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Okra help, I really need it  RSS feed

 
Deb Rebel
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We are taking over the truck garden from the fellow that ran it for a few years (setting up on our property though) and. I need help with Okra. Bad. I've tried growing it before several times and my luck is about knee high plants that bloom and produce me maybe 5-6 pods. Where someone else in town has 7' tall and prolific. I'm not sure what I'm missing. I give them the same love as tomatoes and even install cages, hopeful they will fill them. I also treat them as a hot weather crop. I've tried seed and buying plants and get the same result. Other stuff in the same area produces well, so soil is in good shape and water is adequate I believe.

I am at zone 6b at close to 4200 feet, summers tend to be windy (sustained average 25mph wind) sunny, 95f and low relative humidity. I can work on windbreak, shadecloth and watering. I can produce good tomatoes. Any thoughts?  The variety I keep returning to is Clemson Spineless, btw.
 
Caroline Rodgers
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There are only two things I can think of:
pH- tomatoes like slightly acidic soil, but okra likes it to be neutral. You can buy a pH test kit at a garden soil and add supplements if needed
Windbreak:  okra roots are super fragile so the wind pushing the plant around could be damaging the roots leading to stunted growth.
Hope this helps. Good luck!
 
Deb Rebel
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Caroline Rodgers wrote:There are only two things I can think of:
pH- tomatoes like slightly acidic soil, but okra likes it to be neutral. You can buy a pH test kit at a garden soil and add supplements if needed
Windbreak:  okra roots are super fragile so the wind pushing the plant around could be damaging the roots leading to stunted growth.
Hope this helps. Good luck!


Yes it does, thank you. I can easily add windbreak protection.
 
Casie Becker
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Do you have a relationship of some sort with the person growing the seven foot okra, or have you just seen the plants? Unless you have bad blood between the two of you, I wonder if you could beg some seed from their plants? So often success or failure depends on the varieties you work with. Look at all the people trying to grow watermelon in cold climates, or how much effort goes into finding bolt resistant plants for the south. Varieties aren't one size fits all.

I'm curious what keeps bringing you back to Clemson Spineless.
 
Deb Rebel
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Casie Becker wrote:Do you have a relationship of some sort with the person growing the seven foot okra, or have you just seen the plants? Unless you have bad blood between the two of you, I wonder if you could beg some seed from their plants? So often success or failure depends on the varieties you work with. Look at all the people trying to grow watermelon in cold climates, or how much effort goes into finding bolt resistant plants for the south. Varieties aren't one size fits all.

I'm curious what keeps bringing you back to Clemson Spineless.


Readily available as seed and plant. The person with the 7' and my knee high, we both had seeded Clemson Spineless from the same packet. That was a few years ago and neither of us saved seed. And yes, I stood beside her plants and went WOW.

If I didn't have the daunting quick rampup to planting about a half acre garden I'd sit back and experiment more. The fellow with the truck garden will give me some seed that he has but he didn't have any okra left of what he grew last year. I found someone on another thread that sounds like they have similar climate to here, and were last year giving away seed and I Purple Mooseaged to see if they would part with some seed. (they save year to year)
 
John Elliott
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I'll help you out Deb. I've got about 4 varieties of red okras, so send me a PM with your address and I'll get it in the mail to you. 

I kind of winced when I saw you are in 6b at 4200' of elevation -- those are not friendly numbers for okra.  The one year I lived north of Denver I tried growing okra, and that was a miserable failure.  Okra will not thrive when temperatures drop below 55F.  Oh yes, in the fall, a 6' tall plant will still be producing up until the first frost in November, but young plants need it hot and humid to get going.  I would suggest you plant it along a south facing wall, grabbing any sort of extra heat the wall can radiate at night.  Remember, okra is an African import, so I doubt your weather can get too hot for what you plant. 

