Anyone grow okra?

saintpflaApril 29, 2010

I bought a pack of seeds (Clemson spineless) and have never grown Okra before. How much space does it need and what should I expect in growing it? Can I container grow okra?


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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

If your going to grow them in the ground I'd space them 12-14" apart. I've always grown mine in containers so I crowd them quite a bit more. I put three seeds 10" apart in a triangular fashion in either 3.5 or 5 gallon containers. They have quite a root system once mature so if you do grow them in containers they will need a lot of water in the middle of summer.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 7:38AM
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I've grown okra both in earthboxes and the ground. They produced better in ground, but since they are nematode attractors I use containers. The recommended spacing for the earthboxes, 16 per box, I think is way too close. Tom's method would probably be better. I hope you like okra. If your plants do well, you'll have to pick it sometimes twice a day!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 8:02AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Saintpfla

I grew some okra varieties that Tom sent me in the same containers that I grow tomatoes, 2 per pot.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 9:16AM
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Thanks for the info and the picture too! I didn't even know what it looked like as a plant. I'm trying out stuff that might do well in our hot summers.

I really like gumbo and do not like the store bought frozen okra. It's too tough and fiberous. So, thought I'd grow my own. How much can I expect two plants to produce?

It's just me, so I don't need to plant a dozen of them.

Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 12:51PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Probably Tom that is the okra expert have a better answer. I am not familiar with the variety you have, in the picture are baby Bubba and sweet Lucy and they are dwarf. You can collect the pods as they become available and save them till you get enough for gumbo. If you really like them, maybe you can plant another 2 in a pot.

I just ate them whole and steamed or sometimes raw.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 1:13PM
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Last year I planted Clemson spineless directly in the ground ; just two plants .
I had more okra than I knew what to do with .
We ate okra almost every single day .
I made Hot Texas pickled okra - great for hurricane supplies .
All my relatives begged for more jars .
I froze okra and it freezes beautifully. Was gone by December .
I'll freeze a lot more this time .
When I finally yanked the enormous plants out of the ground in November ,
the roots showed no signs at all of nematode damage .
This year I planted the hybrid ,Cajun Delight , in the ground .
Plants are up and doing well already .
Be sure to soak the seeds overnight before you plant them .
Several people swear by soaking them in buttermilk .
As Silvia said , the pods are sweet and delicious when eaten raw .
Good luck !

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 1:57PM
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I have only eaten them prepared fried or in a stew.

When I was a kid, my mother tried them out on the family one time and prepared it by boiling it in water (like you would carrots, potatoes or peas).

The result was a very unpalatable, gooey, slimy mess that no one would touch. LOL....we're from Boston and okra was a 'foreign' veggie. We didn't know any better.... ;-)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 2:06PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Mary - You probably have a great soil with all your cows.:) And your pickle okra sound delicious, anybody would like that.

Saintpfla - When you don't cut the okra and steam for a minute or two, nothing is slimy. It only gets like that after you cut, that is why it is used as a thickener for gumbo.

I also like breaded and fried Indian style high in the spices, but that is not for every day. :)

The trick is in the recipe, when done well all vegetables taste great!


    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 2:17PM
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Silvia - I couldn't agree's all in the preparation.

I grew up disliking vegatables - vehemently. But, discovered it was due to the prepartion (sorry, Mom!). Not my Mom's fault's a Boston cultural thing. They boil the heck out of all the vegatables until there is nothing left but soggy and mushy unrecognizable remnant. Sunday dinners were the 'famous' Boston Boiled Dinner (Corned beef boiled with onions, cabbage, turnips, potatoes, carrots, etc.). I really never cared for it.

I prefer mostly raw or steamed veggies now. My Mom prefers it this way now, also. :)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 2:27PM
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cjc45(9 Mount Dora FL)

I soak the seeds until they are starting to burst open.

If you're going to boil the okra, cut off the stem just past where the fruit begins so that there is a little stem to hold the pod closed. Cook with the tiny field peas and a little onion.

My favorite recipe: Saute some onions and bacon. Cut up the okra and add to the onions along with some stewed tomatoes. Add hot sauce to taste. Cook until okra is tender. This also freezes well.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 2:33PM
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cjc45: that sounds yummy!

Thanks for the tips of soaking the seeds. I'll keep you all posted on my progress!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 6:03PM
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I am sorry folks. I am sure all of you are fine, upstanding citizens, pay your taxes, pet your dog, call your mom on Mother's Day and all, but, please don't tout okra as edible.

"So few people eat okra (more radishes are grown in this country) that it never even makes it onto the lists of Top 10 hated foods"...Julia Reed

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 7:28PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

With two plants it's going to depend on whether you already have nematodes or you don't. I'd get some container potting mix if I were you and start another 2-3 plants each in two 3.5-5 gallon containers. I know Lowe's is close for you so I'd consider Jungle Growth Professional Flower and Veggie mix since it has 55% pine fines, will drain fairly well and is considerably cheaper than MG. Otherwise, you can come up our place and I'll mix you a batch big enough for a few containers...I have several bags of fines left for the summer and no real plans for them ;-)

We eat most of our okra cut up and sautéed in olive oil until it's almost blackened, seasoned with just salt and pepper...turns out crispy and a lot like fried but much healthier.

I like gumbo but Cathy doesn't so pickled is our second preference, if you've never tried it you're really missing out....


    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 7:31PM
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I grew lots of okra in Tampa when I had sandy soil, only I didn't know that if you wait too long to pick and they get big they are real tough and inedible. I tried here (clay soil) and they didn't do anything, we probably have nematodes.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 8:23PM
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I am currently growing okra in the ground in N Fl. They are amazing. It's my first time and I am thrilled See pix Funny thing is, they are not growing at the same rate. Some are almost ready, some are just blooming.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 9:49PM
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if you have clayey soil you almost definitely do not have nematodes!

and i was unaware that there was any way to eat okra that didnt involve a deep fryer!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 4:48PM
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I've lived here 4 years now and tried planting okra in a raised bed the first summer. I only had a few plants, and one night the lubbers ate them down to the ground. Maybe next summer I'll try again. I toss them with a little oil and salt and through them in a basket on the grill, mmmm....

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 5:18PM
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I brought okra seedling and some of them are two's or three's in a small cup. Since their roots must have intertwined already. ,can you plant them in threes or two's in the ground or on a container?. Would they not produce smaller fruits since they might compete with each other as they grow in two's or three's? I wish for answers/help please?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 7:24PM
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You can divide the okra plant roots with a sharp knife if the plants are still small. If you plant them together they might need a little more fertilizer and water as they grow.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 7:37PM
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I am sorry I missed this thread last year. I think Clemson Spineless is a very good variety. If you plant okra in the ground, they are nematode factories - you will be worse off than before. I have planted them in large containers and they still got nematodes! You have to isolate the bottom of the containers from contact with the ground. I call okra nematode candy. We prefer to eat it raw when small, otherwise cooked whole on the grill or cooked with tomatoes. That slime is fiber. Fiber reduces cholesterol.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 7:59PM
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