In frost free areas an okra plant can live for a full year.If you live far south, like I do, you can plant the okra seeds right in the soil.However most of you will want to give your okra a head start so you can get the most out of the growing season before frost comes again.They have a great loose, deep soil for the roots to grow into, and a little added support for the height.Make sure you keep them mulched to retain moisture and keep weeds from competing for the water and nutrients.Your plant should start bearing pods in 50-65 days, depending on the variety.When you see your first beautiful blossom get ready, as you will have to pick pods every other day for the rest of the season.If you are going on vacation for more than 4 to 5 days make sure you have someone pick your okra for you so it will continue producing the rest of the summer.But even here in Florida, the plant disease capital of the world, I still managed to get a great crop.As far as pests go, okra is susceptible to aphids, stinkbugs and corn earworms.However, if you keep an eye on your plants, when you find they have swooped in during the night, just hit them with a strong spray of water from the hose.I like this hose nozzle because it has an adjustable head so I can spray the aphids hard and my seedling gently.The pods can be steamed, boiled, sauteed, baked, deep fried, braised, cooked into soups, and even (my favorite way) pickled.It pairs well with tomatoes and the mucilaginous texture that they have helps thicken gumbos and stews.If you’re not fond of the mucilaginous texture (sliminess) you can minimize this by frying or pickling.Try adding them to your ratatouille or to a rice pilaf, marinate in a vinaigrette or serve with a dip.Containing vitamins A & C okra is a good source of potassium, magnesium and folic acid.But if you find you have more than you can eat fresh, they will keep well in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for about 5 days.If you want to freeze them, blanch for 3 minutes, plunge into an ice bath to stop cooking.Slice them, lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, put them in the freezer until they are frozen and then bag and label them.For longer storage, and to make sure no freezer burn gets to your produce, use a Vacuum Sealer .I hope this inspires you to give okra a place in your garden this year. .

Growing Okra Plants

Or, you can improve the nutrition and texture of your native soil by mixing in aged compost-enriched Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® All Purpose In-Ground Soil with the top few inches.Thoroughly water your seedlings an hour before you plant them.Gently remove them from the pot, separate the seedlings, and set them about 10 inches apart. .

Do okra plants need to be staked?

They don't really need the cages, but the cages give me something to tie the plants to if they start getting top-heavy and leaning over into other veggies' space.Beside above, what can you not plant near okra?Planting okra near these garden crops draws these pests away from your other crops.Okra plants will get very tall but they are not the same as vining plants like beans or zucchini. .

Does okra need trellis?

As mentioned, okra is a very easy plant to grow that doesn't require a lot of work in the garden.Peppers repel cabbage worms, which love to feed on young okra foliage.Finally, tomatoes, peppers, beans, and other vegetables are a great food source for stink bugs.Vegetable/Herb Likes Dislikes Mint (P) Cabbage, tomatoes, nettles Chamomile Nettle Increases oil content of most herbs Okra Melons, cucumbers, sweet peppers, eggplant Onion and garlic Beets, strawberry, tomato, lettuce, summer savory, chamomile, roses Peas, beans. .

How to Grow Okra

Cool summers aren’t very suitable for growing okra, though northern gardens may get a small harvest.It’s a very popular vegetable in the southern United States, where is grows extremely well.Put your seeds into small pots about 6 weeks before your expected final frost date for the season.Its somewhat traditional to soak okra seeds the night before planting to encourage quicker germination.As mentioned, okra is a very easy plant to grow that doesn’t require a lot of work in the garden.Water it at least once a week but a few dry spells aren’t going to hurt established plants.Black containers will attract the sunlight and help keep the soil nice and warm for your plants.One of the saving graces of growing okra is that it’s not overly bothered by diseases or insect pests.Full-grown okra plants are typically able to handle the damage with few ill effects.Pods that are longer than 5 inches will start to be tough and stringy, so try not to miss any when you are harvesting.The pods grow very quickly, and the plant will continue to produce them until the winter cold sets in.The pods and leaves are covered in very fine hairs or spines that will irritate your skin.When cooking with fresh okra, wear gloves until you’ve added it to your dish.The “spines” are neutralized by the hot water when you are cooking, so aren’t an issue when actually eating it.Any designation of “spineless” usually refers to the pods only, so you still need a bit of protection when picking because the leaves and stems can still sting you. .

Okra & Diabetes: Can Help Lower Blood Sugar? Benefits, Risks

In parts of the Southern United States, okra is a food staple, like pizza in New York City or beef brisket in Texas.It finds a home in soups like gumbos, or fried -- with flour, cornmeal, and maybe a little bacon grease -- as a side dish.If you or a loved one has it, it's worth asking your doctor, a dietitian, or a diabetes educator if there's a place in your diet for okra. .

Okra: Health Benefits, Nutrients per Serving, Preparation Information

Antioxidants are natural compounds that help your body fight off molecules called free radicals that can damage cells.Polyphenols decrease your risk of heart problems and stroke by preventing blood clots and reducing free radical damage.An eight-week study conducted on mice showed lower blood cholesterol levels after they were fed a high-fat diet containing okra powder.More evidence is needed to confirm that okra helps control blood sugar levels in humans.Folate helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects, which can affect the brain and spine of developing fetuses. .

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