Okra or lady’s finger is native of Africa. Therefore, to have a healthy okra harvest, the plants should be sown only during the summer months.
Okra seed should be planted at least a month after the last frost of the season. Although, the seeds can be planted at an average temperature of around 65 degree Fahrenheit, but the plant needs around 85 degree Fahrenheit temperatures for healthy growth. Okra seeds should be planted in half or an inch deep holes.
There should be at least 6 inches space between two okra plants. While transplanting the young seedlings, make sure that the seedlings are at least 12 inches apart from each other. Okra plants need lots of sunshine. The soil should be moist but well drained. Before planting the plant, add compost or inorganic waste to raise the acidity of the soil to pH6.5 or more. Add gypsum to improve the soil drainage condition.
Keep the soil moist, until the okra plant is completely established. Excess watering might not be beneficial to a fully-grown okra plant. Excess humidity might cause stem rots. Aphids and flea beetles are enemies of Okra plants. If you notice flea beetles or aphids, remove the pests with your fingers or run a stream of water over the infested areas. Verticillium and fusarium wilt might cause the okra plants to dry up and die during the growing season. To prevent these soil borne diseases, keep your garden free from debris.
Pluck okra pods when they are tender and between two to four inches long. Frequent harvesting of okra pods will increase the rate of flowering. The pods should be cut every two or three days, to increase flowering. The plants last longer in warmer climates. You can keep these plants until late summer, by pruning about a third of the plant from the top. This induces growth of buds on the main stem, giving a late summer crop.