FOR COMMERCIAL GROWERS
Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville
OKRA PRODUCTION GUIDE
Okra is grown in Florida in the home garden
and commercially for consumption as a fresh, fro
good yields during certain seasons in all location
in Florida. It is adapted to all soil types foun
in Florida, but performs best in rich sandy loam
with pH between 5.8 and 6.2. Extensive acreage
is grown on rockland soils of Dade County. Okr-
will not thrive during periods of cool weather an
is killed by frost. The most important limitin
factor in okra production is usually the crop'
susceptibility to nematode injury.
For additional information, the reader is di
rected to the following publications:
Florida Extension Circular 225, "Commer
cial Vegetable Fertilization Guide."
Florida Extension Circular 193, "Commer
cial Vegetable Insect and Disease Control Guide.'
Florida Extension Circular 196, "Chemica
Weed Control for Florida Vegetable Crops."
Since these circulars are revised from time t(
time, be sure to obtain the latest editions.
Clemson Spineless-A standard variety; used
for fresh market and as a frozen product. Pods
straight with short taper at tip, spineless, ridged,
rich green in color, good quality and uniform;
plants are 4 to 5 feet tall, relatively free of spines
and bear sparse foliage.
Other Varieties-Perkins Dwarf Spineless and
Planting Dates Days to
North Florida: March-May; Aug.
Central Florida: March-May; Aug. 50 to 60 days
South Florida: Jan.-March; Aug.-Oct.
Planting Distances Depth Seed Required
Between rows- 1/2" to 1" Per acre 3 to 10 lbs
36" to 48"
Within the row Per 100 ft. row 2 oz
2" to 6"
Placement-Recommendations in the past have
been to place the main or basic application of
ilizer normally used at planting in bands 2
inches to each side and slightly below the
I of the seed. This practice is good where
ble salt injury is not anticipated. An alter-
ive practice, which helps alleviate soluble salt
Iblems, is the use of broadcast applications for
't or all of the basic fertilizer before planting.
Timing-The basic application of fertilizer
y be applied before planting, during planting,
,rtly after planting, or in split applications
nbining any two or all three of these. Supple-
ntal fertilizer may be applied whenever needed
ing the growing season and especially after
vy, leaching rains.
Soil pH-Optimum range for okra production
between 5.8 and 6.2.
Minor Elements-In the absence of previous
story and experience on sandy soils, a "shotgun"
proach can be used. A general guide for ade-
ate minor elements is the addition of 0.3%
nO, 0.2% CuO, 0.3% Fe,O,, 0.2% ZnO, and 0.2 %
0, to the fertilizer mixture. These elements
n be used as the oxides, sulfates, of fritted
rms. Use minor elements only as needed for
Applied Each Number of
Soil Actual Lbs./Acre Application Applications
neral Soils 108-144-144 30-0-30 1 to 5
mineral Soils 72- 96- 96 30-0-30 1 to 3
[uck Soils 0- 60-120 (3) (3)
[arl 54- 72- 72 30-0-30 1 to 3
ockland 45- 60- 60 30-0-30 or 1 to 3
Includes all mineral soils (except marl and rockland)
having a dependable supply of moisture.
Includes all mineral soils (except marl and rockland)
not having a dependable supply of moisture.
The amount of fertilizer suggested here is the amount
needed for organic soils low in P20s and KzO. When soil
tests show a medium level of P]05 in an organic soil, re-
duce the amount of PROs suggested here by one-third;
when soil P2Os levels are high reduce by two-thirds. Fol-
low the same suggestions for medium and high levels of
Higher rates of the minor elements may be
needed to overcome the tendency of minor ele-
ments to be tied-up by the organic matter in muck
and peat soils and from the high pH effect on
marl and rockland soils.
The amount of fertilizer suggested here is
sufficient to grow these crops under normal con-
ditions. Most crops will respond to supplemental
applications of nitrate-nitrogen during periods of
cool weather or following heavy rainfall.
On new peat soils, make a broadcast applica-
tion of 15 pounds of CuO, 10 pounds of MnO, and
4 pounds of B.Os per acre before any crop is
Relatively few diseases attack okra. Occasion-
ally, Fusarium wilt is present on old land. In
Dade County, Verticillium wilt is a serious dis-
ease. A good rotation program will aid in reduc-
ing the damage from wilts and other soil-borne
diseases. Powdery mildew is sometimes a prob-
lem; however, no fungicides are approved by EPA
for its control on okra.
Precautions: Read the label on each pesticide
container before each use. Heed all cautions and
warnings. Store pesticides in original labelled
containers promptly and safely. Information is
given on recommended pesticides and minimum
days between last application and harvest. There
will be changes and cancellations; therefore, the
grower is urged to keep abreast of developments
through county extension agents, experiment sta-
tions, industry, etc.
Insecticides and Amount Har-
Insect Formulations' Per Acre vest
Aphids Parathion 4E /2 pt. 21
Mevinphos (Phosdrin) 2E 1 pt. 1
Okra Mevinphos (Phosdrin) 2E 1-2 pts. 1
Caterpillar Carbaryl (Sevin) 80% WP 11/4 lbs. NTL
Leaf Miners Parathion 4E /2 pt. 21
Stinkbugs Parathion 4E '/ pt. 21
Mevinphos (Phosdrin) 2E
Carbaryl (Sevin) 80% WP
SOther formulations may be registered
1 pt. 1
14 lbs. NTL
^ a '3 m
0 M .s
C) rt M~
S S !
Trifluralin (Treflan)--Applied preplanting,
3/4 to 1 pound per acre (active ingredient) on
sandy soils. Trifluralin should be incorporated
immediately after application. Use the lower rate
on sandy soils low in organic matter and tl
higher rate on sandy soils high in organic matte
The 1 pound per acre treatment can also be usE
on the marl and rockland soils.
Diphenamid (Dymid or Enide)-Applied pre
emergence, 5 pounds per acre (active ingredient
HARVESTING AND HANDLING
Okra pods generally reach prime condition fo
harvesting in 4 to 6 days after flowering. Pod
should be harvested when they are from 3 to 4 in
ches long. If allowed to remain on the plants a
extra day or two, the pods become too tough an
fibrous for food. For that reason, plants mus
be harvested daily or on alternate days. Larg
and undesirable pods should be removed to permi
the plant to continue to bear over a long period
Okra can be kept satisfactorily for fresh con
sumption over a two-week period at a tempera
ture of 500F. and a relative humidity of 85 to 9'
percent. At temperatures lower than 500F. okr;
is subject to chilling injury, evidenced by surface,
discoloration, pitting and decay.
This public document was promulgated
at an annual cost of $214.90, or 2.86
cents per copy to inform growers how
to produce okra.
Prepared by: Stephen R. Kostewicz and James Monte.
laro in cooperation with other personnel of the Institute
of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Special assistance was
given by J. E. Brogdon, D. W. Dickson, R. S. Mullin, an(
W. L. Currey.
The use of trade names in this publication is solely for
the purpose of providing specific information. It is not
a guarantee or warranty of the products named and does
not signify that they are approved to the exclusion of
others of suitable composition.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICTLTIURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(ActI of May 8 nd June 30. 1914)
( ooprative Extension Servoce. IFAS. L nlversIt ) f Florida
and United Stats Dep rtment of Agricultur, operatingg
Je N Busby, Dean