Help!! Okra

midnightsmum (Z4, ON)May 2, 2009

So, I bought okra seed this winter, and started it with my tomatoes - probably too early!! Anyways, I like to plant my garden using companion planting, but can't find any info with regards to what it does and does not get along me.

TIA, Nancy.

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token28001(zone7b NC)

Melons and beans are good companions for okra. They shade the roots. Treat it like any other hibiscus.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 5:00PM
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Nell Jean

I never thought about 'companions' for okra. We just plant it in a row all to itself. The trick here is to wait until the soil is really warm, as it is a tropical plant, kin to hibiscus. It requires a long hot growing season, so your planting it inside to start was a good idea.

I googled 'okra companion planting' and found all kinds of companions. This one had the most information about culture, other than companions.


Here is a link that might be useful: What Tinkers Garden Said

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 5:01PM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

Nell - that is an amazing site!!! Thank you!! 8' tall - omg!!! The seed packet said that if you can grow good corn, you can grow okra. Since I really like fried okra, I thought I'd try it. Googling 'okra companion planting' - what an good idea - duh!!!


    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 6:56PM
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Nell Jean

The trick to googling is to get the right combination of words. Sometimes it takes more than one try.

Okra doesn't usually grow 8 feet tall. Old folks said it would only grow as tall as you bent to drop the seed. Actually it starts bearing pods at only about 18-24" tall. If the pods are kept cut, it keeps getting taller and taller.

You'll want to wear gloves and long sleeves to cut the pods; the leaves are very irritating. I used to stand at the end of a long row of okra, think about how it could make me itch, think about how I love to eat okra, and start cutting, in short sleeves. Mind over matter. You better wear long sleeves and gloves.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 7:27PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Old cotton socks work well too. Make sure they go past the elbows.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 8:00PM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

Ya'll are helpful........and funny!! I already have set my first fruit - or veg - lol. I will, 1st of all, be glad I am doing this tomorrow am, and 2ndly glad I've had this advice!!!

long sleeves I am the aM, I am warned.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 10:42PM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

I like whole small okra added the last few minutes in homemade veg.tomato/ beef soup.
My SIL would pick them about 2 1/2 inches long and fry them whole. Much easier than messing with all those cut pieces.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 12:03AM
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Companion plants:

* For OKRA
(Mutually beneficial)
egg plant

(I plant my okra near but not right next to:
tomatoes, peppers, or corn, allowing three to four feet between for walking and harvesting, and for needed root space and light availability. I plant zinnias, cosmos and marigolds near them sometimes too).


(Mutually beneficial)
Lettuce (shade)
Onions (Leeks, scallions, bunching onions)

(Benefitted by)
Calendula (pot marigolds)
Marigolds (Tagetes)
Bush Beans

(Of benefit to)
Lettuces (for shade)
Spinach (for shade)

(Protected by)
Marigolds (Tagetes)

Not good planted near Strawberries because of disease.
Some say Dill is bad for tomatoes and some say it benefits Tomatoes - I have seen no ill affects from inter-planting them.

Just a few that I can think of.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 1:31AM
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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

I direct sow my Okra on June the 1st, or there abouts, every year, when I plant the rest of my vegetable garden. Okra grows pretty rapidly. It tops out at about five feet by first frost here. Last time I grew a garden (two years ago) I planted the water melon in front of it. No problems at all.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 4:06AM
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I plant Cajun Delight, a variety that doesn't get so tall. Another tip, once it starts producing, check it almost daily because they will get tough quickly. I know.

I wear one of my favorite summer gardening shirts, an old worn out chambray work shirt of DH's with long sleeves and a pair of the those new gardening gloves.

I also freeze the excess. Cut it up, toss with corn meal, lay on cookie sheet and freeze...then bag up.

I have never tried it in stew whole...sounds good.

I plant it when I do melons and pole beans, soil is good and warm then.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 6:02AM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

I planted Annie Oakley II - it had the shortest growing season, so I thought it would be worth the risk. Annie - perfect! I now know exactly were I can put them in!!

Glenda, you don't blanch it to freeze?? The seed packet says to blanch for 2 min.; cool quickly. Same seed packet that does not say how tall it grows. lol.

I imagine they will need staking??

Thanks again to all. What a great source of knowledge!!


    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 11:54AM
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I don't blanch okra either. I freeze small pods whole, and larger ones are cut up, put into freezer bags and labeled. I don't cornmeal mine though, because I use them in many ways.

I obtained an okra variety last year from a person on the Veggie Garden Forum that grows well in colder zones, where summers are shorter and weather is cooler. (If anyone up north is interested, I can spare a few seeds to a few of you to try). We have a long, hot growing season here normally, but when the season is chilly and wet, these will come in handy. (Who knows what the Global Climate Change will bring - I want okra that will grow whatever the case may be).

Generally, I grow things together that also taste good cooked together, like basil and tomatoes; Peas and carrots; Okra and tomatoes; Summer savory and beans; Tomatoes and beans. But corn does really well grown with melons or pumpkins and pole beans. Potatoes do well with bush beans planted between them and marigolds at the ends. (the marigolds & beans help deceive the potato bugs). I plant calendulas, marigolds and radishes with my pumpkins and squash to ward off squash bugs. Let the radishes go to flower and seed.

Mustard plant is a good decoy plant to keep cabbage moths out of your cabbage and broccoli. Plant it early and away from your cole crops to attract the moths away from your cabbages and etc. They will eat it up and leave you cabbage alone. (It helps a lot). And of course, I eat the young tender mustard leaves in salads and cooked as greens. Dry the seeds and use for pickling or make your own spicy mustard!

These are a few of my tried-and-true methods I have used for over 30 years.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 2:14PM
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I grew okra too in the middle of my flower garden. Loved that it produced hibiscus like flowers and was so much fun to eat. I like mine either steamed or simply fried.

I'm planning a mini vegetable garden utilizing bags of soil as my containers. I read about this on Mother's EArth News and I'm excited to give it a try this year.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 9:27PM
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