If you’re looking into planting new things in your backyard, okra may be at the top of your list. The green plant contains edible pods that people often use to prepare different meals. Okra is a common staple in households across the country.
Because you can grow it and use it as a primary ingredient to make flavorful foods, it’s a good idea to grow it. Before you get started, you’ll need to know a bit more about okra and how to grow it.
The Many Types of Okra
Did you know that there is more than just one type of okra in existence? Before you begin planting this fruit, you’ll need to know a bit more about the types.
Red Burgundy Okra
The Red Burgundy Okra is a high yield plant with pods up to 8″ long. Tender and a beautiful burgundy color okra pods. It even has deep red color stems to add beauty to your vegetable garden.
This, as most okra, will thrive in very hot temperatures so it is a wonderful summer crop to grow. This okra will be ready to harvest in about 55 days from planting.
The Baby Bubba Hybrid okra seeds have a reputation for being some of the best okra seeds available. The great thing about this version is that the seeds will transform into a plant that doesn’t take up a lot of space in your backyard garden.
Despite not taking up much space, giving you plenty of room to work with, you’ll still end up with tons of pods. If you’re looking to grow as much okra as you can with limited space, this is a great option.
Clemson Spineless okra grows taller than some other options. Although it can reach more elevated heights, it’s best to chop these plants down when they are about four inches long. The pods attached to these plants are dark green and textured.
If you’re into Creole-style cooking, you’ll love the Cajun Delight version of okra. It has a unique, robust taste that goes great when added to soups, stews, jambalaya, and other wholesome meals. The pods that grow on these plants are plentiful, making this type of okra another great version to plant in your backyard.
Emerald Green Velvet
If you like to can and freeze your home-grown okra then you should consider the Emerald Green Velvet. The Emerald Green Velvet will keep its bright green color when freeze or can it! The plant will grow up to 2′ tall and is a heavy producer of 7 – 9″ spineless, dark green, pods. This variety will even stay tender when it grows large.
Fantastic in stews and soups as well as fried!
When you want to enjoy longer pods that have a tender texture, it’s the Cow Horn okra that you need to try. You’ll need to cut other types of okra plants when they reach a height of about four inches, but that’s not the case for this variation. You can allow it to grow up to 10 inches before cutting it without worrying about it becoming hard and difficult to use in recipes.
While these are some of the okra types available, you’ll be surprised to learn that there are other variations. You can choose to plant some of these variations to enjoy fresh okra from your backyard in some of your favorite foods.
When to Grow Okra
Knowing when it’s the best time to grow okra is essential. You’ll need to choose the right time to ensure that your plant grows to its fullest potential. You can begin planting okra in the spring, waiting about three weeks after the winter weather has surpassed before getting started. It’s also possible to cultivate this fruit in the summer to get it to grow before the frost begins in the fall.
Take advantage of the warmer weather when planting okra.
How to Plant Your Okra Seeds
After choosing the okra variations that you’d like to grow in your backyard, you can focus on planting them in the soil.
- Test the soil to make sure the pH matches with what works best for okra growth. The seeds tend to thrive best when planted in soil with a pH above 6.5 and below 7.6.
- It’s also beneficial to add compost to the soil because the compost can enhance its quality.
- Once you’ve selected your seeds and have the right soil to use in the backyard, it’s time to get started with the planting process.
- Choose a sunny spot in your backyard. Okra needs plenty of sunlight to grow. Place your seeds an inch deep into the soil and keep them about two inches apart.
- You’ll need to keep the seeds about two inches apart to give your okra plants plenty of space.
- If you plant the seeds too close, your okra may begin overlapping, causing damage to the pods attached to the plant leaves.
Keeping Your Plants Hydrated
You’ll need to know how much water is enough water for your plants. You don’t want the soil to become dry, but you also don’t want to overdo it by adding too much water to your plants. It’s a good idea to add about an inch of water to your okra plants per week.
However, this does vary based on certain factors. If you’re growing okra in an area where it’s sweltering and humid, your plants might need more water. You’ll need to test the soil daily to make sure it’s still moist enough.
If you decide to use sand-like soil, expect your plants to need more water. You don’t want to use heavy soil. Make sure that your soil doesn’t become too soggy. While you don’t want to have dry soil, you also don’t want your soil to become too wet to the point that your plants struggle to grow. Consider using organic soil to avoid having to spend too much time adding amendments to your soil.
How Long Does It Take for Okra to Grow?
You’re probably wondering how long it’s going to take for your okra to grow. These plants tend to become mature within six to eight weeks. However, some types of okra may take a bit longer. Continue to monitor your plants regularly to watch for any progress. Once you notice the okra blooms fading, it’s a good time to start harvesting your plants. You can also use a tape measure to determine the length of the pods before you harvest them.
Growing okra in the backyard is an excellent idea. Once you have it, you can make different foods with it. However, you’ll need to decide on the specific types you’d like to grow before getting started. It would help if you took time to get suitable soil and choose the proper spot for growing these plants. If you take the proper steps, you’ll have okra in your backyard within a few months.
When growing okra you’ll need to be aware of some garden pests that may try to attack your plants.
- Corn Earworms
- Stink Bugs
- Caterpillars and Cabbage Worms
- Japanese Beetles