We recommend starting transplants 4-5 weeks before the desired outdoor planting date. Nicking the seed coat of okra seeds can help improve germination rates. Okra grows a long taproot that needs sufficient depth in order to grow. The first harvest should be ready in about 2 months, depending on the weather, the watering conditions and the health of the plant. Okra usually is grown from seed, and there is a good reason for that. Plant okra in the spring several weeks after all danger of frost has passed. 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. Planting. Many okra varieties can get very tall – sometimes reaching seven feet or more in height. You can speed up the seedlings' growth … Sow the okra seeds ½ inch deep in light soil and 1 inch deep in heavy soil. Okra is rich in vitamin A, and the low-calorie vegetable produces beautiful flowers during the growing season that enhance the look of your garden. Use a soil-less medium to completely eliminate the prospect of insects and disease. An African native, okra was cultivated by ancient Egyptians in the 12th century B.C., and it spread... Okra Growing Stages. Once the seed tray cell has been cut on both sides, the cell can easily be removed. Also: Choose a location in full sun for the newly planted seedlings. To remove the okra seedlings, I simply use a sharp knife and cut each seed cell down both sides to form a small pot. Gently remove them from the pot, separate the seedlings, and set them about 10 inches apart. This gives the plants a chance to settle into the soil without being instantly exposed to the intense midday sun. You can do one of two things at this point in the transplanting – you can plant the okra seedling with the entire peat pot, you can remove the very bottom of the peat pot, or you can remove the entire peat pot altogether. Is this what it meant by leggy? Prepare the soil, with a hole and a soil-less medium at the base of the hole. Okra seedlings have fragile taproots that you need to be careful not to damage. Our first set just evaporated within a few weeks. Plant on the east side of the okra so the melons benefit from morning, or on the west side for afternoon sun. Timing the planting of the seedlings is crucial to the development of your crop; okra is best suited to U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 6 through 11. Space the rows at least 3 feet apart. Once the okra seedling is at the proper depth cover with soil or compost. Don’t put them in harsh sun, rather, gentle light. This will help to break the seed coat. Okra Seeds Germination. Always look for the stronger plants when thinning. Transplant shock can be very common when transplanting seedlings, and many times the seedling may need a bit of help recovering. Okra grows easily in the South, where the warm weather and sun produce a year-round crop, with the height of the season falling in the summer months. Transplant okra to the garden after seedlings are at least 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) tall. The okra seedling can be transplanted with the entire peat pot (except the top portion you removed earlier) because the peat pot is entirely biodegradable. Manage Consent, Tweets that mention How To Transplant Okra Seedlings : Veggie Gardener -- Topsy.com. You can transplant the seedlings without removing them from their pots to reduce root disturbance. Thin seedlings to 18 to 24 inches apart, always choosing the strongest of the young plants. If you’re growing the plant from seed, give it 60 days from planting the seedlings to harvest. Kit_Leong Getty Images. If you decide to remove the bottom of the peat pots or the entire pot be extra careful to avoid disturbing or tearing the roots. It will eventually decompose if left in the hole. Water the plants about an hour before transplanting, so the roots will bind and be protected. Pretty enough for the flower garden, okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) is a close relative of the hollyhock. Any part of a peat pot that sits above ground after the seedling is transplanted can wick water away from the roots. Keep the pots in full sunlight during this time. We are about to plant our second set of okra plants. I wonder why? By transplanting, you can have plants in the ground before the soil temperature warms enough to direct seed. Hi John – No. This means moving the peat pots outdoors to acclimate to the weather slowly. Okra needs full sun. Soaking your okra seeds in tepid water overnight before sowing them will speed up germination. Your garden soil should be moist, but not soggy. The strong fragrance of basil repels a number of pests that like okra, including flea beetles, stinkbugs, spider mites, aphids and whiteflies. Before transplanting, tear off the top part of the pot that extends above the soil. My seedings are about 6 inches tall now, and the first true leaves are growing. Pick the pods at least every other day because they all don’t mature at once. Brought to the United States by the slaves of Western Africa in the 17th century, the Creoles of Louisiana use okra as a thickener in their stews, such as gumbo, according to Food Reference. Should I start new seeds? As okra plants have a taproot which will not allow for easy transplanting, it is best to germinate seeds directly in the ground, or to use peat pods, which can be transplanted into the ground with the seedlings. I then take an okra seedling and place one in each hole to represent where they’ll be planted. Time of Planting. Now it is