rookiegardener29(zone 6)May 20, 2009

I have 6 okra plants in the ground and it seems as if that is the only thing that is not growing. It isn't dead, just not growing. I am confused. Maybe it is the wrong time for them. Any suggestions?

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Two things. First, okra thrives in heat and we've had a cool, wet spring. Mine is just sitting there too, and I'm not the least bit concerned. Give it a couple of weeks and it will take off. Two, often times when a plant looks like it's not growing, it's only because it is using its energy to grow good strong roots. It is growing, just not where you can see it. From a weather perspective it is still early for okra to be thriving. Patience will reward you.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 5:13PM
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rookiegardener29(zone 6)

Thanks Seedmama! I was thinking that was probably the case. Everything else is doing great. I will just leave it alone and quit worrying about it. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 5:36PM
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Yeah, I generally have planted okra in the past around June 1, so I think your okra plants should be just fine. Our spring has been strange, so I think everything looks a little stunted right now( at least most of what I've got). I wouldn't worry too much.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 9:02PM
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My okra is about 2-3 inches tall and like yours it seems in "stall" mode right now. They didn't seem to like all the rain, but this warmer weather should help.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 1:13AM
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Don't fret...the okra will take off soon enough and you won't be able to keep up with it! LOL

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 9:13AM
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I plan on planting mine this weekend. It is a warm weather crop. Anytime I've tried to hurry it I either get poor germination or it just sits still once through the ground. My Mother always said from Memorial Day to June 10th here for us. It works well. Peppers is another warm weather crop I plant from Memorial day to early June. The chile farmers in NM where I was raised planted around these times and I have found that unless you want to use WOW's or a hoop row of peppers and okra better to just wait. Of course I'm a little further north than most of you so your dates might be earlier. Not sure from reading this board if you are a lot warmer this year though. Jay

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 9:45AM
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devilwoman(7a Warr Acres OK)

As long as they aren't dying, they're fine. Okra is originally from Africa and likes it really, really hot. It also prefers long days. As soon as the season gets to hotter temps and longer days your okra will take off like crazy.

You'll notice it will do the same thing late in the season, too. Once temps get cool okra will continue to flower and make pods, but they will either take forever to get big enough to pick or else never get big enough.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 10:04AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Like Jay, I always plant okra late. It is one of the very last things to go into the ground here every spring, along with peppers, black-eyed peas, winter squash, melons and sweet potatoes. All of these heat-lovers do better planted late than when planted early.

As Debra pointed out, Okra originated in Africa (most believe it specifically originated in Ethiopia) and does best if planted after the soil and night temps both are warm.

I usually plant okra only after the night-time low temps are consistently staying above 50 degrees and the soil temp at planting depth is 70 degrees. If the weather has been excessively wet, like it has been this year, I wait even later to plant so the soil can dry.

I checked my vegetable gardening bible (The Vegetable Book: A Texan's Guide to Gardening, by Dr. Sam Cotner) to see what Dr. Cotner says about planting okra, and here it is: "Okra will produce a bumper crop only when planted and grown during warm environmental conditions. If planted too early in the spring and subjected to unfavorably cool weather, the plants will remain stunted and have low yields". He also suggests that, if you live in cotton-growing areas, you plant your okra at the same time they plant cotton. Well, I guess that probably doesn't apply to many, if any, of us so I'll mention his other suggestion: plant okra when nights have been at 50 degrees or above for five consecutive nights and the soil temperature is a minimum of 68 degrees.

And, if cool weather isn't the reason for the stunting, I'd be surprised. However, another common problem for folks trying to grow okra is that their soil pH is too low. Okra needs soil with a pH of at least 6.0 Okra also needs well-drained soil, so this year's heavy rains have been hard on any that was planted early.

Once the weather warms up/dries out a bit more, I think the okra will take off as long as it wasn't subjected to too many nights with low temps in the 40s. If the okra doesn't take off, grow and produce well in warmer weather, yank it out and replant. Okra seed germinates best when soil temps are between 75 and 90 degrees, so you'll get good production from okra planted any time the soil is in that range.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 1:10PM
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I just put in the first half of our okra, seed, two days ago. Today I'll do the other half. But it won't even begin to germinate until we get more rain. I agree with all I've read above. The stuff really doesn't do anything until it's HOT. Then it grows like a weed. I know we're in trouble if it wilts. That means DROUGHT! Otherwise nothing seems to stop it!


PS. We're waiting for pictures from our son's wedding. It was great! We're still trying to get our equilibrium after all those act ivies and guests.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 10:01AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I'm planting okra today since the temperatures are right and we have a slight chance of rain in the forecast today, with a better chance tomorrow or Sunday. I had to laugh at your comment about okra wilting because mine always wilts. Oh, wait, we almost always have drought here in the summer. Never mind. : ) The last couple of years, I've planted my okra where it gets sun from sunrise until about 3 p.m. and then shade for the rest of the day. I have less wilting and still have great production. It might not work in a very rainy cloudy summer like 2004 or 2007 but it works in an average to hotter-than-average summer.

I'd rather not have more rain yet because the garden soil is still pretty wet, but I might as well have seeds in the ground before rain falls. I'm planting winter squash today too, and have just finished planting watermelon.

In spite of all the rain we've had, I should have the entire veggie garden planted, weeded and mulched by the end of the weekend. Finally! At times, it has been hard to find the veggies in the midst of all the weeds (OK, slight exaggeration, but not much of one).

I hate to complain about rain at all because once it stops falling, it really stops.

Family weddings are tremendous fun.....but it takes a while to recover from one, doesn't it?


    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 12:27PM
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Sure does.

My gardens still look like weed patches. But we're working on them. Lost a bunch of tomato plants due to the torrential rains and wedding, etc. But we're still looking pretty good.

Jerreth and I made our first batch of goat's milk cheddar cheese yesterday. It looks great! But we'll have to wait on tasting it until it has aged a month.

Well, today's a day off. Back to the garden!


    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 1:28PM
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do I need to soak my seeds before planting? Or can i just put them in the ground and trust that this weekends rain will take care of it?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 12:53PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

They'll sprout faster if you soak them first, but they should sprout in about 7-12 days even if you don't soak them first.

Soaking them for 24 hours in room-temperature water works, or you can soak them for 90 minutes in water that has been heated to between 110-112 degrees (you can measure the temp with a candy or meat thermometer). Soaking improves germination rates and gives you better emergence.

Even pre-soaked seeds can germinate quite erratically---some may sprout in 3 or 4 days and other seed may take two weeks to sprout, so just be patient with it.

If you get enough rain this weekend, pre-soaking won't be necessary, but how much is "enough" would vary depending on your soil and how well it holds moisture.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 6:17PM
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Can anybody dignose the problem. Here in Northern NJ day temps lower 80's and night lower to mid 60's.

Thanks in advance

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 1:26PM
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Anna, did you transplant plants into the garden from indoors? The pictures make me think of sun burn, which is real common when one transplants started plants directly out into full sun. Neither grow lights nor sunlight coming through a window provide the UV light necessary to stimulate a plant to protect itself from UV rays.

If this is so, then I'd say that the middle plant is a goner and the other two are likely to pull through.

Tahlequah, OK
(born in Morristown, NJ, raised in Colts Neck, NJ and from 2001-2005 lived in Jackson, NJ)

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 1:37PM
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Thanks for quick response. Yes, these were transplants, bought from Rutgers Plant Sale. I am not sure if they were hardened enough, I just bought them and transplanted--did not even think of hardening them!!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 2:51PM
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