HOW TO GROW OKRA-THE STEP BY STEP OKRA FARMING PROCEDURE

How to grow okra-the step by step okra farming procedure

How to grow okra-
the step by step okra farming procedure

Okra is a vegetable that provides all summer. When you harvest a pod, another one grows in its place. It is related to the hibiscus plant and produces beautiful flowers. Okra grows best in warm climates, but even if you live in a mountainous area, you can grow okra by starting it from seed indoors and transplanting it when the weather warms.
 

1. Decide how to start your seed.

 
 Decide how to start your seed. If you live in a hot tropical climate with mild winters, it's easy to grow okra in your garden instead of growing it indoors. You'll want to plant okra in early spring, after the last frost of the year, when temperatures don't drop below 55 degrees at night. If this happens in late spring or summer where you live, it is best to start your seeds indoors 2 to 3 weeks before the last frost. When the plants are strong and the weather is warm, you transplant them into your garden.

  •  To start seeds indoors, plant them in peat starter and water well. Keep them in a warm, sunny room or use a grow light to keep them warm during the seeding season. Keep the temperature between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  •  When the weather warms up and you're ready to plant, follow the same steps you would use to grow okra from seed outdoors. 

 2. Choose the sunniest spot in your garden.
 
 Choose the sunniest spot in your garden. Okra grows best in full, warm sun. If you try to grow it in the shade, it won't produce much, if any, fruit. Okra should be planted in a location that receives at least 6 hours of full sun per day. Don't worry if it's too hot: okra thrives at the height of summer, when the sun hits the garden at its best. 

 3. Adjust the soil pH.
 
 Adjust soil pH. Okra grows best in soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0. Test the pH level of your soil to determine if it is within the appropriate pH range. You can work in limestone or bone meal to increase the pH of the soil. If you want not to change the pH level of your soil by making something strong, you can work with a lot of compost, which will make the pH appear neutral, or 7.

Read also:HOW TO GROW SPINACH - INDOORS OR OUTDOORS FOR HEALTHY LEAVES

4. Make the soil nutritious.

 Keep the soil well-nourished. Okra grows best in rich, nutritious soil. You can enrich your soil by using compost, bagged organic fertilizer, or a quick-release 4-6-6 fertilizer. Either way, till the soil to a depth of 12 inches (30.5 cm) and work in 4 inches (10.2 cm) of compost or fertilizer using a garden rake to distribute it evenly. 

Neglecting to add nutrients to the soil can result in okra plants not producing large amounts of fruit.

5. Sow the seeds or plant the seedlings.

 Sow seeds or plant seedlings. When the weather warms up, it's time to plant okra in your garden. Sow your seeds 4 inches (10.2 cm) apart and 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) deep. If you started your seeds indoors, handle the plants well and plant them 1 foot (0.3 m.) apart in rows 3 feet (0.9 m.) apart. Dig holes large enough to hold the root ball and gently tamp the soil around the base of the plant. Water the garden to help settle the soil. 

If you want to make your seeds to germinate faster, you can soak them overnight before planting or leave them to break the shells.

If you are transplanting seedlings, do not cut off their small taproots. If they are crushed, the tree will not grow.
  

Caring for the okra

  Keep the okra well watered.
 
Okra should receive at least one inch of water per week. Water every morning to soften the soil, except after heavy rains. Okra can withstand drought, but it grows best when given plenty of water during the summer.
 

It is best to water okra in the morning so the plants have time to dry before sunset. If the garden bed retained water overnight, the plants may start to rot.

 When you water okra, try not to get water on the leaves. When the sun begins to hit the okra leaves, the water causes the leaves to acts as a magnifying glass and burn the okra leaves.

2. Thin the seedlings. 

When the seeds you planted have grown and reached three inches in length, remove the smaller seeds and leave the strongest ones standing. Thin them out so that the remaining plants are between 1 foot (0.3 m) to 2 feet (0.6 m), in rows 3 feet (0.9 m) apart. If you transplanted the seeds you started indoors, you can skip this step.

 3. Weeds and mulch the  okra bed

While okra is still growing, mulch the beds to get rid of weeds. Then, cover the area around the plant with a thick layer of mulch, such as pine straw. This will prevent other weeds from emerging and taking over the bed.

