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How to Grow Okra: Farming and Management Practices

Gomani, is an Agribusiness Consultant who studied Agribusiness Management

Okra Cultivation Farming

Okra Cultivation Farming

Okra Cultivation Farming

Okra is a vegetable, which can be grown on large, medium and large scale commercial production and is able to grow in most soils of different countries and is known to perform well in warm weather areas. Okra can be prepared in different ways and is able to provide vitamin A to humans. It is a heat tolerant plant which is a member of mallow family, which flowers and produces fruit in summer temperatures. This article will give in detail on how to grow Okra for optimal yields.


Varieties

The most commonly grown varieties are; Annie Oakley, Delight, Emerald, Green, Velvet among others.


Production Requirements

Okra gives a better yield on a temperature range of 24 °C to 35 °C and they are not able to give optimal results in areas having frost conditions. Per acre, Okra has expected yield of 4536 kg to 5443 kg under good agronomic practices. Make sure you grow your Okra in areas which are able to receive almost full sunlight during the day. The optimum soil pH for growing Okra is known to be in a range of 6 to 6.8. Okra performs well on loam and Sandy soils, so make sure, you grow your Okra in soil type of this, but the vegetable, is also able to respond positively in heavy soils having good soil drainage. During a period of very low moisture content, make sure you supplement water through Irrigation, but always ensure that, the Okra field is not waterlogged and has right moisture content all the time.


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Cultivation Practices

Site selection

Make sure you select a site which has good soil drainage and has also good soil fertility. In addition to this, make sure the chosen site for Okra production, is able to receive full sunlight during the day when possible.

Soil preparation

Make sure you till your site in preparation for growing Okra plants. You can make ridges manually with the help of a hoe or whenever the site is too long, you can use a tractor to cultivate your area faster. Make sure the soil tillage is done to a depth of 20 cm to 24 cm as recommended for optimal Okra production.

Planting

Okra performs well when soil temperatures at planting is 21 °C, so make sure during planting period soil temperature is around that number for better results. You can plant your Okra during a frost free time in spring 2 to 3 weeks after the frost period is over. During planting, make sure you place your Okra seed 2.5 cm deep and 5 centimeters apart in rows. In Okra production, the recommended spacing for optimal results is 71 to 96 cm with 20 to 30 cm between Okra plants. Thinning in Okra plants, is done when Okra plants reach 8 cm up. One hectare of land requires 5 to 6 kg of Okra seeds and this will result in a plant population of 33,333 per hectare. To facilitate seed germination, make sure you soak your Okra seeds in water for about 5 hours before planting time.

Fertilization

Before any application of fertilizer to your Okra field, Make sure you are able to conduct a soil analysis to know the soil nutrition of your soil and the type of fertilizer which is supposed to be applied and as well as the quantity. Thus, any application of fertilizer in Okra field will depend on soil analysis report. It is recommended to apply 13 to 22 kg per hectare of nitrogen fertilizers before planting. In Okra, phosphorus fertilizers can be applied either before or after plant and has a quantity requirement of 23 to 45 kg per hectare.

Irrigation

If your soil has low moisture content, you can supplement moisture through Irrigation and make sure you Irrigation your Okra field in 10 days interval to avoid waterlogging, since also the Okra plant is able to withstand drought. Always observe the right moisture content all the time.


Weed Control

You can control weeds in the Okra field by using herbicides or by using manual (with the help of hands). Make sure a cost effective way is chosen as there are more ways to weed your Okra field. Always make sure, your Okra field is free from weeds as these can result in pests and diseases building up which can increase the cost of production and at the same time decreasing your yield.


Harvesting

Okra pods are harvested 6 to 8 days after flowering, while they are still tender. Harvesting can be done easily by hands and you can be picking tender Okra pods every 2 to 3 weeks once the harvesting period begins.

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