Okra Troubles?

Zeedman

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Okra has done very well for me started as transplants, but I start mine late (around June 1st) and transplant them as soon as they have their first leaf. I use size 32 peat strips, with plenty of extra holes punched in the bottoms for root penetration. The main advantage of starting in pots is consistent germination; heavy June rains have a bad habit of ruining direct seedings.

I plant 5-6 seeds in each pot, then thin to the strongest 3. Those 3's are planted 18" apart in the row, and I usually do double rows 24" apart. This eventually forms an unbroken leaf canopy, and has proven to be my optimal spacing. Contrary to the wide spacing I advocate for most vegetables, okra in the North benefits from crowding. Close spacing causes the plants to develop a single stalk; so the yield is early, and consistent. It is likely that plants could be spaced even more closely than what I use... crowding can cause the same early blooming as leaf pruning or root pruning, without physical damage to the plants.

The previous posters are not kidding when they mention heat - for okra, that is priority #1. Okra is one of the most cool-sensitive plants I've grown here (with eggplant a close second). It has been said jokingly that okra will wilt if you even say the word "frost", and that is not far from the truth. A couple nights below 50 F. (10 C.) can cause the plants to begin browning & shedding leaves... so where temps lower than that are common during the summer, okra could be a challenge. For those of us in the North, the best place to plant is next to a South-facing wall; the wall reflects extra heat during the day, and helps to shield from cool North winds at night.

I've also had good results using several rows of tall trellises as a wind screen, and planting cold-sensitive crops (okra, eggplant, moringa) in that sheltered location.

I don't know if this problem is due to my soil or climate; but when I first tried growing okra here, wilt was a major issue. It seemed that no matter which variety I tried (Annie, Clemson Spineless, Burgundy, and about a dozen others) the plants would begin to wilt & die shortly after flowering began. Then in Cornucopia II: A Source Book of Edible Plants (a good reference book for the garden library) it listed a Japanese variety (Pentagreen) as being exceptionally cool tolerant. That proved to be true, and I am now on the 6th generation of saved seed.
20190907_114859.jpg

Pentagreen double row
 

flowerbug

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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!

i think you'll be just fine. :)

i forgot to add that they seem to do ok in bad soil too as where i planted them was in a very compacted soil spot along the edge of the garden. they didn't care and still managed to get to about 5ft tall.
 

heirloomgal

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Okra has done very well for me started as transplants, but I start mine late (around June 1st) and transplant them as soon as they have their first leaf. I use size 32 peat strips, with plenty of extra holes punched in the bottoms for root penetration. The main advantage of starting in pots is consistent germination; heavy June rains have a bad habit of ruining direct seedings.

I plant 5-6 seeds in each pot, then thin to the strongest 3. Those 3's are planted 18" apart in the row, and I usually do double rows 24" apart. This eventually forms an unbroken leaf canopy, and has proven to be my optimal spacing. Contrary to the wide spacing I advocate for most vegetables, okra in the North benefits from crowding. Close spacing causes the plants to develop a single stalk; so the yield is early, and consistent. It is likely that plants could be spaced even more closely than what I use... crowding can cause the same early blooming as leaf pruning or root pruning, without physical damage to the plants.

The previous posters are not kidding when they mention heat - for okra, that is priority #1. Okra is one of the most cool-sensitive plants I've grown here (with eggplant a close second). It has been said jokingly that okra will wilt if you even say the word "frost", and that is not far from the truth. A couple nights below 50 F. (10 C.) can cause the plants to begin browning & shedding leaves... so where temps lower than that are common during the summer, okra could be a challenge. For those of us in the North, the best place to plant is next to a South-facing wall; the wall reflects extra heat during the day, and helps to shield from cool North winds at night.

I've also had good results using several rows of tall trellises as a wind screen, and planting cold-sensitive crops (okra, eggplant, moringa) in that sheltered location.

I don't know if this problem is due to my soil or climate; but when I first tried growing okra here, wilt was a major issue. It seemed that no matter which variety I tried (Annie, Clemson Spineless, Burgundy, and about a dozen others) the plants would begin to wilt & die shortly after flowering began. Then in Cornucopia II: A Source Book of Edible Plants (a good reference book for the garden library) it listed a Japanese variety (Pentagreen) as being exceptionally cool tolerant. That proved to be true, and I am now on the 6th generation of saved seed.
View attachment 40572
Pentagreen double row
Wow, gorgeous photo @Zeedman. Those plants look so vigorous & healthy. Thank you for the feedback. I appreciate the gardening book reference too. Much as I depend on the net for info, I'm an old fashioned gal at heart, and still love a good gardening (paper) book. I have one precious shelf for all my faves.

Here we go okra :fl
 

heirloomgal

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i think you'll be just fine. :)

i forgot to add that they seem to do ok in bad soil too as where i planted them was in a very compacted soil spot along the edge of the garden. they didn't care and still managed to get to about 5ft tall.
5ft! Holy cow! I'm feeling very optimistic now.
 

Artichoke Lover

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I feel like this might be the right junction to put forth a question that has been brewing since I joined TEG....often posts around here contain a reference of DD, or DW etc. What do these stand for? Is there like a reference list somewhere for those?
DD:Dear Daughter or rarely Dear Dad
DW= Dear wife
DH= Dear husband
DS- Dear son
I had to look them up at first too.
Edit: no clue what’s up with the emoji I keep removing it. It keeps adding itself back. Idk
 

Zeedman

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I feel like this might be the right junction to put forth a question that has been brewing since I joined TEG....often posts around here contain a reference of DD, or DW etc. What do these stand for? Is there like a reference list somewhere for those?
I'm guilty of using those fairly frequently; but while the initials are somewhat intuitive, they can get confusing to those of us who are unfamiliar with social media jargon. I tried using GF to describe my late Grand Father, but that didn't look right - it would most likely have been interpreted as "girl friend". My Grand Father would consider that to be disrespectful. ;)
 

Ridgerunner

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I feel like this might be the right junction to put forth a question that has been brewing since I joined TEG....often posts around here contain a reference of DD, or DW etc. What do these stand for? Is there like a reference list somewhere for those?
Occasionally I read those as Darn Husband, etc. Kind of reading between the lines of some posters.
 

ducks4you

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Don't need to pick off the flowers. That is how you get the okra to eat, Grasshopper.
It will get hot enough for them to take off very soon.
Reminds me that I need to get my okra in soon.
I bought Candle Fire okra seeds to grow this year, although I found some old Clemson Spineless seeds that won't be wasted.
MY problem is missing the green okra in the green foliage.
I have grown some kind of red okra before.
ALL tastes the same, and the red cooks up green.
It's only useful for spotting the pods.
 
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