annastasia76
Senior Member
Posts: 223
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:59 pm
Location: Southern Ca

okra

I am planning on planting some okra this year for the first time. I have no clue as to how many plants I would need. How much does each plant produce. I know that it gets really tall, so that will limit where I can put it, are there any tip to growing and harvesting it??
Annastasia

gumbo2176
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3065
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:01 am
Location: New Orleans

Okra is one of the things I must have each summer. I plant my seeds in the spring and harvest okra for much of the summer. I direct sow the seeds and thin to about 1 ft. apart. That is more than enough space in the row for them to grow. I generally have about 15 ft. of 2 rows of my garden used for okra with about 3 ft. between rows.

Okra does get very tall (well over 8 ft.) by seasons end but if you want, you can cut/top the main stem and it will still produce quite well. Some folks cut the main stem at 6 ft and this makes for some side stems to emerge. Okra makes a very large flower and it quickly develops into the pod that is used for cooking. I generally let mine get to 4-5 inches long for a nice tender pod. It doesn't take long for okra to get too big and the pod to get very hard making it not good for much except letting it go to seed late in the season.

My okra plants, when in full gear, will give me 30 or more pods a day. I have lots of uses for okra but will not go into them now. If you decide to grow some and need some ideas for use, PM me.

gumbo2176
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3065
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:01 am
Location: New Orleans

Forgot to mention that I plant a variety called Clemson Spineless. Also, okra tolerates heat and dry conditions very well. That is why it is popular in the deep south for summer gardeners.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27653
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

No, no -- please start an Okra recipes thread in the Recipes Forum :()

I'm going to try growing Alabama Red and Clemson Spineless this year. 8)
Only space -- not to mention the shadeless hot and dry conditions as you said gumbo -- I have for them is in the front yard. My neighbors are going to love me. :lol:

gumbo2176
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3065
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:01 am
Location: New Orleans

Can, and will do Applestar. I'll do this sometime this weekend since my brother-in-law's mother is turning 90 tonight and we have a party planned in her honor. She is an amazing woman. At her age, she doesn't need glasses, doesn't need any medications, still drives daily, participates in her church choir, takes care of her 63 yr. old daughter with Parkinson's and finds time for community service. I'm in awe.

annastasia76
Senior Member
Posts: 223
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:59 pm
Location: Southern Ca

thank you, I planted 6 seeds of Clemson Spineless today, it may be too cold right now for them to sprout though.
Annastasia

DeborahL
Green Thumb
Posts: 543
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:40 am
Location: Coastal Southern California

Gumbo, please give that neat lady a hug from California !
God must think highly of animals - He created them before creating us !

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27653
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Arrggh!! I thought I ordered Clemson Spineless seeds too, but it seems I only ordered the Alabama Red!! (picture me pulling everything out of my seed storage box and turning it uPside-down :roll:) ...and here EVERYONE seems to be planting Clemsons :?

Well, I guess they'll look pretty like marlingardener said....

gumbo2176
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3065
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:01 am
Location: New Orleans

applestar wrote:Arrggh!! I thought I ordered Clemson Spineless seeds too, but it seems I only ordered the Alabama Red!! (picture me pulling everything out of my seed storage box and turning it uPside-down :roll:) ...and here EVERYONE seems to be planting Clemsons :?

Well, I guess they'll look pretty like marlingardener said....
Applestar, I've found Clemson Spineless in Home Depot and Lowe's.

gumbo2176
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3065
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:01 am
Location: New Orleans

DeborahL wrote:Gumbo, please give that neat lady a hug from California !
Did that Deb. She made out like a bandit on her birthday. Her son got her a beautiful music box with a modern twist. It has two knobs, 1 marked A-J and the other 1-10. There is a song book that tells you what letter and number pulls up that particular song and it plays 100 different songs.

She got several different pieces of clothing and my wife gave her a gift card for a local book store since she is a retired teacher and voracious reader.

I travel on the practical side and offered to thoroughly clean her car since nobody has done it in years. I did that today with a thorough interior cleaning of vacuuming, upholstery and vinyl scrubbing, engine compartment cleaning, washing and waxing. She hasn't seen her car that clean in years and it did my heart good to see her pleasure in that.

Now, if the city would kindly finish with the gas line they are replacing and repave the part of my driveway they cut out to do so, I just may clean my truck.