Or too wet.  Okra really takes off when we get a gullywasher of a thunderstorm.  Definitely a bottom-of-the-swale type of crop.  If your okra is getting stunted at knee-high, it needs some deep watering.  Drip irrigation or a major water leak really gets the okra to pay attention and get growing.

 
Marco Banks
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That's weird: same town, same basic climate, same basic soil . . . vastly different results.

Okra always grows like a weed for me.  I neglect it but it puts out so much fruit, it's crazy.  I've got to check it daily, as it goes from too small to too big/woody in about 24 hours.

Full sun?

Are you giving it enough nitrogen?

Even watering?

Well-drained soil?

At your altitude, I wonder about cool nights and not enough heat for it to really keep growing aggressively.  Perhaps your friend has their okra in a better micro-climate, where heat is stored through the day and it doesn't get too cool at night?

Like tomatoes, I've found that you can't give okra too much N.  Do you save your urine and use it in the garden?  Do you have access to cheap manure?  Try side-dressing with chicken manure and watering with diluted urine/rainwater.

Best of luck this year.
 
Deb Rebel
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I have chosen the best baked part of my yard, I know my microclimes after 11 growing seasons here. Will be installing windbreak, making ridges to do earthmass  going east and west, and will use cloches and floating row cover to get things started in the spring. About 12 May we quit having a chance of sudden cold snaps or snow; and our nights will usually stay above 50 from then to at least mid Sept to mid October. I am 6b and think I can push close to 8a if I try, and I know, night temps can be killers for the hot crops. I have training with my colocasia and alocasia collection, and decided to try what works for them this year. [read through a lot of Baker Creek Nursery okra listings today, read all the reviews and noted who was where and what they said about the different kinds. It pointed out that okra likes it warm and some humidity, need some feeding (fertilizer/amendment) and once it gets warm it goes crazy...]

Marco Banks, it was even the same seed supply. Looking back at notes I think the one thing that did mine in is wind.

John Elliot, thank you. I will send that on Monday. Seriously, thank you. Expect PM shortly....  I lived in Colorado Springs for 17.5 years at 4b 6500 feet and 5a 6150 feet on the Front Range. There I wouldn't have tried to grow Okra, I was just happy in 5a to get a peach that would survive (Elberta).



 
Maureen Atsali
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I have also had a hard time growing okra...in Africa.  I got knee high stunted little plants that gave 2 to 4 pods each.  I blame mine on poor soil, though.  Sounds like your soil is good.  Previously I grew okra in Vermont with no problems.  Got the 7 foot plants with masses of pods.  I planted direct from seed a few weeks late.

A little off topic, but have you ever eaten okra leaves as a vegetable?  So delicious!
 
Rodd Ramon
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Long time reader  of the forums, I signed up to help you. I'm a big fan of okra, and grow a good bit. My first thought is, are you harvesting the pods. A lot of okra will not continue to grow if you leave the pods on. My usual is after the flower to let the pods grow for a few days to a week then I cut them off. I don't think I've ever had more than two pods on a plant at a time. I've grown okra 7-8' . Also direct sow if possible if your season is short start in as big of a pot as you can.
 
Deb Rebel
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Rodd Ramon wrote:Long time reader  of the forums, I signed up to help you. I'm a big fan of okra, and grow a good bit. My first thought is, are you harvesting the pods. A lot of okra will not continue to grow if you leave the pods on. My usual is after the flower to let the pods grow for a few days to a week then I cut them off. I don't think I've ever had more than two pods on a plant at a time. I've grown okra 7-8' . Also direct sow if possible if your season is short start in as big of a pot as you can.


Thank you for joining us, I'm honored I'm the reason.

Yes, I knew to keep pods picked. Any plant if you leave it to set fruit and seed out, will divert the energy to that. Keeping the crop harvested keeps it producing.

