Species of edible plant.The first use of the word okra (Alternatively; okro or ochro) appeared in 1679 in the Colony of Virginia, deriving from the Igbo word ọ́kụ̀rụ̀. Despite the fact that in most of the United States the word gumbo often refers to the dish, gumbo, many places in the Deep South still use it to refer to the pods and plant as well as many other variants of the word found across the African diaspora in the Americas.Origin and distribution [ edit ].Whole plant with blossom and immature pod.The Egyptians and Moors of the 12th and 13th centuries used the Arabic word for the plant, bamya, suggesting it had come into Egypt from Arabia, but earlier it was probably taken from Ethiopia to Arabia.By 1748, it was being grown as far north as Philadelphia.Botany and cultivation [ edit ].The fruit is a capsule up to 18 centimetres (7.1 in) long with pentagonal cross-section, containing numerous seeds.Abelmoschus esculentus is cultivated throughout the tropical and warm temperate regions of the world for its fibrous fruits or pods containing round, white seeds.The seed pods rapidly become fibrous and woody and, to be edible as a vegetable, must be harvested when immature, usually within a week after pollination.Other diseases include powdery mildew in dry tropical regions, leaf spots, yellow mosaic and root-knot nematodes.Food and uses [ edit ]. One possible way to de-slime okra is to cook it with an acidic food, such as tomatoes, to render the mucilage less viscous. Pods are cooked, pickled, eaten raw, or included in salads.When cooked, it takes many forms.Leaves and seeds [ edit ]. Okra seeds may be roasted and ground to form a caffeine-free substitute for coffee. The oil content of some varieties of the seed is about 40%. A 2009 study found okra oil suitable for use as a biofuel. Having composition similar to a thick polysaccharide film, okra mucilage is under development as a biodegradable food packaging, as of 2018. Okra is also high in fiber—about eight medium-sized pods are estimated to contain 3 grams of fiber. .
How to Grow Okra
Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), native to Africa and related to hibiscus, arrived in North America in the 1600s.This edible green seed pods quickly became popular in the Deep South as both a side dish and a thickening for gumbo and stews.It will grow in ordinary garden soil but does best in fertile loam, particularly where a nitrogen-fixing crop — such as early peas — grew previously.When seeding okra directly in the ground, wait until after the soil has warmed and the air temperature reaches at least 60 degrees.In areas with long, hot summers, cut the plants back almost to ground level in midsummer and fertilize to produce a second crop.They're tough when mature, so harvest daily with a sharp knife when they are no more than finger-sized and stems are still tender and easy to cut.This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. .
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. .
How Do I Grow Okra?
Okra is a vegetable you either like or you don’t, though we can all agree it provides great ornamental value to any landscape.Okra seeds pods are great roasted, grilled, braised, sauteed or fried and can also be used in a number of dishes, including stew and gumbo.Although it grows over a wide range — from zone 4 to 11 — don’t sow seeds outdoors or plant out seedlings until all risk of spring frost has passed.Ensure the seed starting mix is warm enough by using a seedling heat mat with a thermostat.By the end of this period the plants will be ready to receive a full day of direct sun.Okra requires full sun and will grow best in soil with a pH that is close to neutral, which is 7.0, so anything from 6.0 to 8.0 will work.Water immediately upon planting and cover the ground with a layer of two to three inches of organic mulch.Mulch will retain moisture between waterings and will keep the soil warm on cool nights.All varieties of okra — also known as okro, ochro and ladies’ fingers — are the same species, Abelmoschus esculentus.In the North, it’s wise to choose varieties that are intended for a short growing season.It is high yielding and matures early, making it a great choice for cooler climates.Candle Fire is a hybrid okra with smooth, round red pods that mature in just 30 days from transplanting.Clemson Spineless is an open-pollinated variety with light green pods that have between five and eight points, and cream-colored edible flowers.It’s the gold standard for “painless picking.” These are better for the South, since they take 60 days to mature from transplanting.Jambalaya is a green hybrid okra that thrives in shorter growing seasons, maturing in 50 days from transplanting.Red Velvet grows 4 to 5 feet tall with pods that are slightly ribbed and best enjoyed when 3 to 6 inches long.Adding finished compost or organic matter at planting time will give okra much of the fertility it needs to get through the season, but a light monthly application of organic fertilizer will increase yield.As they eat plant leaves they excrete honeydew, which attracts ants and other insects.They are easily controlled by knocking them off plants with a sharp stream of water.Handpick eggs on stems and under leaves, and pick off any caterpillars, which may be green or black and gray.Bt is an organic control for moth and butterfly larvae that is safe around humans and pets and will not harm other wildlife.Just be sure not to apply it around butterfly larvae host plants such as milkweed and fennel.Blossom blight may occur when temperatures are high and there has been a lot of rain.Starting off with compost-rich soil in the ground or premium-potting mix in containers is the best proactive defense against wilt.Proper spacing of plants to provide air circulation can stop powdery mildew from becoming an issue.A solution of baking soda or diluted milk can slow the spread or be used as a preventative measure.Root knot nematode is a tiny worm that parasitizes okra.Sign up to receive gardening resources, eBooks and email updates on the joegardener podcast and more.None of the items included in this list have any bearing on any compensation being an influencing factor on their inclusion here.The selection of all items featured in this post and podcast were based solely on merit and in no way influenced by any affiliate or financial incentive, or contractual relationship.At the time of this writing, Joe Lamp’l has professional relationships with the following companies who may have products included in this post and podcast: Rain Bird, Corona Tools, Milorganite, Soil3, Exmark, Greenhouse Megastore, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Territorial Seed Company, Wild Alaskan Seafood Box and TerraThrive. .