User avatar
Gary350
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4793
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

I plant 1 row 20 ft long with okra. Plant seeds about 10" apart. I till the soil then shovel out all the soil in that row to make a trench about 5" deep 20 ft long. I buy a couple bags of composted cow manure at the farm supply store $3 each to put in the trench spread out the manure evenly in the whole trench. Then I put 1 seed every 10" then cover the manure with about 1" of soil. Give it plenty of water. When the plants are about 2 ft tall I put the rest of the soil in the trench. The roots go crazy growing in that cow manure compost okra gets 8 ft tall real fast. About July it starts making okra pods. I get a crop about once a week for a while then the crop starts coming more often. By August I have to pick okra every day. Never let the pods get too large other wise they will be too hard to eat. The pods need to be soft like a banana. By the end of Sept we are burned out on eating okra every day so I let it go to seed.

Cut the okra into 1/2" long slices. Soak the slices in a 50/50 mix of buttermilk and water for a few minutes then let them drain 5 minutes.

Mix 1 cup of white flour with 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Some people like corn meal instead of flour or 50/50 mix of flour corn meal but I don't. Put the okra slices in the flour stir about every 5 minutes for the next 30 minutes then dump into a colinder to remove the excess flour.

Put 1" of oil or crisco in a 10" or 12" cast iron skillet turn it on high and when it begins to smoke a little dump in the okra. Not too much you want a layer on the surface don't croud the pieces they need to float to the top. Stir the okra around in the oil for a few minutes when it floats to the surface of the oil it will be done and golden brown.

Some people make pickeled okra and boiled okra but not me I don't like it fixed that way.

I like gumbo but I don't have a good recipe.

gumbo2176
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3065
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:01 am
Location: New Orleans

Gary350 wrote:
I like gumbo but I don't have a good recipe.

Gary, I'm from New Orleans and put my recipe for chicken/andouille/okra gumbo in the recipe section of this forum. Andouille is a cajun pork sausage that is highly seasoned and heavily smoked but any good quality smoke sausage will work in its place. Give the recipe a look-see, it is a killer gumbo and I've made it for a lot of large social occasions and have fed over 100 folks at a time with it. That recipe is good for about 1 1/2 to 2 gallon worth and it freezes very well. I never make it in less of a quantity than that recipe calls for.

DeborahL
Green Thumb
Posts: 543
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:40 am
Location: Coastal Southern California

Gumbo, thanks for the nice update ! I'm a caregiver, and nothing makes me happier than hearing good news, good care and love for our seniors.
God must think highly of animals - He created them before creating us !

User avatar
sheeshshe
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1254
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 12:17 am
Location: maine

what is the secret to growing Okra anyways? I tried it twice and it wouldn't grow larger than 6 inches :lol: I just ordered a different variety in hope that it is better for my climate. I got cow horn Okra.

gumbo2176
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3065
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:01 am
Location: New Orleans

sheeshshe wrote:what is the secret to growing Okra anyways? I tried it twice and it wouldn't grow larger than 6 inches :lol: I just ordered a different variety in hope that it is better for my climate. I got cow horn Okra.
Okra likes it hot and is drought tolerant. I will put mine in the ground in a few weeks when it gets a bit warmer since it is a heavy producer. Matter of fact, it is still producing each year when I decide to pull it to put in my fall/winter garden. By then, I've got enough to last me and a few others all year long till the next planting.

Try some Clemson Spineless, that is the variety that most folks in La. plant.

DeborahL
Green Thumb
Posts: 543
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:40 am
Location: Coastal Southern California

Gary, Crisco and cast iron... you sure brought back good memories, from my 60's childhood when people weren't afraid of Crisco.
I was raised on white store bread, foods fried in melted Crisco, Kool-Aid....Oh, the good old days !
God must think highly of animals - He created them before creating us !

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27653
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

This thread is giving me ideas. I'm going to prepare my front lawn area where I plant grow the okra by setting up a low tunnel covered with plastic to really heat things up.

It worries me how much everyone who talks about growing okra usually say how hot it gets in the summer. I plan to start them with the peppers and eggplants -- with bottom heat and extra warmth, but I guess I'll also try direct seeding them using the method I recommended someone else -- covering each seed with cut-off soda bottle cloches INSIDE the low tunnel. I should probably get set up by late April when we almost always get a freak heatwave in the 80's and even reach 90ºF. Maybe it will be enough to wake up the seeds even if weather takes a downturn (we've had snow flurries in May....)

This will be a NEW PROJECT! experiment for sure. 8)

Imperialboy
Senior Member
Posts: 138
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:11 am

I can't find any Okra seeds at any place near me and don't want to order online :cry:

Though can give you some bullet pointers
- They love full sun (Hottest spot in your garden!)
- Yields roughly around 5-10 pounds per 10ft row
- Yields roughly 1-2 pounds of pods for single plant

Soak seeds before planting. Use swollen seeds.
If you plant in containers, grow in large tube.
Ready to harvest 3-4 days after flowering
Pick every 2 days or so; plants will stop producing if pods not harvested

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27653
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Agh! I forgot about this thread. I post these great ideas and then forget them :roll: I found my Clemson Spineless seeds but MISSED the heatwave which we did have for 4 days. It went down do 40's last night and now still only mid-50's.

