HOW TO GROW OKRA FROM SEED OUTDOORS





Often referred to as lady's fingers, okra is popular vegetable in the south of India (where it is mostly used in dry curries) and the southern states of America (where it is used in a variety of recipes including gumbos). Relatively unknown in Northern Europe the okra is a long green pod with a ribbed and slightly fuzzy skin. The inside of an okra pod has a somewhat gooey texture and is full of edible, creamy seeds. When cooking, okra exudes a glutinous juice which thickens stews and braised dishes.

Although the typical northern European climate is far cooler that the okra plant’s native habitat, you will find that they can will produce a viable crop outside. If you have the space, then it is worth giving them an early start by sowing them indoors.

This way you can make the most of the growing season otherwise okra seeds can be outside directly into prepared seed beds - but only when the threat of frosts have past.

However you may still need to wait as Okra seed need warm weather to grow and should not be planted until outside temperatures are reliably around 18 degrees Celsius or the seeds may not germinate at all.

To make the most of an Okra crop you will need to try and mimic their natural habitat as much as possible and this means a well drained and sheltered position with plenty of sun.

They will also require plenty of water over the growing period so mulch and fertilize the soil throughout the summer in order to maintain a good level of nutrients within the soil.


Sow Okra seeds 4 inches apart into rows that are at least two feet apart. Place each seed in to the ground at about ½ inch deep then gently water gently in.

Once the seeds have begun to germinate they can be thinned out to about a foot between plants, but remember to try and leave the strongest plants in place.

Harvest okra as the plant begins to produce the seed pods, these should be about three to four inches in length when ripe.

Check your okra plants every other day for new fruit and harvest them quickly as this will encourage the plant to grow more pods.

It takes about 50 days for an okra plant to reach maturity.

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3 comments:

Melanie said...

interesting, I suppose I could start it indoors and finish it off in my greenhouse, if I wanted to give up space from the tomatoes and hot peppers I usually grow in there.

Gail (www.yardflower.com) said...

Yum - your post is making me hungry. I am from the Southeast U.S. and was raised on okra. Around here people pronounce it oak-ree. My new favorite way to cook it is to use fairly small pods and mircrowave it until just fork tender. Season with salt & pepper and toss with a little melted butter and lemon juice. Very simple and good.

Mom2RoyalMKT said...

I am from the Philippines and also was raised on okra. Okra was one of the edible plants raised by my parents. We cook okra in a lot of ways, but the simplest is to wash it real well and put on top of steamed white rice just after the rice boils and there is very little water left. As soon as the rice is done, so is the okra. Season it anyway you want. Filipinos dip it in spicy vinegar with a dash of salt or fish sauce or shrimp paste or soy sauce. Yummy!