Growing and Harvesting Okra


I planted my okra a little later than usual in June.  This plant like lots of sun and warm weather.  In spite of the cool summer, I still got a fair amount.  While  I didn’t grow okra last year, I grew three okra plants the year before that and had so many okras that I couldn’t keep up with them.

I typically plant them about 12 inches apart in a sunny spot.  I harvest them when the pods are less than 5 inches long and use scissors or a knife to cut the pods.  If the pod get much larger, they will become woody and stringy.

I am growing the following two varieties, the Clemson Spineless #80 from Ferry-Morse and Burgundy Okra from Burpee.  I bought these see packets at my local Lowes Store.  Unfortunately you can’t buy Ferry Morse seeds online.


First take a look at the beautiful flower (see the 1st picture above) that is produced by the Burgundy Okra plant.  This flower is very similar to a hibiscus flower which is a cousin plant!  A word of advice – don’t pick this flower because it produces the okra which comes out after the flower.  As you may have guessed by the name, the Burgundy Okra produces beautiful burgundy okra pods (see below) and the stems and the veins in the leaves are burgundy.


The Clemson Okra is pictured below.  It has green leaves, stems and okra.


Both of these varieties appear to be spineless.  If you are not growing the spineless variety, you may want to use gardening cloves when harvesting!

Here are some tips that I learned for next year.  I am going to start my seedling indoors about 6 weeks before the last frost or plant my seeds directly in the ground under cover about a month before the last frost.  These plants need about 55 days of warm weather to produce.  I had two things working against production this year which were a late start and cool weather.

Also, I am not going to grow beans right next to the okra because they grew at a faster rate and shaded the okra.  In both pictures directly above, you can see the leaves of the bean plants right in front.


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