Okra should be planted about 18 to 24 inches apart in rows (if you are using rows) that are about two to three feet apart. Note they may turn black from chill damage if placed in a refrigerator. Harvesting okra can be tricky, however, because you have to harvest the pods before they become tough. The plant is covered with potentially irritating spines or hairs depending on the variety. Easy Baked Frozen Okra In Photos: Buy pre-sliced, frozen okra – preferably when it goes on sale at the grocery store for $1 a bag. Fortunately, okra is a very durable plant that tolerates heavy pruning and pinching to promote shorter, bushier growth. Once you harvest the lower pods, you don't need to worry about checking the same node for more pods later in the season. This will make for a great crop the second time around. Learn how to prune and harvest okra for a bounty all season long. This allows the plant to become well-established before pinching so that it has plenty of energy to devote to the new flush of growth. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! It takes only about four days from the time of flowering to the time to pick okra. Generally, I cut the okra pod from the plant and let it drop on the ground since my hands are full. Improve native soil by mixing in several inches of … The typical okra plant height is 4 to 6 feet tall in hot, sunny climates. If the pods are tender, use a sharp knife to cut the stem cleanly just below the okra pod. For longer storage, okra may be frozen. The large seeds of okra are easy to separate from the chaff through screening and winnowing. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Take off about one third of the plant's total height. Once you’re done picking okra, store them in plastic bags in your refrigerator where they will last about a week, or freeze the pods if you have too much to use. She graduated from Indiana University Southeast with a Bachelor's degree in English. Use your hands to lightly rub down each pod to remove any dirt or pesticides from the surface of the veggies. Okra produces pods from the ground up. Try to get the plant into full sun for a good crop. It's easy to promote bushier growth in an okra plant (Abelmoschus esculentus), but there's a case to be made for following a different pruning approach with this prolific vegetable. Plant okra seeds about ½ to 1 inch deep and 12 to 18 inches apart in a row. Use a garden hoe to make 1"-deep furrows in the garden bed. A: Yes, you can prune okra but you have to do it right. Her work has been published around the web, including on home improvement sites like Ron and Lisa. Leaving the pods on the plant to mature like this slows down the development of new pods. You can soak the seeds overnight in tepid water to help speed up germination. You want to cut the okra about a 1/4-inch below the base of the pod. Cut the whole plant down to within 6 to 8 inches of the ground, leaving eight to 10 leaf nodes, in late summer in areas where you still have from 80 to 100 days until your first expected frost. YouTube: Hoss Tools: How to Prune Okra for Easier Harvesting! Remove it anyway to prevent it from going to seed. Trimming back overgrown okra plants will not only make them more accessible come harvest time, it will also allow the plants to focus their energy on producing new pods for harvesting. If you're overwhelmed with the amount of okra pods you collect throughout the summer, preserve them by freezing or canning. Harvest to Table: How to Harvest and Store Okra. Okra pods are most suitable for eating when they're young and tender. Place the presoaked seeds into the furrows, spacing them 6" apart. Even varieties termed “spineless” may still irritate sensitive individuals. Use a knife to cut the stems just above the cap. The okra plant can grow 4-6 feet tall, and produces vibrant okra flower blossoms that have yellow to white petals. This tutorial is going to show you how to prime and cut okra for cooking. Cut away the main stem of the okra plant with pruning shears to its desired height. As a member of the mallow family, okra has the prettiest blossoms in the garden resembling its cousin, the flowering hibiscus.. Scientifically dubbed Abelmoschus esculentus, okra plants are a warm-season crop grown in home gardens throughout the Southern united states and other warm regions around the world. The seeds will come out easily, so keep a bowl nearby. Like many plants, Okra slow down production, or stop, when that plant successfully matures some seeds. How To: Plant dahlia flowers in your garden How To: Set up drip irrigation for a container garden How To: Build a home garden in a small space How To: Plant winter vegetable gardens How To: Prime and cut okra How To: Grow vegetables late in the season This makes it super easy to find the next batch of okra ready to harvest, because you can just look for the lowest branches. When they sprout, pull every other one so the final spacing is 24″. Cut back okra so the plant can reestablish itself. Store okra in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. So however you choose to start them, a good tip for speeding germination is to soak seeds over night in water and score them with a sharp knife before putting them into the soil.. How To plant. Space the furrows 24" apart. Okra pods can grow as long 7-10 inches and are long and tapered towards the blossom end. Pods should be harvested when they are 2 1⁄2 to 3 1⁄2 inches long. Choose okra that is evenly green and about 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) long. Storage and Viability. Okra plant leaves turn yellow due to the lack of sunlight and nutrients supplied to the plants. After the first harvest, apply 1 cup of garden fertilizer for each 10 feet of row. Leaving them on will produce a higher quantity of shorter okras, sort of like this same situation in tomatoes. These yellow leaves lack chlorophyll pigments, catalyst that converts sunlight to food for the plant and are naturally resistance to … Cut the tops of the plants back to 4 feet as they reach 6 feet. Okra plants are … If you are planting okra in a raised bed, the okra plants should be about 12 to 18 inches apart, and the raised bed needs to be at least 12 inches deep. Make the cut on … In these cases, it is best to cut the tops back, removing one-third of the plant. Pruning okra to be "leggy" instead of bushy can make it easier to maneuver around the plants for harvesting and weed control. It is not a "set it and forget it" crop. Consider okra a “cut-and-come-again” sort of plant — keep harvesting, and the harvest will keep coming. Just remember to wear long sleeves and gloves if you grow a spiny variety of okra, or you may experience skin irritation while harvesting. Once the plants get taller (okra plants can get 5 – 7 feet tall) you don’t have to use one hand to hold the leaves back, and you can catch the okra as you cut. Harvest to Table recommends cutting the top of okra plants again in late summer. Remove any of the plant's fast-growing lateral stems with the pruning shears to control its spread. You should consider wearing gloves while handling your okra harvest. If you leave them too long, the pods get hard and woody. How to plant okra seedlings: When planting okra from seedlings, choose only the strongest seedlings with bright foliage and sturdy stems. Cover and water thoroughly, giving them a deep soaking every four or five days. How to Pick Okra. Okra keeps producing more pods as long as you keep harvesting them. So when using the pruning shears, he will cut where the okra pod and the lateral branch stem meet which gives us a clean-cut and a nice little okra pod picked. When cutting okra, you should always wear gloves as most varieties are covered in … Mix together. Wash the uncut okra. Plants should be spaced 10-12 inches apart, and rows should be … Instead of harvesting okra, if you want to save some pods for seed leave them on the plant and harvest okra when they become fully mature and almost dry. Plan to remove the top of the okra plant at least twice during the growing season. If the pods are tender, use a sharp knife to cut the stem cleanly just below the okra pod. It is best to plant okra after daytime temps hit 85 degrees and nighttime temps reach the low 60s. Picking okra is simple; just test the larger pods by cutting them open with a sharp knife. Inc. 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