I am at 6b, my last frost/show chance is 12 May and I've had a few last cold snaps after midnight on the morning of the 11th or the 12th, and a few years ago we did have snow (rare in May) on the 14th on ground at dawn. Usually 15 May to 15 Sept and sometimes to 15 October, our days will go in to an average of around 90f and nights in the 50's and stay that way. So 4 to 5 months hot, another few months worth in spring and fall that are considered cold season. With a little help I can squeeze about 9 months growing season with two short cooler, one hot, and one long haul that overlays spring and summer. I have grown in 8 different grow zones and 4 at altitude.... this will be my 11th season here and I have kept notes.

Rodd Ramon, what is your USDA grow zone or equivalent? It seems that most okra likes at least 8a from what I've read (reviews on seed catalog sites, reading where people are from on their bio blurb with their name, etc)
 
Rodd Ramon
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I'm in 9a, pretty much have 11 1/2 month growing season. Every 10 years or so we will get a couple days below 20 degrees.
 
Deb Rebel
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Yesterday while working in the backyard I found the back lilac tree in bloom. The front one has a couple of leaves showing. I have discovered where I am planting the okra, for sure! (the blooming is like three weeks early for the area and our usual spring)

John Eliot, thank you for the seed. And Joseph Lofthouse, too. I shall endeavor to do it justice. Tree collards is the other thing I purchased, they will be here Thursday. All these lovely hot weather things...

The chosen spot has a fairly solid 6' wooden fence to back it, good south to southwest exposure, some protection against the prevailing winds. A little windbreak fence/tarping will fix the rest. I have t-tape and manifolds and will be putting it down to keep it nicely soggy as needed.

Thank you everyone for some advice. I do have tomato cages up to the task for holding up 7' or so of a major tree like plant. I also built some square ones of calf panels that have more than a foot that sticks into the ground, are close to 7' tall when installed and are 2' square. Do I need those or will just heavy heavy duty roundish ones (54" tall when installed) do the deed? Maybe with a fence post?

(I grow 'Black Pearl' tomatoes. These are frankenmaters, a sort of cherry with dark shoulders that will go up a big round cage with a fencepost, 'fall over' when they get about 5-6' tall and continue to about 12' or almost back onto the ground again. When they are into producing a plant will give a heaping colander a day and they are sort of ... I sewed a gardening glove to a full dress shirt sleeve and put elastic on it to protect myself when picking. It's a grand easter egg hunt to harvest them. I have heard that some okra is like this, the pods bite back... do I need a cotton or leather glove to get near some of them?) The frankenmaters go out at about a foot tall, and looking at the fencepost and cage installed it looks so overkill. A month later you wonder if they're going to ambush you...
 
Larry Bock
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My experiment with Okra this past summer was a Failure. There at anyone given time,enough Okra to make a pot of gumbo. Out of 24 well spaced plants...Nxt to where the tomatoes thrive. They never go taller than 3ft...
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Deb Rebel: Good luck with that okra. I cuss myself every time I think that I can pick okra without full protection gear consisting of long pants, long sleeves, and gloves. I keep a pair of each in the garden shed, just in case I take a whim to harvest okra.

 
Deb Rebel
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Deb Rebel: Good luck with that okra. I cuss myself every time I think that I can pick okra without full protection gear consisting of long pants, long sleeves, and gloves. I keep a pair of each in the garden shed, just in case I take a whim to harvest okra.



Treat it like it's Opuntia with a 'tude, got it. I have grown Black Pearl tomatoes for some years (they are a maroon stripcluster cherry with a dark shoulder, very tasty) that I call 'Frankenmaters' because of how big the plants get, how they take over the world, (putting a heavy gauge 54" tomato cage and a steel fence post on them looks like overkill when they first plant out, in two months it's not enough) and picking them is a combination of hunting for easter eggs plus having to have a sleeve with a glove sewn onto it or you pay for it. I take it I need more gear than just my "Pickin Sleeve". I started wearing a lightly grey tinted wraparound Z87 safety glasses as sunglasses and driving glasses some years ago (met a pair at a place that sold weed whippers, chain saws, lawnmowers, etc) so at least I have safety glasses on most of my life... or should I get mold to face goggles? (heh, I hope...)