My Alabama Red or is that Crimson seedlings are doing well with a pair of true leaves.

User avatar
sheeshshe
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1254
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 12:17 am
Location: maine

I just started mine yesterday. now I just re read this trhead and now I'm worried that I started too late :(
Sheila, gardening on the zone 4b/5a line.

HotPepperManFL
Full Member
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:39 pm
Location: Lutz,FL

My seeds sprouted about a month ago an now they are taking off, I'm gonna replant tomorrow cause they are showing good roots. The leaves are the size of maple leaves, well aleast the maple leaves we have in FL. 5inchs across maybe.. I will post some pics!!

gumbo2176
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3065
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:01 am
Location: New Orleans

My plants are now about 18 inches tall and already putting out okra. The pods are small but they are there already and need picking. Not much I can do with the few that are there except maybe steam them a bit and a little oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. When in full swing, I'll be picking almost daily, can't wait.

HotPepperManFL
Full Member
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:39 pm
Location: Lutz,FL

Question? This is only the second time I've grown okra. The first time it was from seed in the ground, this time I'm growing in pots. When I was growing them inground they grew to about 20" or so with smaller leaves an didn't put out alot of okra. This time they are at about 12" right now and have huge leaves. They are 9" across at the broadest point. They are both from the same seed stock. Which is more normal?

gumbo2176
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3065
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:01 am
Location: New Orleans

HotPepperManFL wrote:Question? This is only the second time I've grown okra. The first time it was from seed in the ground, this time I'm growing in pots. When I was growing them inground they grew to about 20" or so with smaller leaves an didn't put out alot of okra. This time they are at about 12" right now and have huge leaves. They are 9" across at the broadest point. They are both from the same seed stock. Which is more normal?
Okra, when growing in my garden often reaches between 6 and 8 ft. tall by seasons end. Why yours only grew to 20 inches is beyond me. Right now, my plants are about 18 inches tall, have leaves at least 8-10 inches at their widest and already putting out pods of okra. I'd say your second experience is more normal and what I'm use to seeing when growing okra. By the way, the variety I plant is Clemson Spineless. I've never planted okra in a pot since their roots are pretty extensive.

When in full swing around mid July to when I pull them in mid September, the plants I have will produce heavily. I usually have about 30-35 plants each summer and it is not unusual for me to pick anywhere from 30-60 pods a day. I'll pick some around 3 inches long for steaming and let most of it go to 5-6 inches long for frying, stewing, pickling and putting in the freezer for making gumbos and soup.

HotPepperManFL
Full Member
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:39 pm
Location: Lutz,FL

Clemson Spineless is what they are. I'm sure the reason they didn't grow in ground is because of my soil. Its pretty much sugar sand. I had a small raised bed with garden soil, peat moss, black kow mixed in but nothing really grew good. Now that they are growing so well in pots I'm scared to put them in the ground.

growin' stuff
Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 12:07 am
Location: Florida

Hi! I LOVE okra first of all, and I had plants last fall that were over my head! I don't remember what the name was, but we got the seeds at Walmart. When the plants were on their way out, I left some pods on the bush to ripen and dry out. Those are the seeds I used to get the plants I have now. I planted the seeds in the soil as soon as we didn't get any more cold fronts and they came up so fast--less than a week, maybe 4 days?? I have to go out there every day to keep up with picking the pods before they get too big. Four inches is as long as you should let them get, or you can pick them smaller. The yellow flowers are pretty but only open part of the day. I think okra is in the hibiscus family, I THINK. :D My husband fries them after breading them in italian bread crumbs, or we freeze them for later, or pickle them. OR give them away. :D

growin' stuff
Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 12:07 am
Location: Florida

I have a question. My okra plants are now making a lot of okras in a bunch at the top of the plant. I didn't see that in the fall until the plants were really tall and about finished. These plants are still healthy looking, green, and only a couple feet tall. Anyone know what's going on ?

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27653
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I forgot about ths thread AGAIN :roll:

I wonder if I can find where I planted the seeds today? If I can even approximate, I'll cover them with the soda bottles ... Aaaagggh! TODAY was recycle day and all the plastic bottles got put out and got collected. :shock: :roll:

Well, I may still have some to use. I'll have to look tomorrow. :?

RickRS
Full Member
Posts: 50
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:27 pm
Location: Northwest Florida

sheeshshe wrote:what is the secret to growing Okra anyways?
Being south of the Mason-Dixon line?

If there's one thing that plant loves, it's summer heat.

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”