okra seeds ~ Okra is a wonderful vegetable used in all sorts of soups and stews. It is versatile, but not a lot of people actually grow it. There’s no reason not to add this vegetable to your garden because of its many used
It botanical name is hibiscus esculentus
Climatic And Ecological Requirements Of Okra Seeds:
okra seeds can be grown anywhere in Ghana but as a warm season crop it does best in warm moist soils. Low lying areas with evenly distributed annual rainfall of up to 1000 mm and temperatures between 25-350c are most suitable
The crop can withstand extreme temperatures as occur in the dry season.
Varieties Of Okra
Site Selection For Okra:
It is grown on sandy to clay soils but relatively light, well-drained, rich soils are ideal. Well-manured loamy soils with pH of 6.0-6.8 (slightly acidic) are recommended.
The land should be cleared of trees, grasses and root stumps, double plough and harrow soil to a fine tilt. Incorporate well decomposed manure at 20 MT/ha to improve the soil texture and aeration. Prepare ridges and furrows spaced 60cm apart.
You can also start okra directly in your garden 3 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost date as long as you cover the plants with a cold frame or grow tunnel until the weather warms up. Make sure that the covering is 2 to 3 feet tall so that the plants have room to grow.
If you do not start your okra plants early, wait until there is stable warm weather. You can plant okra in the garden when the soil has warmed to 65° to 70°F.
Plant okra seeds in fertile-well-drained soil in full light about ½ to 1 inch deep and 12 to 18 inches apart. You can soak the seeds overnight in tepid water to help speed up germination.
If you are planting okra transplants, be sure to space them 1 to 2 feet apart to give them ample room to grow.
Okra plants are tall, so be sure to space out the rows 3 to 4 feet apart.
3-5 kg/ha depending on variety and seed viability.
Adequate soil moisture is necessary for optimum growth and yield. A regular irrigation schedule of 350 mm of water every 10 days is recommended for maximum yields.
Fertilizer Application of okra:
As a general rule, apply NPK 15-15-15 at 220 kg/ha at planting. During flowering apply 110-150 kg/ha of Sulphate of Ammonia or 75 kg of Urea.
Keep the field free of weeds with inter-row cultivators, by applying approved pre and post emergent herbicides, hoeing or handpicking. Avoid damaging plant roots.
Pest and Disease control:
Common pests of Okra include Aphids, Diamond back moth Whitefly, Bollworm, Jassids, Cotton stainer and boll worm, Leaf roller, Mealy bug, Sting bug. To control, adopt IPM practices.
Root –knot nematodes:
Nematodes feed on young root causing wilt and produce large galls on the roots thus reducing fruit yield. Apply neem cake at 250 kg/ha.
Diseases of okra:
Characterized by white dusty growth on the leaves which turn brown and die out . To control, spray seedlings with Sulphur-based fungicides and remove weeds.
Leaf curl and Mosaic:
Both transmitted by Aphids and Whiteflies.
Leaves are small and cup-shaped with prominent veins at the underside of the leaf. Plants become stunted.
Leaves are of normal size and shape but are mottled green or yellow in colour. Plants become stunted. To control plant resistant varieties . Control vectors with EPA approved insecticides and/or insecticidal soaps before diseases spread. Avoid smoking or carrying cigarettes to the farm when working or handling seedlings, rouge out affected plants early. Practice crop rotation with non-susceptible crops.
Harvest pods while still tender, usually, 5-6 days after flower opening. Okra should be harvested 2-3 times/ week. Regular picking increases yield. Cut or snap pods from the plant in the cooler parts of the day. Pods should be kept in a cool place.
Harvested okra should be handled carefully to avoid bruising. Bruised pods will turn black or brown within a few hours. Okra harvesters should always wear cotton gloves when harvesting and handling pods to minimize bruising.
Storage of okra:
Refrigerate in plastic bag; do not wash until ready to use.
Wash okra thoroughly and remove stems;
Blanch (plunge into boiling water) for three minutes and chill quickly in ice cold water; Drain off excess moisture, leave okra whole or slice, and package in airtight containers or freezer bags.