Okra, also called lady’s finger in some places, is a vegetable that is best grown in spring and summer. However, you can also grow okra in autumn and winter if you can control tempretaure by planting the vegetable in poly house, net house, or green house. Generally speaking, okra grows well in tropical climate, however, these days botanists have developed a variety that can grow anywhere between 0 to 5000 meters from sea level. Okra’s diverse varieties are separated according to days of maturity, leaf shape, fruit shape, and color. Examples include Lady’s finger and Perkin’s long rod varieties.

Okra is edible for its nutritional characteristics. It has different vitamins and minerals and can be utilized in diverse ways. The fruit is called a capsule which can be chopped into small pieces, boiled, and prepared into a soup. If you are looking for alkalizing foods, you should definately include okra in your menu. If you are looking forward to naturally reduce your blood sugar levels, you should also try eating a lot of okra.

Growing Okra: Tips and Tricks

Okra can be grown outdoors or indoors. When you are growing indoors, you can grow okra in 12 inches pots, containers, or poly bags. You can grow okra in your terrace, balcony, or even lobby. However, you must make sure your plant gets at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. The best thing about okra is you can harvest the vegetables multiple times. You can continue to harvest okra for at least 3 months provided you regularly feed the plant with nutrients.

Here is an step by step process to grow okra in your garden.

Site Selection

In case, you are growing indoors, in containers, you have to choose a container that has good drainage and is at least 12 inches tall. If you are growing outdoors, you must select the site wisely. The site must be located preferably in a loamy area with good fertility and well-draining.

Soil preparation

Soil should be moist but should not carry a lot of water. If soil sticks to your tools, it is not right for the plant. Turn over the topsoil deep down using a spade. Smoothen the soil surface with a rake.

Planting

You can plants in two different seasons, during the spring and in the autumn. When you are planting for spring, prepare the nursery right after the snow begins to melt, in the late February and early March. For autumn cultivation, prepare the seedlings after the end of harsh summer that is usually in August.

Inter-row spacing of 90cm apart and intra-row spacing of 2m is recommended. Place the okra seeds 2-3cm into the soil and cover lightly. You can plant 2-3 seeds in one spot, and later if all seeds germinate and grow at least 5 cm tall, you can snip extra plant.

Care and Management

Weeding

Clear unwanted plants regularly. You can use small garden tools and manually remove the weeds, You can use plastic mulch to stop weeding.

Fertilizing

Apply 1-1.5 kilograms of NPK 10-10-10 fertilizer ratio per 10 square meters. Spread out the fertilizer equally between the line while simultaneously mixing it with a fraction of the soil. You should always water after feeding your plants wth fertilizer.

Irrigation

Okra can survive extreme summer, however, you need to given them water more frequently. It fact it can withstand rainy season.

Pest and Disease management

Many insecticides both organic and inorganic are available to remove insects. Sevin is an inorganic insecticide suitable for Okra insect pests. Organic insecticides include sulphur and insecticides of Baccillus thuringiensis (Bt). Sulphur can also fight fungal diseases. Read the insecticide label before using it and carefully follow the precautions and instructions.

Diseases pose a serious threat to okra, especially on humid and wet days. You need to be very careful and check the plants regularly to see any signs and symptoms of diseases and bugs. The plant is prone to fungus and bugs. You will have to use fungicides and insecticides regularly.

Harvesting

Flowering in okra takes place about 2 months after sowing. The capsule is usually taken 3-4 days after the flower opening. The fruit can mature pretty fast, therefore, you will have to pluck in less than 5 days after the fruit appears. The fruit also grows pretty fast, it will become 5-10 cm just in a week.

Storage

Okra can be stored after harvesting under cool temperature between 7-10oC in a refrigerator for about 3-4 days. Over matured pods are to be dried and stored in sacs for future use.

Utilization

You can preserve some of your harvests for future use. let the fruit remain in the plant until it becomes completely dry. The pluck the fruit and take out the seeds. Sun dry the seeds for few more days and store in an airtight bottle. You have seeds for the next plantation.

By-products such as dried leaves and stems after harvesting can be left on the farm to decompose, recycle and make nutrients available in the soil after being used.

Okra is also a good choice for urban gardening or container gardening.

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