Brown Thumbs
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Puny okra

Planted first of May and its 2-3 ft tall, but looks puny and isn't producing much at all. Fertilized with granular and mulched, watered when really dry (not over watered). Drains well when rains, but limited direct sun of only 6 hours. Is this what low light conditions would cause or something else?
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Brown Thumbs

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gumbo2176
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Re: Puny okra

Could be a light issue since I planted mine about the same time and they are 4 ft. + tall and producing like crazy now. Mine get full sun all day long where it is planted and I'm not too fussed about watering them since they are so drought tolerant and love the heat of the deep south. We get enough rainfall to keep them happy.

How are your other plants doing? From your picture I can see other things growing and they look to be doing well.

Peter1142
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Re: Puny okra

My okra sucks too, always, no idea why I just have no luck with it, everything else does fine. It does make some pods but always totally puny.
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Gary350
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Re: Puny okra

Okra is a crazy plant, Okra likes full sun all day, the hotter and dryer it gets the better okra does. My okra was only 12" tall for 2 months, then 2 feet tall for a month, now all of a sudden it is 4 to 5 feet tall and just starting to make enough okra to eat I picked 15 pods yesterday evening from my 30 plants. It just keeps picking up speed by Sept my plants will probably be making 75 pods a week, more than we can eat. One year I tilled a 3.3 cu ft bag of peat moss into a 20 foot okra row it grew much faster and made okra pods sooner so that leads me to believe okra needs soft loose soil for better root growth. I always let a few okra plants go to seed in the fall so I have seeds to plant next spring.

gumbo2176
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Re: Puny okra

Gary350 wrote:Okra is a crazy plant, Okra likes full sun all day, the hotter and dryer it gets the better okra does. My okra was only 12" tall for 2 months, then 2 feet tall for a month, now all of a sudden it is 4 to 5 feet tall and just starting to make enough okra to eat I picked 15 pods yesterday evening from my 30 plants. It just keeps picking up speed by Sept my plants will probably be making 75 pods a week, more than we can eat. One year I tilled a 3.3 cu ft bag of peat moss into a 20 foot okra row it grew much faster and made okra pods sooner so that leads me to believe okra needs soft loose soil for better root growth. I always let a few okra plants go to seed in the fall so I have seeds to plant next spring.

My plants are very similar to yours, just more of them with about 60 in all. One day last week I picked 64 pods in the afternoon and a good 35 the next day. Right now I'm averaging about 5-6 lbs. of okra a week and between canning, cooking down for gumbos and soups, frying, grilling and giving away, I am just keeping up with it. But I wouldn't want it any other way as I do love my okra.

I'll put up between 20-30 quart bags of smothered okra in my freezer every summer and it makes for a great addition and thickener to vegetable soups and gumbos.

gumbo2176
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Re: Puny okra

Quick update. .All this talk made me go out to pick okra and I bested last weeks take when I picked 72 pods this morning. Had to toss 4 due to being hidden by the foliage and they got too tough to work with.

This madness will go on until I pull the plants in mid September. By then, they will be close to 8 ft. tall and thick as saplings.

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applestar
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Re: Puny okra

So from what Gary and Gumbo are saying, 1-2 pods per plant per day is the norm? No wonder people plant so many plants. I always thought my plants just weren't growing well enough. I usually cut up and save harvested pod in the freezer and when I have enough, make something with them.

Oh well, think I have 6 plants this year.... BUT, I planted these in a completely new location -- my pallet sided high raised bed -- it dries out easily but the ground underneath can get very wet because it's a low area. Since the okra roots grew down to the ground, they've also had access to the trench compost alongside the bed and we are now in the HEAT of the summer -- I've never seen the okra leaves grow so HUGE, though the plants themselves are only maybe 18-24 inches tall. Lots of flowerbuds in the top cluster. I'm looking forward to the harvest.

I sowed seeds in another location and those okra are still barely 6-8 inches with maybe 2-3 sets of tiny true leaves. I'm not really expecting them to grow to maturity this growing season. :roll:
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gumbo2176
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Re: Puny okra

You're right on target with your assumption on production. I generally get 1 pod per plant, sometimes 2, but usually just 1 worth picking. It pretty much depends on what I'm going to do with the okra as to how long I let it stay on the plant. If pickling, I tend to take them in the 3-4 in range and only use quart jars when doing so as I find pint jars just aren't big enough for the job.

If grilling, I like the pods just a shade bigger than 4 inches, especially if making "rafts" to grill them. By that I mean placing about 6-8 pods by laying them on a cutting board one behind the other with the pointy ends opposite of the one in front of it, then skewering the pods through both ends 90 degrees opposite the pods. Just a bit of olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder and they are good to go on the grill.

If smothering them down, (stewing), I'll let them get a bit longer but not woody. They are cut in 1/2 inch discs across the pod and put in a pot with a bit of oil (bacon grease for this guy), a large onion, bell pepper, a few stalks of celery, garlic, petite diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, a few dashes of hot sauce, a couple Bay leaves, salt, pepper and about 2 cups of water. All vegetables finely chopped by the way. I'll let this cook down for about 3 hours on a low boil and it will break down nicely. At first it is slimy as an eel as it first heats up but that goes away in a couple hours time. This is what I use as a thickener in gumbos and soups. I have a gas stove and use a heavy heat diffuser under my cooking pot to more evenly distribute the heat, but still stir it pretty often to make sure it's not sticking.

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