Do those spines come out or does it take a few slathers of Titebond II woodglue and ripping the hair off your arm as well?

My suffering other has heard about the spineage and I promised I'll harvest. What if I fall and discombubilate myself? I reminded him of the year I fell in the pumpkin patch, bounced off stuff (I had rebar for shelter support guy wires for the multi-hundred pound pumpkins) but put soda cans over the ends... instead of an impalement it bruised me and I hit the ground) and spent two hours crawling out of the patch and back to the house. He caught me halfways in the patio door literally dragging myself. I spent a week mostly in bed and I did make the pilgrimage to turn the water on and off every day (he offered to) and had a week of weeds to deal with when I got up to walking well. I bruised a lot of things and lightly sprained stuff, and forever after he now checks on me. I said I'll pick. He will hold the stepladder for me. (<<<<<optimism here)
 
Deb Rebel
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Larry Bock wrote:My experiment with Okra this past summer was a Failure. There at anyone given time,enough Okra to make a pot of gumbo. Out of 24 well spaced plants...Nxt to where the tomatoes thrive. They never go taller than 3ft...


What zone are you? How much wind? I am doing all the studying I can, and had a year where I planted at the same time out of the same seed packet with a friend, gardens were about 500-600' feet apart. She got 7', I got knee high and maybe half a dozen pods per plant the whole season (six plants). She had 7' lush babies with a need-to-pod. Only thing we could figure out after people started posting here, is that I had more wind issues and they don't like getting rocked about by the wind...
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The okra spines seem to have poison on  them, so they strike me as more inflammatory -- like a nettle. I don't notice them getting "stuck" in the skin.  I sure notice if I slap a plant against my neck or face. It might raise a rash. They are not penetrating my gloves or clothing. The opuntia spines are more mechanical and tenacious. They penetrate clothing and stick fast. I sometimes pick okra bare handed. I never mess with the opuntias without tongs. I really should wear glasses when picking okra and corn. I hate it when a leaf goes in my eye!



You just might need that ladder:
 
 
Deb Rebel
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
The okra spines seem to have poison on  them, so they strike me as more inflammatory -- like a nettle. I don't notice them getting "stuck" in the skin.  I sure notice if I slap a plant against my neck or face. It might raise a rash. They are not penetrating my gloves or clothing. The opuntia spines are more mechanical and tenacious. They penetrate clothing and stick fast. I sometimes pick okra bare handed. I never mess with the opuntias without tongs. I really should wear glasses when picking okra and corn. I hate it when a leaf goes in my eye!



You just might need that ladder:
 


I sure hope I need a ladder. I am 5'5" and can reach to about 6'8". Not too comfortably at the top end...

Nice looking produce.

Okay, I can deal with nettles. It is about what the Black Pearls do to me, mostly a bit irritating. Yes on the opuntia and related cholla, I have had a few near lethal encounters with them already.

The sunglasses I use: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006PJHLM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 These are a wraparound slightly grey tinted safety glasses, that I swear by. I originally encountered them on a rack for $8 at a small engine/outdoor equipment place--that sold things like weed whippers, zero turn ride on mowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws. They were meant to protect eyes while doing yardwork. I got several pairs of these through a sale on Amazon and go through probably 3-4 pairs before they get too scratched up. They tend to keep things out of your eyes, reduce glare, and make great driving glasses. They are Z87 rated safety glasses.
 
Deb Rebel
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Well, I am now 10 days out from 30 days indoor start and 15 days short start. Okra are 'plant direct' so after May 15th. Wish me luck I will need it. As it was I did buy a few nursery plants, have some of my own, and despite 'personal anesthesia' tonight still have five pairs of twinned tomato plants to save from Peatmoss Pots and being divided for another six weeks of happy indoor growth...  with some of the compost being saved for the Okra/Tree Collards for this year, back in the corner of yard I found to be a microclime and maybe 1.5 zones better than I'm ranked.
 
