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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 fres
frozen or canned product. It will grow and pr
duce good yields during certain seasons in a
locations in Florida. It is adapted to all soil type
found in Florida, but performs best in rich sand
loams with pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Extensive
acreage is grown on rockland soils of Dade Cou
ty. Okra will not thrive during periods of co
weather and is killed by frost. The most impo
tant limiting factor in okra production is usually
the crop's susceptibility to nematode injury.
For additional information, the reader is di
rected to the following publications:
Fla. Ext. Cir. 225A, "Commercial Vegetabl
Fertilization Guide." May, 1970.
Fla. Ext. Cir. 193G, "Commercial Vegetabl
Insect and Disease Control Guide." June, 1970.
Fla. Ext. Cir. 196C, "Chemical Weed Contro
For Florida Vegetable Crops." September, 1970
Clemson Spineless--A standard variety; use
for fresh market and as a frozen product. Pod
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.
Perkins Dwarf Spineless-Plants dwarf, early
prolific; pods bright green, slender and ribbed;
suited for general use.
Emerald-Smooth, round-podded; canning and
freezing type; good yielder.
Planting Dates Maturity
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 -
36" to 48" %" to 1" Per acre 3 to 10 lbs.*
Within the row -
2" to 6" Per 100 ft. row 2 oz.
*Amount dependent on plant spacing selected, variety and
est results are obtained by applying fertilizer
planting time in two bands, located slightly be-
and 3 to 4 inches to each side of the center of
idedressing at intervals of 2 to 6 weeks may
necessary, depending on rainfall and growth
frequently, soil with a pH above 6.0 may be
fcient in one or more minor elements (micro-
trients). When needed, minor elements can be
plied to the soil through fertilizers or applied
foliage with nutritional and/or fungicidal
ays and dusts. Where pH is low and magne-
m is low, use dolomitic limestone to establish
Sat desired level.
Applied Each Number of
Soil Actual lbs./Acre Application Applications
mineral 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
arl 54- 72- 72 30-0-30 1 to 3
okland 45- 60- 60 30-0-30 or 1to 3
Trifluralin-Applied preplanting, 3/4 to 1 lb. per
re (active ingredient) on sandy soils. Triflura-
n may be applied from 3 weeks before planting
p to time of planting. Trifluralin must be incor-
orated immediately after application. Use the
wer rate on light sands and the higher rate on
ark sands. The 1 lb. per acre treatment can also
e used on the marl and rockland soils.
Diphenamid-Applied preemergence, 5 lbs. per
tcre (active ingredient) on sandy soils.
Okra is highly susceptible to injury from nema-
odes and must be planted on land relatively free
f this pest. New land is preferred. However, old
and can be fumigated with chemicals before
planting and thereby rendered economically pro-
General Directions For Fumigation
When to treat: Soil temperatures should be in
the range of 50-80 F. at the six (6) inch depth.
Soil moisture should be relatively low and soil air
relatively high. A soil moisture content about
midway or less between field capacity and per-
manent wilting is optimum for fumigation.
Soil preparation: Avoid undecomposed trash in
the field. Disk thoroughly. Cover trash and allow
it to rot before fumigation treatment. Fumigate
only when soil is in good seedbed condition, free
of clods, and undecomposed plant material.
Application: For overall application of fumi-
gants, set chisels 12-inches apart. For row treat-
ment, adjust chisels to same spacing as planter.
Plant directly in treated strip. If two chisels per
row are used, apply at the same rate per chisel as
for overall. Inject at a depth of 8-10 inches below
final soil surface. Seal chisel channels with a
drag, ring roller, press wheel or similar device.
Aeration: Following fumigation, allow an ex-
posure period of 7-10 days before disturbing soil.
Wait at least 2-3 weeks before planting and longer
before planting in organic and heavy mineral
soils. Also, allow a longer waiting period when
soil temperatures fall below 60 F. or in case of
heavy rains. Aerate soil by plowing or cultivating
being sure not to recontaminate beds with con-
taminated soil or implements. No waiting period
is required when using Nemagon or Fumazone.
Spray (30 to 40 lbs. to
(Amt. per formula- Har-
Insects 100 gals. water) tion/acre) vest
Aphids Parathion 4E, % pt. Parathion 1-2 % 3
Phosdrin 2E, 1 pt. 1
Okra Phosdrin 2E, 1-2 1
Caterpillar pts. Sevin 5% 0
Sevin 80% WP, 1'A
Leaf Miners Parathion 4E, % pt. Parathion 1-2 % 3
Stinkbugs Parathion 4E, % pt. Parathion 1-2 % 3
Phosdrin 2E, 1 pt. 1
Sevin 80% WP, 1% Sevin 5% 0
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-
".1 0 "
ing damage from wilts and other soil-borne
eases. Powdery mildew is sometimes a probi
and can be controlled with sulfur sprays or du
at recommended dosages.
Read the label on each pesticide container
fore each use. Heed all cautions and warning
Store pesticides in original labelled containers
a safe place, preferably under lock and key.
pose of empty containers promptly and safe
Information is given on recommended pestici
and minimum days between last application
harvest. There will be changes and cancellati
therefore, the grower is urged to keep abreast
developments through county extension agen
experiment stations, industry, etc.
HARVESTING AND HANDLING
Okra pods generally reach prime condition f
harvesting in 4 to 6 days after flowering. Po
should be harvested when they are from 3 to
inches long. If allowed to remain on the plan
an extra day or two the pods become too tou
and fibrous for food. For that reason, plants mu
be harvested daily or on alternate days. Lar
and undesirable pods should be removed to pe
mit the plant to continue to bear over a Ion
Okra can be kept satisfactorily for fresh co
sumption over a two week period at a temperature
of 500 F. and a relative humidity of 85 to 90 pe
cent. At temperatures lower than 50 F., okr
is subject to chilling injury, evidenced by surface
discoloration, pitting and decay.
The use of trade names in this publication is solely fo
the purpose of providing specific information. It is noi
a guarantee or warranty of the products named and doei
not signify that they are approved to the exclusion ol
others of suitable composition.
Prepared by: Thomas G. Hart, Mason E. Marvel anc
James Montelaro in cooperation with other personnel ol
the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Specia
assistance was given by J. E. Brogdon, D. W. Dickson anc
R. S. Mullin.
Revised February 1971
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Extension Service, University of Florida
United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
Joe N. Busby, Dean