Okra Troubles?

heirloomgal

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I planted some 'Jing Orange' okra around April 1st, and today I saw flowers forming on the plants though they are planted in relatively small containers. So I transplanted them into bigger containers, and picked off the flowers, but I am wondering if I shouldn't have done that? Seems to me too early for flowers on the plants, but it's been a very long time since I grew okra and I've forgotten what little I did know. Any suggestions/insights?
 

Artichoke Lover

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It is slightly early for flowers. They may have been a bit stressed in the smaller pots. And like Dirt Mechanic said give them lots of heat. Plant them out in dark colored pots or black plastic or black landscape fabric as mulch. They may want a little bit of balanced fertilizer but not much and may not need any at all if you have really good soil.
 

Ridgerunner

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I'm not familiar with 'Jing Orange' Okra, Clemson Spineless and Jade are the only varieties I've ever grow. A neighbor grows some variety that gets over 10 feet tall, I have no idea what variety that is. Mine seldom get above 5 to 6 feet tall.

I don't grow okra in containers, don't know if yours will eventually go in the ground. Okra is a heat-loving plant, it handles the heat really well, but does not do well in cooler weather. I don't think you'd have any choice other than to start the plants indoors.

I don't know how necessary it was to take those first flowers off, I always direct seed. But I'm sure taking them off did not hurt it. Once mine gets started I have to pick the pods every two or three days or they become "woody", not good to cook. You want to get the pods early, don't let them mature. I wind up throwing a lot of okra pods that are past their "use by" date into the compost.

I've heard of switching okra to get it to bloom. Take a stick and beat some of the leaves off of the plant to make it start producing. So stress may have caused it to bloom early. I think that is common with many plants, if stressed they go all out to try to produce seeds.

I don't do that but when I touch the leaves with my hands or bare arms they itch like crazy. I always harvest from the same side so I cut the leaves off of that side to keep from touching them. That has never caused a diminished harvest. I have not grown your variety and no okra in your climate so I don't know how this might work with you. Jade okra suckers a lot. If you leave those suckers alone they will produce too. I cut all but one or two suckers out depending on how they are growing so I can harvest without touching leaves or stalks. That does not harm production either.

Some people like the slime or at least don't mind, some don't like it at all. I find when I slice it if the okra, the knife, and my hands are dry it doesn't slime much if at all. Water or other liquids seem to be the catalyst. So after I wash it I dry it off and keep things dry.

Good luck with your okra up there. Down here in the heat it is one productive plant.
 

flowerbug

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i've only grown okra here once from seed (direct sown in a similar climate to yours) and they did bloom and give a small crop. i'm sure transplants would do better as long as they actually do ok as transplants. i don't have any experience at all with that. based upon how they grow i'd guess a deep pot is probably a good idea.

my issue with them was black aphids. which was a big surprise to me since there are no other plants here that got black aphids and also because we normally have a big population of aphid eating bugs, but for some reason the bugs didn't find the plants.
 
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Dirtmechanic

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I'm not familiar with 'Jing Orange' Okra, Clemson Spineless and Jade are the only varieties I've ever grow. A neighbor grows some variety that gets over 10 feet tall, I have no idea what variety that is. Mine seldom get above 5 to 6 feet tall.

I don't grow okra in containers, don't know if yours will eventually go in the ground. Okra is a heat-loving plant, it handles the heat really well, but does not do well in cooler weather. I don't think you'd have any choice other than to start the plants indoors.

I don't know how necessary it was to take those first flowers off, I always direct seed. But I'm sure taking them off did not hurt it. Once mine gets started I have to pick the pods every two or three days or they become "woody", not good to cook. You want to get the pods early, don't let them mature. I wind up throwing a lot of okra pods that are past their "use by" date into the compost.

I've heard of switching okra to get it to bloom. Take a stick and beat some of the leaves off of the plant to make it start producing. So stress may have caused it to bloom early. I think that is common with many plants, if stressed they go all out to try to produce seeds.

I don't do that but when I touch the leaves with my hands or bare arms they itch like crazy. I always harvest from the same side so I cut the leaves off of that side to keep from touching them. That has never caused a diminished harvest. I have not grown your variety and no okra in your climate so I don't know how this might work with you. Jade okra suckers a lot. If you leave those suckers alone they will produce too. I cut all but one or two suckers out depending on how they are growing so I can harvest without touching leaves or stalks. That does not harm production either.

Some people like the slime or at least don't mind, some don't like it at all. I find when I slice it if the okra, the knife, and my hands are dry it doesn't slime much if at all. Water or other liquids seem to be the catalyst. So after I wash it I dry it off and keep things dry.

Good luck with your okra up there. Down here in the heat it is one productive plant.
TIL about the corporal gardening techniques in Louisianna.

In all fairness, would not the shaking of pollen in tomatoes be similiar?
 
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Ridgerunner

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TIL about the corporal gardening techniques in Louisianna.
One of the northern gardeners on here told me about the switching technique on Okra when I was in Arkansas. I'd never heard of it until then.

In all fairness, would not the shaking of pollen in tomatoes be similiar?
That's not what this article says. You are not trying to pollinate it, you are trying to get it to bloom to start with. I never had that problem in Arkansas. With just a little patience it bloomed. And bloomed. And bloomed until cooler weather.

 

heirloomgal

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Thank you so much for the feedback! I am going to try and grow a couple plants in my greenhouse.....which is 12X8....I guess we'll see how that goes. Amazing that a Southern grown okra plant can get 6 or even 10 feet tall, that's quite incredible. I keep my greenhouse at 90 degrees, so it'll be an experiment esp. with regards to space requirements. I hope I can get at least one good okra meal from the plants, and some seeds to keep them going if they work out. Okra is one of my all-time favourite vegetables, I don't even mind it slimed up, but what does bother me is the grocers here sell the pods full of chunky seeds. I can handle smaller seeds, but these are so big when you chew all you feel are tough seeds!

So envious of you guys who can grow okra easily in your climate, in the ground!
 
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