Deb Rebel
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Despite the shambles of the last three weeks, I did soak some okra seeds for about 24 hours and got them planted today. Two types of reds, mixed baggie, from John; some landrace from Joseph Lofthouse; and some Clemson Spineless the former truck farm guy had and gave to me.

That plot was amended, tilled, and still. I found four beans sprouted. Leftovers from the Lofthouse dry beans I planted in there last year. They wintered over, outside. I so carefully transplanted them they probably didn't know they were moved. My own start on landrace adapted to here. Joy, actually.
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A glass of Lofthouse sprouts, soaked okra seeds
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After being moved. Aren't they cute?
 
Maureen Atsali
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Good luck Deb!
My okra attempts are still pathetic.  They have started to flower at knee high again.  I gave them the best spot in the best soil I have available, and they still aren't happy.

Oh well, my plan is to flag a few of the biggest and best plants from the knee high selection, save seeds, and start trying to breed something that can thrive in my conditions.
 
Wayne Veasey
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Okra likes warm soil and warm weather. Here in the south, our okra grows from April to November and can get very tall simply because of the season duration. Some people "crop" the bottom stems, but that simply makes the plant taller. It doesn't really make the okra any more productive -- kind of like how suckering tomatoes just makes the plant larger.

Okra seems to be more productive if you starve the plants a little. It will actually begin making more okra if we have a dry spell, which isn't uncommon here in 8b. So we usually put a separate valve on the okra rows in our drip irrigation system and water them much less frequently than the other plants.

Okra also doesn't need much soil fertility to grow. We don't waste time fertilizing it -- just apply some compost at transplanting and that's about it.

Some people have to wear long sleeves, long pants and gloves to cut okra because they have a reaction to touching the plants. However, we know some people who can cut rows and rows of it in flip flops and short sleeves with no reaction at all.

These twine knives (https://hosstools.com/product/handy-twine-knife/) are the best okra harvesting tool we've found. Makes it really easy to cut the okra pod without damaging the rest of the plant. And it makes for much faster harvesting because you wear the knife on your hand instead of carrying it.

If you've never tried the "Jambalaya" variety, definitely give it a try. It's the most prolific variety we've found and it will start producing pods when plants are only 1" tall. The red okra varieties are our second favorite, but the Jambalaya takes the cake as far as productivity.

 
Deb Rebel
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Well Sunday I found some of the soaked okra seed I planted, are coming UP. Yay!  Joseph Lofthouse seeds are leading the way.
2017-05-28-006.JPG
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Okra!!!!!
 
Deb Rebel
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I received my produce (twine) cutting rings from Hoss. Size 6, the smallest (yellow) and size 16, the largest (black). They are a strip of metal bent at the ends then the blade bit is riveted and they are dipped in that rubbery stuff you use on tool handles. They are color coded according to size. My size 6 fits perfectly on the middle section of my right expressive finger and is very natural to wear and use.

I have a contact metal allergy, the only things I don't react to are titanium and platinum (called the metals of last resort). The dip completely covers my band so no touching skin issue. The 16 is a little big for my spouse but he has big hands and I had to guess. I have a can of black dip-it so I might dip his again to make it fit better. His has a bit of a gap that isn't covered, if it had been dipped a fraction deeper it wouldn't have the problem. They come in even sizes from 6 to 16 inclusive and the colors are coded to the size. The white cap is to protect the blade which is very sharp.

They cost me $4.99 each and $5 total to ship. They arrived in a large padded bubble mailer along with a lovely print catalog of all the other tools they carry, great late bathroom reading, lemme tell ya (and a good way to go broke, heh).

Looking forward to making picking tomatoes, peppers and okra that much easier and faster. Thank you very much for that link, Wayne Veasey.
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Size 6 and size 16 (yellow and black, respectively)
 
Deb Rebel
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Only okra I've gotten to come up is Joseph Lofthouse 'mixed okra' landrace and a few of the reds from John in Georgia have shown up. I did a replant and held the seeds soaking for 2 and  a half days to get sprouts, and the Clemson spinless I have just do NOT want to sprout. I reseeded Lofthouse and the Reds... I will get Okra this year.
 
