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June 16, 2011

Grow okra in your summer garden

Okra is one of the most prolific and heat resistant plants. You can grow okra with minimal effort but it will reward you with outstanding yields of okra pods that can be eaten fried, baked, or in soups and gumbos.

Okra seeds are quite large and easy to sow. You can sow them directly in the garden, about a foot apart, or start them in containers, I use styrofoam cups for that purpose, and then set okra seedlings into the garden when they are a few inches tall. If seeded directly into the garden, seeds need to be watered daily, or as needed so that the soil remains moist at all times.

Okra grows pretty fast and needs daily watering until it's established, or about three weeks old. Beyond that, if there is no rain, you should water okra twice weekly, but thoroughly, so that roots can follow the water into the deeper soil.

Here's okra, a month old:

It already has some young pods on it:

Pods should be picked when they are three to four inches long so that they are tender and not woody. Pick okra often and don't let the pods to grow large and tough. At the end of the season, however, let a few pods from different plants to grow and dry on the plant, so that you could have the seeds for the next summer.

Okra can be planted anytime from late March through August. So, if you don't have any okra in your garden, it is not too late to start seeds now. Grow some okra in your garden, and it will reward you with beauty and abundant vitamin and mineral packed crop.


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