Growing Okra

By P. Allen Smith

I love okra. Some of us folks do and some don’t. I’ll be more specific, I love to eat okra rather than picking it. I adore it in gumbo, simply pickled, cooked in a pot of field peas ….and then there are okra fritters and stewed okra and tomato’s okra rice. It’s a summer favorite that takes the heat.

We plant okra every year at Moss Mountian and this year I got a little carried away. I planted two 100 foot rows of ‘Clemson Spineless’ Okra!

If you have ever grown it you know that’s a lot of okra!

For best results, I learned from my grandmother Smith to soak the seed overnight in milk, rinse them and plant the swollen seed directly into tilled soil. The lactic acid in the milk helps to soften the outer hard coating on the okra seed, thereby enhancing germination.

Shown above: Jar of swollen okra seeds after soaking them overnight and rinsing off the milk. Sow immediately afterward.

I think every seed must have germinated within seven days of planting. Amazing! Now with warmer temperatures, you can almost sit and watch it grow. After 3 weeks the plants are already 20” tall.