Jese Anderson
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I'm in Zone 7 (Middle TN) and the way I grow Okra is not in my "manicured" and properly watered/nutrient rich garden.  To grow OKRA here I pick the least hospitable area (could be  a new area I want to convert to into
or extend my garden) and I simply hoe an area to about 3 inches deep , spread Okra seeds pretty thick (maybe 2/inch), cover back up with about 1" of soil and "forget about it".  I'll thin once it comes up to about 1 plant every 2 feet or so.  Ends up easily hitting the 6-7 ft mark by August heat. 

Okra does not thrive in my normal garden area.  I have one place about 200 yards from the house that gets blasted by sun all year.  I've tried other vegetables there but it's way too arid.  The only thing I can grow there are sunflowers and okra.  We have pretty heavy clay here in Middle TN and it's a beast to work with.  This area that I plant OKRA in gets no run off or watered by me.  The only watering it gets is from rain. In this area on my property the clay is so dry that it's really "powder", no big chunks and about the consistency of arena sand.   I wait for the soil to be completely dried out an simply go over and push each individual seed about 1/2" down into the powdered  clay.  It never fails.  It typically takes a single drizzle or light rain and the Okra is up over the next week (once it dries back out). From there I forget about it. 

Again, I can not grow Okra like this in my regular garden....I get poor germination rates and it's not worth the hassle.   

Try it, pick the most arid nasty area you have and put down a few seeds and see what happens. 

My mother always said that we could "Feed the world with only Okra and Zucchini".

EDIT to add - I never have to support Okra plants like I do tomatoes.  Both my Okra and Mammoth sunflowers (up to 16ft tall) end up with stalks at the base about the size of baseballs or slightly larger.  The roots on my Okra typically go to 12" deep and I've never had a plant fall over.  By the time it  matures its about the same size as a 5-6 year old fruit tree.
 
Deb Rebel
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I have clay you can make adobe bricks from, topped by a thin layer of blow sand, assorted other bits, and held down by Bermuda grass. I did pick the hottest microclime area in my yard.

I am getting some of Joseph Lofthouse's landrace okra to come up. And a few reds that John from Georgia sent me. I have hope.

 
Deb Rebel
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Four seedings. Last two planting rounds (out of four tries) I soaked seeds until I seen them begin to sprout. And I used just Lofthouse seeds on the last two tries as the plants I had were from his stock, as I had four plants  (3 from pass one, 1 from pass 2-that was a red from John). I have one left about 2" high. It should be at least two feet high if not taller.

I have tried everything everyone local said to do, and everything shared on here. I have other things growing fine in same area. I'm done with trying for this season.

Next year I will try starting them indoors in homemade pressed cubes with newspaper lining. Only years I've gotten ANYTHING is if I bought plants, and then I got knee high and a few pods per plant maybe.

Sometimes someone can't grow something and it just is so exasperating. I dunno. I have the sunniest hot part of the yard. Spouse isn't happy because we're trying to grow to sell to others. And Okra had been a major moneymaker for the last fellow. (though I took him around and showed him the state of tomatoes and peppers, some of those are just coming in now, either going into heavy bloom or setting on very heavily) 

By next year we will have the high tunnel skinned, a RMH installed and if the power goes off in a late spring 50 year caliber blizzard, we won't notice. Amen.

