Okra is no stranger to most Southern backyard gardens. It also has been grown for fresh market in the South for many generations. In recent years it has become an important commercial crop in some areas for freezing and processing in soup mixtures.
Young okra pods 3 to 4 inches long are more tender and have more food value than those 5 or 6 inches long.
Okra lovers can now have fresh okra the year-round. Okra is a warm-season crop. Don't plant until after soil has warmed up in the spring. You can make one plan bear all summer by not allowing pods to mature on the stalks and keep plants well supplied with fertilizer and moisture.
Also, in many gardens necessary to fumigate for control of root knot and other nematodes since okra is very susceptible. To make sure you have okra until frost, many gardeners make a second planting about 45 to 60 days after the first.
Plant okra in well prepared rows 3 to 4 1/2 feet wide and in hills 12 to 18 inches apart. Thin to one or two plants per hill. Before planting, apply fertilizer liberally using 6 to 8 pounds of high grade fertilizer such as 8-8-8 per feet of row.
After okra starts bearing two or three side-dressings with nitrogen or complete fertilizer will help keep it bearing all summer.
Okra is a good source of vitamins A and C and calcium and fairly high in iron and vitamin B.