Okra Status Report

July 17, 2007

A few weeks ago I wrote an okra article in response to questions that I received from two gardeners growing okra plants in the garden or in containers.

Here’s a follow-up report that I received from Linda after recommending that she separate her container grown okra seedlings:

NY Gardener Performs Delicate Surgery

okra plant.thumbnail Okra Status Report“I wanted to give you an update on my two okra plants in Western NY. A few days after I e-mailed you, I very carefully separated the two okra plants. I used a shovel to split the pot down the middle and scooped out half of the dirt and one of the plants. I added dirt, peat, and manure to both the old pot and the new pot.”

“I’m not sure if they needed more room, more manure, or more TLC with a splash of patience, but over the past 2 weeks they have almost doubled in size and each one has 3-4 pods!”

“Thanks for your advice. I will soon be enjoying my first taste of okra with the added bonus of having grown it myself. Good luck with your own gardening adventures this season!”

One Gardener’s Okra Successes…

Linda, congrats on a very successful operation! I’m glad to hear that your okra plants are recovering and growing nicely and that delicious homegrown okra pods are in your future.

I think you’re right and that the key was to be patient with early season okra plants; give them room, a boost of nutrients, and then wait for them to come around.

Wish I could say the same about the okra that is growing in my own garden.

Another Gardener’s Okra Disappointment…

leafless okra plant.thumbnail Okra Status ReportWhat used to be the healthy looking plants seen in the photo at the top have now been reduced to pathetic little stalks with hardly a leaf to be found (photo to the left)… all victims of a cruel groundhog attack.

There’s a faint hope for the plants as the groundhog spared the central growing tip and buds on each of the okra plants. But even the advice that I offered to improve the growth of young seedlings in the previous okra article may not be enough.

My okra plants have stopped growing and are definitely on life support, rather than try to revive the pitiful seedlings I will probably put them out of their misery and start clearing extra space for the fall vegetable garden.

So much for the idea of picking fresh okra pods from the Veggie Gardening Tips research plot this summer.





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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Karianne July 1, 2008 at 9:34 am

I need help! I have about a 25ft row that I planted okra in on June 22nd, but I didn’t know they had to be planted so far apart. When I planted them I just dropped the seeds in the soil and they are anywhere between 0-2 inchs. apart. What do I need to do because I don’t want to loose my okra!

Kenny Point July 1, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Hi Karianne, you can just thin the okra plants. If they are still small you may be able to thin the rows by digging up some of the plants and replant them where ever you have room. Otherwise use a pair of pruners to cut some of the okra plants down at ground level… I know it’s a tough task to cull healthy seedlings but it really needs to be done in order to give the plants the room they need to mature.

bonny July 2, 2010 at 12:10 pm

i live in montana i planted okra in came up then just stopped they say you cant grow okra here the weather has been real wet it should be in the 90 by now its 70 and wet will they take off when weather changes or should i do them in an replant something else

Kenny Point July 2, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Hi Bonny, I don’t know why you shouldn’t be able to grow okra in Montana. I would give them a little more time to see how they do and possibly adjust the planting times in the future until you can determine the ideal planting schedule for your growing region.

darius July 9, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Have a question for whomever can answer it. I was told I needed to cut away a lot of the leaves from the okra stalks, suppossedly to give the pods sunshine to grow. My husband says the leaves are there to “feed the pod through photosynthesis and that cutting away the leaves leave the okra pods without needed nutriment . What is correct? I do have a beautiful row of okra and if the leves need to go I need to cut the leaves off in the morning as the weather report gives rain for tomorrow p.m. Thanks for a speedy reply.

Kenny Point July 9, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Hi, I agree with your husband, the okra leaves are there to help collect sunshine, nutrients, and perform other functions to support the plant and pod production so they shouldn’t be cut off at random. The lower leaves will fall off on their own as the plant grows taller and they become useless.

Chok July 14, 2010 at 6:44 am

I had planted 20 seeds of okra, only 7 germinated, from that seven only 2 are alive! I planted in May 3 today the 2 survivors are only around 10cm tall, 4 leaves and what I wonder is they start to make a mini pods max 5mm, today is July 14 please help from Germany ! thanks

Kenny Point July 14, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Hi Chok, the okra can be slow to get going but once they start producing they will grow fast and you will have to watch closely in order to harvest them at the ideal time. The germination problems could have been related to poor quality seed or planting before the soil had a chance to warm up sufficiently.

Rebecca July 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Hi. We live in northern Minnesota and I planted 6 okra plants that I got from a nursery as well as 2 rows, about 20 feet each, from seed. I already have some okra on the ones from the nursery. The plants are small but producing. The seeded plants are already about the size of the nursery plants and are just budding. They are not the same variety as the leaves are slightly different. I just love okra and thought I’d try growing it; I have never heard of anyone growing it up here before. We live on wet, what we call “gumbo” soil. How ironic! As for the leaves, we ate the leaves of a related plant in the islands, and are going to try the leaves of our okra plants when they get bigger. Darius, I don’t believe robbing plants of some leaves will hurt them, just be sure to leave some. We have to do this with tomatoes up here, especially later in the season.

Almon Eaves July 17, 2010 at 7:22 am

I have big okra plants that are 18″ apart and 3′ rows but they are so big and bushy you can’t get down the row. The problem is no okra pods, I get very few from outside row and the ends but none on the center. I live in SE OK and have grown okra very successfully in the past and have never had this problem before can you tell me what the problem is. Thank you.

A. Eaves

tom rafanan August 18, 2010 at 7:29 pm

i planted okra in early june. i’m in the napa valley in california. my plants are 12″ apart, a single row. they about 2 ft tall and very healthy looking. lots of buds on the plants – BUT as they start to flower, the buds dry up and fall off. is there a remedy?

please help if you can. thank you.

tom rafanan

Ruby Marie June 16, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Hi, I am living in Las Vegas Nv. And start my okra from seeds around the first of May. I started with 24 little pots and just transplanted them to a 1 gal pot. Do I need to only have one plant in each container now or when I transfer the next time to a 2 gal container?

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