Thanks for the help and anything else someone can think of, I'll be glad to entertain it. (as it is I'm going into second crop of tomato plants [sucker cloning] about to go into ground to extend season to frost)
 
Rin Corbin
Posts: 3
Location: Zone 6, High Desert
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It sounds like it might be nighttime temperatures, though I'm not an okra expert by any means. I live in a similar environment, Deb, and I got one Clemson Spineless plant to grow to about 4' and produce decently last year. I grew it in a heavily mulched flower bed right on the south-facing side of a cob wall, with drip irigation supplementing the rainwater from half my roof, which drains into that bed.  ...That explains why the seedlings from the seed I saved are stuck at 2" tall in their much cooler location this year.  I'll transplant a bunch of them to the old spot and report back.  One final caveat, that okra plant attracted ants almost as well as peonies do, so I wouldn't plant them against the house if you have ant problems already!
 
Jese Anderson
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Deb I wanted to mention that in my experience Okra does not flourish/sprout until soil temps hit 70 degrees or so.  This is just based on my non-scientific experience over the years. 

Right now, my OKRA is at least 3 weeks behind.  I'm South of Nashville TN  (Zone 7) and as of today my okra is only up to about 12" tall.  We've had an exceptionally mild spring/summer than normal and my Okra has been waiting on the soil to warm up....it needs that heat.  Typically this time of year it will be at least waist high then takes off with the July and August heat blaring down on it.

To elaborate on this a bit more, I actually had to seed Okra 3 different times.  The first time I put some Okra (seed) out about 2 weeks after I had my garden in.  That found me putting seeds out around the 1st of May. Approximately 10 days later I had zero germination/sprouts, so I started an additional row.  2 weeks later I only had 2 out of 100 or so germinate, so I planed a new row.  The 3rd row nearly all germinated and that didn't happen until around the 1st week of June....which happened to be about the same time that our soil temp hit that magical 70 degree mark.  SO the 1st row of approximately 100 seeds never germinated, the 2nd row of approximately 100 seeds only found 2 that germinated.  The 3rd row of 100 seeds found at least 60 that germinated.....same seed, just warmer soil temps.

I guess what I am trying to say, is that just maybe you are trying to get your okra in the ground too early?  Okra requires warm temps.  It would be interesting if to see your results right now if you simply went out and stuck a few seeds in the ground and see what happens. 

So basically my Okra is at least a month behind this year, maybe 5-6 weeks in all reality.  I don't worry about it much since we only use it for our consumption and have enough summer/growing season left here in the south to still be able to harvest by fall. 

Good luck.   For us in the south Okra is about as easy as growing yard weeds. I'm perplexed by your difficulty....seems odd to me.
 
Deb Rebel
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Location: Zone 6b
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Trust me, it's driving me crazy. For 2018 I do have a heated hoop, I put a gutter heat tape in the ground, and the bed is 5x8'. It has rebar spikes installed to hold pvc ribs for sheet plastic, so a mini hoop house. I have used a similar setup to nurse stuff through our typical wild spring weather. (85f one day, snow a few days later then that melts off as it hit 70 the day after the snow). It's not permie but it is my last hope. (a few years ago I managed to bring store sized cauliflower and store sized broccoli heads to my table with it). Thanks.
 
Deb Rebel
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I am on the sick list but it was really hot and muggy and I do MEAN muggy, but it felt great on my under siege lungs (trying to avoid the drop of bronchitis into my lungs, it's possible, I caught it at the fever spike). And surveyed the area where the okra, tree collards (in the great compost pile in the sky, going to order more and overwinter start them, they just did NOT want to root enough) and train the chayote onto the trellis some more (it has climbed the 7' and is spreading onto the 4x16 frame built for it (the fruit will hang down if it gets that far, it has 1-2 more months of life before frost and might actually fruit-my chancy 150 day growing attempt)

In the survey I found a roughly 1' high kind of sparse okra plant. Joseph Lofthouse Landrace mixed. IF it can produce anything I'm saving those seeds.

The beans, the four I transplanted gently and two didn't take offense, are also in blooming and starting to do pods. I will be saving those as well. I was totally floored to find that okra plant hiding in the bindweed that hadn't gotten too friendly yet. Joseph, you ROCK.
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Last time I seen this it was 2" high and on way out...
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