4. Cover the plants with compost.

Since okra needs a lot of nutrients to grow, it's a good idea to keep adding compost throughout the summer. You should side dress the okra and compost three times: once after sowing the plant, once when the first pods begin to grow, and the third time half through the growing season. For side dress, just rake a few inches of compost around the plant, so that the soil is enriched. 

You can also side dress with more bags of fertilizer or slow-release fertilizer.
 Do not side dress the plant too often; three times is enough. Adding too much compost or fertilizer can harm the plants more than it helps them.

5. Watch out for pests.

Watch out for insects. Aphids, stink bugs, and corn earworms love to feed on okra plants. The plants are hardy and generally won't fail due to pests, but it's a good idea to keep their numbers low to get the most out of your okra harvest. Inspect stems and leaves regularly for holes, yellowing leaves and other signs of disease. You can remove the insects by hand or spray the leaves with soapy water to get rid of the insects.
 
Harvesting and using okra

Cut and come back

About eight weeks after sowing the okra, the pod will begin to grow. Once you see the first okra fruits appear and grow, you can start harvesting them regularly. Use scissors or hand pruners to cut the okra pods at the top of their caps, where the large stem meets the branch. 

As soon as you cut, another okra pod will appear from the same place. Continue harvesting okra throughout the summer until the growing season slows and the plant stops producing new pods. Harvest when they are 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 7.6 cm) tall.


 Harvest okra every other day, and every day in hot weather and at the right time, to promote rapid growth. You can even harvest twice a day to harvest at the peak of the season. If the pods are too big, they will be dry and tough. 

You may want to wear gloves and long sleeves when picking okra. The leaves are covered with spin and the pods can irritate the skin.

Read also:10 TIPS FOR GROWING TOMATO PLANTS IN A POT

 2. Eat okra when it is fresh. 

Eat okra when it is fresh. The taste and texture of okra is best a few days after harvest. You will likely have plenty of okra that you can use to make classic dishes like these:

 Fried okra

 Gumbo

Stew okra

 
3.  Pickle the okra

This is a great way to preserve the flavor and texture of okra for months to come. You can pickle okra the same way you pickle cucumbers, using a salty brine. Marinate okra immediately after harvest for best results. 

Freeze extra okra
 
If you have a large amount to eat or want to be able to enjoy okra in the winter, freezing it is a good option. To freeze okra, blanch it for 3 minutes, soak it in a water bath so it doesn't overcook, then cut it into bite-sized pieces. Place the pieces on a tray and freeze them until hard, then transfer them to a freezer bag for long-term storage.

 What are the health benefits of okra

  •  Okra helps control hunger

 
Okra contains soluble fiber that makes you feel full faster and longer. This controls appetite and controls your calorie intake, making it possible to achieve your weight loss goals.

  • It contains essential nutrients that can fight malnutrition.

 
Getting rid of malnutrition is possible thanks to okra because the pod contains fiber, protein, iron, calcium and zinc which are essential for the body. 

  •  Okra seeds contain antioxidants that can delay fatigue

 
Flavonoids and polyphenols in okra seeds promote glycogen storage in the liver. As glycogen (muscle fat) is stored in the body, this means you won't tire as easily.


  • Vitamin A in Okra helps improve eyesight

 
Okra contains vitamin A and beta-carotene which are nutrients for maintaining good eyesight.
 
These foods are known to prevent eye diseases and protect against age-related eye problems.

  •  Prevents H. pylori infection and gastritis

 
Okra juice prevents bacteria that cause inflammation (gastritis) from entering the surface of the intestine.

H. pylori infection affects children aged 2 to 5 years, so it is good to feed them okra regularly.

  •  Okra provides calcium and magnesium to the body

 According to research, okra is a rich source of calcium and magnesium. Therefore, eating okra helps to reduce magnesium and calcium deficiency.

  • Prevents osteoporosis and bleeding disorders

 
Okra is rich in vitamin K which promotes blood clotting in case of injury or clotting disorder.
 
It also prevents osteoporosis (bone disease) and strengthens bones.

  •  Contains lectin that kills breast cancer cells

 
Lectin obtained from okra induces cell suicide in breast cancer cells. Research reveals that about 63 percent inhibited the growth of cancer cells.

  • It stabilizes cholesterol levels and helps improve heart health

 
Okra supports the destruction of cholesterol due to its soluble fiber and prevents the production of fat in the body.

By regulating cholesterol levels in the blood, okra can prevent the blockage of arteries, thus protecting us from heart disease.

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