Warm-season vegetable from tropical Asia. Large, erect, bushy plant to 6 ft. tall, with big, bold, deeply lobed leaves; the edible pods are produced in leaf joints. Grows well under same conditions as sweet corn.
Plant when danger of frost is past and ground has warmed to 70°F/21°C. To speed germination, soak seeds for 24 hours before planting; use only seeds that are swollen. Leave 2 1/2°4 ft. between rows; thin plants to 1°1 1/2 ft. apart. Apply a complete fertilizer when the first pods set, again when plants are shoulder high. Begin picking when pods are 2°4 in. long (wear gloves, since pods are prickly). Pick every 2 days or so; plants stop producing if pods are not harvested. Okra takes 55 to 60 days from planting to harvest.
°Annie Oakley° and °Cajun Delight° are early varieties that mature in areas with a short growing season. °Burgundy° has red leaves and pods, looks attractive in containers. Grown in a large tub in a warm spot, a single okra plant can yield a crop large enough to make it worth growing. Okra is used to flavor and thicken soups and gumbos; it can also be saut°ed, steamed, or batter-fried.
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