For good yields, okra must grow in full sunlight in fertile, well-drained soil.
Work the soil only when it is dry enough not to stick to garden tools. Spade or turn the soil as deeply as possible. Okra will grow best in soil that has been worked 8 to 10 inches deep. Remove all rocks and trash from the soil, and then rake it soil smooth.
For the best yields, plant okra in the spring 2 to 3 weeks after all danger of frost has passed. For a good fall crop, plant at least 3 months before the first fall frost. Plant the okra seeds about 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart in the row (Fig. 1). Space the rows at least 3 feet apart.
Okra plants will produce large flowers about 2 months after planting. The okra pods will be ready to pick 3 to 4 days later.
Harvest the pods when they are 3 to 4 inches long. If the okra gets too large, it will be tough and stringy. Pick the okra every 1 to 2 days or yields will decrease (Fig. 3).
Okra can be stored for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. Okra that is too mature can be dried, cured, and used in flower arrangements.
Okra seed is easily saved for next season by leaving some of the last pods on the plant until they get very large. Remove them and allow them to dry. The seeds will shell easily from the pods. Other okra plant materials such as leaves and stems can be put in a compost pile.
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