This plant not only grows edible vegetables and beautiful flowers but also it is rich in vitamin A and low in calories, which makes it a great addition to your diet. .

Okra Harvest and Store Tips

Okra can easily grow from 4 to 6 feet tall or taller in warm, long-summer regions.In late summer, cut the tops of tall plants back by one-third and new buds and pods will appear along the main stem to produce a late-season crop.Okra should be harvested “cut-and-come-again”—that means pick pods every other day.Harvest okra pods using garden pruners or scissors leaving a short stub attached to the fruit.Pods refrigerated for more than a day or two often suffer chilling injury and turn black. .

When and How to Harvest Okra: Tips and Advice

We’ll walk you through the process and give you all of our tips and tricks, and then finish up with some preparation and recipe recommendations.Even so-called “spineless” varieties may have some setulose growth, so don’t be surprised if you encounter these fine protrusions on pods, stems, and leaves.If you find that they’re already woody when you pick at three inches, toss this harvest into a dish that’s going to be cooked low and slow, which may help to soften them a bit.Because okra roots have a fragile hold on the ground, it’s best to snip rather than snap the stems cleanly above each pod, leaving a bit to grasp.It may be tempting to leave fruits on the plant to see how large they’ll get, but don’t – unless you plan to use them in a floral arrangement, or dry them for seeds.This is also a good way to save seeds from open-pollinated varieties that will produce replicas of parent plants when sown next growing season.To reduce the viscous quality of okra’s slimy mucilage, try soaking it in vinegar or lemon juice for about 30 minutes, or parboil it.You may also prepare soaked or freshly picked okra by baking, roasting, or grilling it for a crisp texture, to be eaten that way or added to slow-cooked soups and stews.Just remember to add another thickener to your gumbo if you’ve prepped your harvest with another cooking method first, to reduce its gooeyness.Prior to dehydration, add a variety of seasonings and sea salt if you wish and eat them as a crispy snack.Our sister site, Foodal, has articles to consult for information on pickling and canning vegetables that you may easily apply when you’ve got a bumper crop on your hands.As for those well past their prime, the seeds inside may still be tender enough to cook and enjoy, and happen to make a nutritious substitute for coffee when roasted and brewed. .

How to Tell When Okra Is Ripe

Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) is grown in warm climates, and the seed pods can be picked shortly after the plant flowers.Okra is ripe and ready for harvesting approximately five days after the plant flowers, advises Michigan State University Extension.With proper care, you can enjoy fresh okra for as many as 12 weeks, notes Clemson Cooperative Extension.Some plants may stop flowering in the heat of summer, notes North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension. .

How to Grow Okra

Similar in taste to eggplant, okra is used in shellfish, corn, onion and tomato dishes.The annual, warm weather vegetable is related to hibiscus, hollyhock and rose of Sharon.Plant okra in the spring or early summer once the threat of frost has passed.Gardeners in cool regions may want to start okra seeds indoors in peat pots four to six weeks before the area's final frost date.If buying okra plants, purchase those that are started in containers such as peat pots that can go into the ground.Okra is susceptible to wilt, root knot nematode and Southern stem blight.It grows and bears seed pods until frost, which quickly turns them black and kills them.Pick the pods at least every other day, as they quickly turn from tender to tough the bigger they grow.Because of the long growing season and hearty production, four or five plants usually produce enough okra for most families. .

Grow Okra

The towering stalks of the okra plant provide height, texture, and color to the home garden.Because okra germinates and grows best when planted in soil that has warmed above 80 degrees F, northern gardeners often start seeds in flats and transplant seedlings when the weather heats up.Okra can suffer from several pests and diseases, including cucumber beetles, white mold, Southern Blight, vascular wilt, bacterial spot, and powdery mildew.Okra pods can be cooked just after harvest in stews, gumbos, or as a fried side dish.Well suited to tropical and subtropical climates, okra is often associated with the Deep South, but it can be cultivated - even to seed maturity - throughout much of the United States.Okra pods continue to increase in size when left on the plant beyond the edible stage.Once the seeds inside are fully developed, the pods will begin to dry and should be harvested when they turn brown and brittle.Just as the solitary flowers of okra open at different times, beginning at the base of the plant and progressing upward, so do pods mature in this same pattern.Wearing gloves while harvesting and cleaning these spiny fruits helps prevent skin irritation.The stem end of the fruit can also be cut with a pruning sheers, allowing the seeds to pour out.Store okra seeds in a cool, dark, and dry place protected from pests. .

Growing Okra Plants

Growing okra requires warm weather, but by using seedlings, you can shave 3 weeks or more from its usual long season.As long as okra seedlings are handled gently, as if they were breakable eggs, they can be slipped into the garden – or into large containers – just as the hot season begins.For the best results, begin with vigorous okra starter plants from Bonnie Plants®, the company that has been helping home gardeners succeed for over a century.Space okra plants 10 inches apart in a very sunny area that has fertile, well-drained soil with a neutral pH of 6.5 to 7.0.Improve native soil by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter.Okra loves the heat and can withstand a dry spell, but do your best to give plants 1 inch of water every week.Water the little plants if rain is not expected, but wait a few days before mulching to give the soil a chance to absorb the sun's warmth.In addition to gaining height, okra's leaves get bigger as the plants grow and begin producing yellow blossoms followed by tender pods.Warm weather helps pods grow quickly, so check plants every day once they start producing.This raised bed with dwarf okra provides good drainage, improved soil, and easy access.By the end of the season, full-sized okra plants will tower overhead as these do at the edge of a tree and shrub border. .

Harvest okra at proper time for most tender vegetable

Having a garden teaches you a lot of things, with the obvious being issues regarding water, disease and those pesky insects.But it never fails that at some point in cutting pods, I’ll run across one as long as a Samurai sword.Any pods that exceed 6 inches will be tough, and when you start to slice them, you’ll feel as though you are cutting into a loofah sponge.And you’ve got some time to enjoy the excess because we’ll have plenty of pods available until we receive our first cold snap.Years ago, Luella Morris gave me a terrific tip for eliminating the “slime” of cooked okra.Tammy Algood is a marketing specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and has written numerous cookbooks. .

How to Grow Okra in Your Kitchen Garden • Gardenary

Okra takes about 52 days to reach maturity after being planted by seed in the garden, and at this point, you will start to see lovely yellow flowers forming.This is not as big of a deal if you're planning on cutting it up and frying it, but overall, you'll find okra tastes better when harvested sooner, when the pods are still on the smaller side. .


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