Okra Production and Agronomy Practices

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Harvest Okra fruits

For the establishment of Okra, the first thing to bear in mind is that the production of Okra must be done during the warm season. The seeds perform well on a fertile, well-drained loamy soil. Soil with pH close to neutral (6.5- 7.6) supports the growth and development of Okra. In a situation when the soil fertility level is low, organic manure, fertilizer or compost can be applied to improve soil productivity.

The mode of propagation of Okra is through seed, and this can be planted directly on the field. Before planting, it is imperative to soak the okra seed in water overnight or for 24 hours, in order to break seed dormancy and to speed up germination rate or reduce germination days.

For optimum land utilization and good yield, a spacing of about one to two feet intra-row and 3 to 4 feet inter-row should be used. In some cases, the species of okra planted may also influence the spacing to use. Studies have shown that okra performs better on ridges than on flat land. Therefore, it is advisable to make use of ridges when going into okra production.

Weeding should be done as at when due, and watering or irrigation maybe require if you are planting during the offseason. Thinning is an essential agronomy practice to carry out 2 to 3 weeks after planting. During the thinning operation, the diseased, weak, or unhealthy plants should be removed.

The growth and development of okra are usually slow at the initial stage but becomes faster as soon as the temperature becomes warmer. At the end of the vegetative stage, the okra plant grow taller, the leaves become wider, and production of yellow flowers began. This mark the beginning of the reproductive stage. The formation of pods follows this. In a situation when the weather condition is favorable, it can reach full size in 2 to 3 days. Full-Size pod okra is usually 2-4 inches in length. Harvesting should commence as soon as okra fruit reach full size. If harvesting is delayed, the pods become fibrous and tough. It takes an average of 45 to 60 days for most okra species to reach maturity.

Harvesting can be done every day, after the first harvest, the lower leaves should be removed to help speed up production.

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