the time for sowing the seeds of okra or for the plantation of seedlings. For a good fall crop, plant at least 3 months before the first fall frost. The plants will take 50 to 60 days to produce seed pods that can be harvested. After cutting them off the stalk, place them in the refrigerator. I decided to transplant the okra seedling with the peat pot intact. Your email address will not be published. Before sowing the seeds it is advised to soak okra seeds in room-temperature water for about 24 hours in order to soften the seed coat and this speed ups the sprouting time. Once the soil temperature reaches 65-70F, you can transplant your okra seedlings outdoors. Place your okra seeds into the freezer and allow them to cool overnight. Please share your techniques with us! The peat pot tray is easy to work with and makes it very easy to remove the seedlings. Many of the best and most unusual varieties of vegetables are simply not available in your local nursery and your only option is growing these plants from seeds. Every year I end up with some very leggy okra seedlings started indoors. Plant the seeds 1 inch deep every 4 to 6 inches in a row. This could hamper the okra growth or even kill the okra plant. When planting, sow seeds at ½ to 1-inch deep into the soil, spaced at 12 to 15 inches apart within a row and 24 to 36 inches between rows. The preferred method of planting okra is by sowing the seeds directly in the vegetable garden. Posted on May 11, 2010 by Admin in Discover How-to // 7 Comments. It is best to plant okra with the soil level of the seedling the same height as the soil level of the garden. Have a watering can filled and ready nearby. You might see a larger root near the center of the pot – do not tear that root. Late afternoon is a good time because plants can recover from the shock of transplanting without sitting in the midday heat and sun. The seeds have to be sown at a distance of at least 4 inches from each other and a depth of 0.5 inches. How to Plant Okra If you are planting okra transplants, be sure to space them 1 to 2 feet apart to give them ample room to grow. If the weather has been dry, water the planting … Good Housekeeping recommends soaking the seeds overnight to soften the shells and allow them to open to release the seedling. For the best yields, plant okra in the spring 2 to 3 weeks after all danger of frost has passed. Planting Okra Seeds. Adding phosphorus to the planting holes is a great way to help reduce transplant shock, and help the seedlings to develop stronger roots. How to Transplant Okra History of Okra. Sow 2-3 okra seeds 1/2 to 1 inch deep in each pot. When they are several inches high and the outdoor soil temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit with no frost on the horizon, you can transplant the seedlings either outdoors or into a container. Wrap a strip of newspaper around the base of the seedling to prevent cutworms from chewing the stems, and be sure at least 1 inch of newspaper is below ground. If you start okra seeds in a seed tray, there are a few things you should know while transplanting them in the vegetable garden. 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. When the okra is about 3 inches long, harvest the first round by snipping the pod from the stem with sterilized pruning shears and prepare for another harvest as the summer progresses. Ensure proper planting and spacing of the okra plants. Okra seeds are often started in peat or fiber pots because the roots are brittle and don't like to be disturbed. Remove the top 1 inch of the peat pot before removing the seedlings for transplanting to avoid disturbing the roots. Plant on a cloudy day. Plant the Seeds It is best to plant okra after daytime temps hit 85 degrees and nighttime temps reach the low 60s. This helps the soil hold together, reducing the amount of root disturbance and making them easier to handle. Okra transplants grow great in our heavy-duty seed starting trays , where they develop a solid root ball with roots that are trained to grow downward. How To Transplant Okra Seedlings Removing The Okra Seedlings From The Seed Tray. Preparing The Okra Seedling For Transplanting Into The Vegetable Garden. The roots are still delicate, and you should transplant the plant as quickly as possible to establish them in the ground. Start okra seeds indoors in peat pots 3-4 weeks before the last frost date in spring. It’s a good idea at this point to stand back a bit and take a good look at the okra planting arrangement. Growing okra in containers and seedling trays gives you a head start if the soil is cooler than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Okra is generally planted from seed sown directly into the garden when the soil reaches 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Mine are leggy too. Cowhorn Okra may be direct-seeded or transplanted. An African native, okra was cultivated by ancient Egyptians in the 12th century B.C., and it spread through North Africa to the Middle East. Plant the okra seeds about 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart in the row (Fig. By transplanting, you can have plants in the ground before the soil temperature warms enough to direct seed. © 2017 Carbon Media Group Agriculture Place the okra seedling in the hole you previously dug. This first growth stages of an okra is the seed phase. It doesn't have to be traumatic to you or your plants, however, if you've thoroughly prepared the soil, and hardened off the plants well, and if you keep these few basic principles in mind. Once the stalk is depleted, cut it back to the ground; fertilize the soil and prepare to grow a second crop. Sometimes it can be difficult to remove the seedlings in the plastic trays without damaging the seedling. If they begin to get very leggy to the point of falling over then you will probably need to start new seeds. In warmer regions of the country, seeds are often direct-sown. 5. Hi Mindy – if they are getting leggy then you probably need a better light source. Okra seeds take a little longer than other seeds to germinate because of their hard shell. To make them germinate faster, soak the seeds in a glass of water overnight. Late afternoon or evening is best. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Varieties of okra for high heat and low humidity areas (such as the low desert of Arizona) include Becks, Emerald Green… Make sure to space each seed at least 3 inches apart, and the rows should be 3 feet apart. Check to make sure the okra seedling is not sitting too deep or too high in the hole. When the climatic conditions are warm, it is time for the plantation of okra in your garden. How do you plant okra in your vegetable garden? In regions with short growing seasons, the seeds may be started indoors, three to … Add aged compost to planting beds in advance of transplanting. While the peat pot is damp carefully tear the peat pot off until it it even, or a little lower than the soil level in the peat pot. Once the seeds sprout, thin the seedlings to 18-24 inches apart. Repeat this same process until all the okra seedlings are transplanted into the vegetable garden. Peat pots are ideal for planting okra seeds; the plants can easily be removed for transplanting without harming the roots. Growing. As American tastes evolve to include an appreciation of regional fare, growing okra for profit is an avenue to explore as soup companies and frozen food packagers expand to fulfill requests for the vegetable, according to the University of Georgia Extension. A versatile writer, Jann enjoys research as well as doing the actual writing. Transplanting is a major step that can make or break your crop. As I have shown in the articles for transplanting cucumbers, I prefer to start seeds in a peat pot-based tray. When the okra is up and growing, thin out the plants to about 1 foot apart (Fig. Soak the okra seeds overnight or for several hours prior to planting to speed up germination. Because okra germinates and grows best when planted in soil that has warmed above 80 degrees F, northern gardeners often start seeds in flats and transplant seedlings when the weather heats up. The seeds need full sun to germinate. In cool climates, though, okra seedlings can be transplanted into cold frames or grow tunnels at about the same time as okra seeds can be sown directly into the garden. Get the Right Time Timing is everything: Peppers, eggplant, and okra are heat-loving plants. The first thing I want to do with the okra seedling is to remove the very top of the peat pot. Planting basil near your okra is also beneficial. We appreciate your very detailed recommendations pertaining to transplanting seedlings. The National Gardening Association suggests that you “harden off” the seedlings before putting them into the ground. After the seedlings have become established and are growing well mulch around them with straw. Soak the soil around new seedlings immediately after transplanting in order to settle the roots. 1). Tall? Can okra seedlings be planted a bit deeper like you can do with tomatos? Cover the seeds … If you’re interested in saving okra seeds from species in your garden, make sure … A career in television writing, as a magazine editor and celebrity interviewer, Jann adapts to her environment, having traveled the world, living overseas and packing and unpacking her treasures for a new location over 30 times. Water the soil carefully to avoid displacing the seeds. Plant the seeds ½ inch into the peat pot and gently tamp the soil over the planted seeds. To grow seedlings, plant two seeds each in multiple peat moss pots filled with vegetable potting soil. In early spring, we recommend transplanting to get a jump start on the growing season. Okra planting is done manually or by the use of seed planters. This is sometimes the best method for transplanting okra seedlings to avoid disturbing the roots. Wrap 3-inch wide strips of newspaper around the lower part of the stem, just above the roots to prevent cutworms from chewing through the tender stems. After this is completed be sure to give all the seedlings a thorough drink of water or compost tea. Take out the seeds from the water just before planting, and place them on a paper towel. or is it? A word of caution: Wear gardening gloves when harvesting; okra has little prickly shoots that can irritate the skin. Plant slightly deeper (about ½ inch) than they grew in their pots. Okra has a long taproot that can be injured during transplanting. Due to its taproot, okra doesn’t transplant well that’s why you’ll have to directly plant the seeds in the container or a biodegradable pot. What is it meant by “leggy” seedlings? Before you get started, make sure that the seeds you are saving come from a plant that has been grown alongside the same variety of okra, or that you have kept your okra plant isolated from other varieties. Okra needs warm temperatures, full sun, and can tolerate dry conditions. 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