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. .
How to Grow Okra in Your Home Veggie Patch
We link to vendors to help you find relevant products.Plants are typically green, but may also be red-stemmed with red-veined leaves.Yellow flowers with red centers resemble hibiscus.Gardeners often prefer “spineless” varieties, because these protrusions commonly cause itching and irritation when okra is harvested and prepared.Okra is very easy to grow from seed.It prefers full sun, average moisture without letting the soil dry out completely if possible, and good soil that drains well.Around mid-summer, you may prune tall varieties to encourage further growth, and you can also choose to plant a fresh crop at that time for a late harvest.You may also start seeds indoors up to two months before the last average frost date in spring.Keep your veggie patch clean, and remove dead leaves and old vegetation.Remove affected portions, prune back plants for good airflow, and always plant in well-draining soil.Suggested Varieties.If you garden in the South, all varieties should serve you well, as okra loves heat, humidity, and a long growing season.To save your skin, look for spineless varieties – but keep in mind that no cultivar is truly entirely free of those potentially irritating little hairs that grow on the plant.If you pick ever other day and keep on top of them, your pods should keep blooming and produce tasty pods all summer long.Get more details on okra harvesting here.Plant Type: Annual Tolerance: Drought Native To: Tropical Africa and Asia Maintenance: Moderate; keep free from weeds Hardiness (USDA Zone): 9-12 Soil Type: Loamy Season: Summer Soil PH: Slightly acidic to slightly alkaline, 6.5-7.5 Exposure: Full sun Soil Drainage: Well-draining Time to Maturity: 50-60 days, depending on cultivar Companion Planting: Melons, cucumbers, sweet peppers, eggplant Spacing: Thin to 12 inches Family: Malvaceae Spread: 12-48 inches depending on cultivar Genus: Abelmoschus Planting Depth: 1 inch or less Species: A. esculentus Water Needs: Moderate, every 7-10 days Pests & Diseases: Aphids, armyworms, cabbage loopers, corn earworms, cucumber beetles, flea beetles, stink bugs, thrips, root knot nematodes, spider mites, charcoal rot, fusarium wilt, powdery mildew, southern blight, white mold, yellow vein mosaic virus.Remember, the more nutritious veggies your garden grows, the healthier you can be.
Okra: Plant Care & Growing Guide
Botanical Name Abelmoschus esculentus Common Names Okra, gumbo, lady's finger Plant Type Annual, vegetable Mature Size 3–5 ft. tall and wide Sun Exposure Full sun Soil Type Moist, fertile, well-drained Soil pH Acidic (6.0 to 6.8) Bloom Time Seasonal Flower Color Yellow, white Hardiness Zones 2–11 (USDA) Native Area Africa, Asia.Some gardeners like to soak the seeds in water the night before planting, but you should get good germination if you simply keep the soil moist until the seedlings emerge.Starting seedlings in peat pots that can be planted in the ground will lessen transplant shock.Wait until the weather is reliably warm, about two weeks after your last projected frost date, before transplanting outdoors.Gardeners in warm climates can plant a second crop for harvest into the fall.Side dressing with manure or foliage feeding with a seaweed/fish fertilizer will supply some extra fuel.Okra varieties that are labeled spineless are less irritating to harvest, but be aware that they are not completely spine-free.Burgundy ' is an heirloom variety that has deep reddish seed pods that lose some of the color with cooking.' is an heirloom variety that has deep reddish seed pods that lose some of the color with cooking.The edible okra fruits—the seed pods—generally appear about 50 to 60 days after the seedlings sprout, immediately after the flowers bloom.However, if growing conditions are good, even larger okra pods can still be tender and edible.Okra plants need a large container that’s roughly a foot deep with a similar diameter.Make sure the container also has good drainage, and always empty the saucer right away if it fills with water.Use a quality organic potting mix, and keep the soil lightly moist but not soggy.Pods left on the plants to mature and dry can be harvested for their seeds.Simply store the seeds in a cool, dry spot over the winter, and plant them the following spring.
How to Grow Okra from Seed – West Coast Seeds
Okra is a fast growing, warmth loving, very attractive flowering plant.The pods emerge from each pollinated flower, and will produce viable seeds if left to mature.Learn when to plant okra seeds in the instructions below It’s a fun summer crop, and adds variety to your organic vegetable garden.Okra seeds can also be started in peat pots or soil blocks, and will benefit from the extra heat of a greenhouse or cold frame.Use light, loamy, well-drained soil with ample organic matter dug in, and choose a sunny, warm spot.Once hot weather arrives, okra plants grow with surprising vigour.Keep them growing steadily with even irrigation and regular applications of balanced organic fertilizer to the surface of the soil around plants. .