Growing Okra, also Ladyfinger, gumbo

Abelmoschus esculentus : Malvaceae / the mallow family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
    S                  
        T              
        P              

(Best months for growing Okra in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • P = Sow seed
  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 68°F and 95°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 14 - 24 inches apart
  • Harvest in 11-14 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Peppers (Capsicum, Chili), Eggplant (Aubergine)
  • Okra on flowering plant

Raise seedlings in a similar way to capsicums - warmth is essential. Pick pods when they are about 5 - 8 cm (2-4 inches) long. Cut the stem below the pod with a knife. If the stem is too tough to cut then the pod is probably inedible!

Wear gloves when picking as okra are often covered in tiny irritating hairs (which disappear when cooked)

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Okra

Use pods cut or whole in soups or casseroles as a boiled vegetable, or stirfry. Freeze uncut okra pods for using later - they'll keep for months frozen.

Your comments and tips

04 Sep 22, Ted Ledbetter (USA - Zone 4b climate)
I am in zone 4b never have good luck growing my okra tried it for a few years now northern lower Michigan.any help thank you ted
12 Sep 22, Anonymous (USA - Zone 5b climate)
Did you plant it at the right time.
15 Jul 22, Joanna (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Has anyone grown Okra in Christchurch? I bought seeds coz I'm curious about them but it doesn't look like they grow in our Temps?
29 Jul 22, Tim (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I've grown it in Chch before. It grew well (lots of vegetation) but I didn't get a very big harvest off it.
18 May 22, Janet Ann Shpak (Canada - Zone 4b Temperate Warm Summer climate)
Soil Temps have to be pretty high for okra. Is it better to wait until late June to plant in zone 4b?
22 May 22, Christine (USA - Zone 8a climate)
Yes! Okra is a plant that came from Africa, and needs warm temps to germinate. Here is a little hint…my mother, who was raised on a farm here in Georgia, always soaked her okra seed for 12 to 24 hours in buttermilk. I have always done that as well, and it seems to help the seed sprout quicker. Water May do the same thing and be as effective, but using buttermilk may have some sort of advantage. Plus, it helps me to feel closer to my ancestors. : ). Of course, you may be able to start the seedlings indoors, depending on how many you will be planting.
22 Feb 22, Manjeet (Australia - temperate climate)
Recipe for okra Okra Wash and dry well, make a cut across the Okra and stuff it with a mixture of Cumin, coriander, Turmeric, chilli, and salt powders. Heat oil in a Vok and fry them till slightly brown. Best eaten with Indian Chapattis or Naan. Do give it a try!
30 Dec 21, Hetal (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hi, I am in Tauranga, planted okra and it's flowering this time, should I harvest before flowering or after? Waited after flowering but there is small pod which turned yellow. What is your advice?
04 Feb 22, John Mauger (Australia - temperate climate)
You would harvest okra pods when they are about 90mm long , after the flower has finished. Getting them going as early as possible in the season is the key to a reasonable harvest in temperate climates.
07 Jun 21, Tim (USA - Zone 9a climate)
I am in a small garden in zone 9a, has anyone ever planted squash (yellow, zucchini, and patty pan) at the base of okra plants. It is overbearingly hot and sunny on the squash plants and I am trying to use the okra as just a wee bit of extra shade during the hottest part of the day. It also gives me an little "extra veggie" in the okra row. I try to squeeze out every useable square inch in my little garden. Have you ever heard of this being done or has anyone tried it? Good or bad idea? I've looked and I don't see them listed as incompatible or even compatible in the companions listings. Just asking, I'm trying it now, just wanted to see if had been done before. If it works well, I'll let you know, if not and it's a disaster, I'll let you know that too! Tim
Showing 1 - 10 of 348 comments

Where can I buy seeds and what is the best time to plant - thank you

- Garry Moylan

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