of them is temperature. Here is an article you can read about okra wilting
Why are my okra pods tough and stringy?
The pods have become too old. Pick when pods are about 2 inches long. Check out how to harvest okra for more information.
Should I remove the old okra pods?
Yes. Once the okra pods matured they will become tough. These tough pods will soak up your plant’s sap that would otherwise have gone to the young pods. This also results in lesser okra yield.
So unless you are planning to save seeds, you should remove over matured pods. These pods don’t taste well so the best thing to do would be to compost them.
What is the ideal crop rotation for okra?
Okra can be a very nutrient hungry plant. so it is a good idea to follow it up with a nitrogen-fixing plant (peas and beans). This returns the most amount of nitrogen to the soil. Check out our earlier post on crop rotation guide to get a clearer idea.
How to save okra seeds?
When the okra pods turn brown and begin to split at the seams, harvest them and take out the seeds from the pods. Dry them thoroughly for several days. Then store in a cool, dry place in tightly closed containers until next season.