The Q&A Archives: Tips on Growing Okra

Question: I'm trying to find more info on the best growing conditions for okra, but having no luck. What are the best soil conditions for okra? How often would you recommend fertilizing? I have two plants in my garden which don't seem to be growing very quickly, while one plant that is in a container with only seed starter is doing great and twice the others' size. I am assuming this is do to the difference in the growing medium. Can you think of any reason not to continue to grow a container plant in thesoilless mix? Are there any special needs if doing this, other than keeping up with fertilizing the plant? I have two container cherry tomatoes that seem to be doing great in the soilless mix, while two in a soil mix are growing at a slower rate. Thanks for the info. Melinda Bartoszewicz Tallahassee, FL

Answer: Okra is best planted directly into the ground into light well drained loam with plenty of organic matter. They should be grown in full sun. They should be fertilized three times: after they have been thinned, when the start producing fruit, and midway into their growing season. Okra can get tall up to 5' so they are not good for container growing--unless your container is very large. They also feed with surface roots so mulch to both keep down weeds and retain moisture. Cherry tomatoes do very well as container plants and are even good as hanging plants. Keep them constantly watered and regularly fertilized with a liquid fertilizer. Consider having your garden soil tested to see if there's anything out of order--is your pH alright? Nutrient levels? You can begin to improve the soil in your garden by adding lots of organic matter--compost, leaves, grass clippings, etc.

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