The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
Revision of no. 175
University of Florida
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE
OKRA PRODUCTION GUIDE
Okra is grown in Florida in the home gard
and commercially for consumption as a fresh
frozen or canned product. It will grow and p
duce good yields during certain seasons in
locations in Florida. It is adapted to all s
types found in Florida, but prefers rich san
loams with pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Extensi
acreage is grown on rockland soils of Dade Cou
ty. Okra will not thrive in periods of cool weath
and is killed by frost. Probably the most i
portant limiting factor in okra production is t
crop's susceptibility to nematode injury.
Other publications available are: USDA Leafl
449, Florida Agricultural Extension Circula
193D, 196A and 225.
Clemson Spineless.-A standard variety; po(
straight with short taper at tip, spineless, ridge
rich green in color, good quality and uniform
plants 4 to 5 feet tall, free of spines and sparse
Perkins Dwarf Spineless.-Plants dwarf, ear
prolific; pods bright green, slender and ribbe(
suited for general use.
White Velvet.-Pods white, straight, slende
round and of good quality; for local market ar
Emerald.-Smooth, rounded-podded; cannir
and freezing type; good yielder.
Louisiana Green Velvet.-Good freezer.
Planting Dates Maturit
North Florida-March-May; Aug.
Central Florida-March-May; Aug. 50 to 6
South Florida-Jan.-March; Aug.-Oct.
Planting Distances Depth Seed Required
36" to 48" 1/2" to 1" Per acre-3 to 10 lb
3" to 12" Per 100 ft. row-1 o
Best results are obtained by applying fertilizer
planting time in two bands, located slightly
low and 3 to 4 inches to the each side of the
nter of the planting row.
Sidedressing at intervals of 4 to 6 weeks may
necessary, depending on rainfall and growth
In general, soil with a pH above 6.0 may re-
iire manganese (25 to 30 pounds of manganese
ilfate per acre applied with the fertilizer).
There pH is low and magnesium is low, use
olomitic limestone to establish pH at desired
Applied Each Number
oil Actual lbs./Acre Application of Appli-
N-P20.-KO2 N-P2O,-K2O cations
ineral Soils 108-144-144 30- 0-30 1 to 5
ineral 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
ockland 45- 60- 60 30-30-30 1 to 3
INSECTS AND CONTROLS
(Amt. per Dust Har-
(nsects 100 gals. water) (30 to 40 lbs./A) vest
Phosdrin 2E, 1 pt. 1
Aphids Parathion 15% WP, Parathion 1-2% 3
3kra Phosdrin 2E, 1-2 pt. 1
Caterpillar DDT 50% WP, 2 lbs. DDT 5% 7
Sevin 50% WP, Sevin 5% NTL*
Leafminers Parathion 15% WP, Parathion 1-2% 3
Phosdrin 2E, 1 pt. 1
3tinkbugs Parathion 15% WP, Parathion 1-2% 3
Sevin 50% WP, Sevin 5% NTL*
*No time limitation when used as recommended.
Pesticides should be used with extreme caution.
Read the label and follow recommendations on
crops to use, dosage, and time lapse required
between last application and harvest.
Okra is highly susceptible to injury from nema-
todes and must be planted on land relatively
free of this pest. New land is preferred. How-
ever, old land can be fumigated with chemicals
before planting and made to produce economical-
ly. A practical and cheap way to fumigate is
known as the "in-the-row" method. The fumi-
gating material is placed in a band in the row
where the crop is to be grown. The material
should not be applied to cold, wet soils. Moisture
at a level adequate for seeding is satisfactory for
fumigation. After the seedbeds are prepared,
apply the fumigant at least 6 inches deep and
seal with a drag or roller. About 1/2 pint of Di-
chloropropene (DD, Vidden D or Telone) or 14
pint of EDB (40%) per 100 feet of row is
recommended. At this rate, approximately 9
gallons of DD or 41/2 gallons of EDB (40%) will
be required to fumigate one acre of land using
the "in-the-row" method on beds 36 inches wide.
DISEASES AND CONTROLS
Okra is not subject to attack by many diseases.
Occasionally Fusarium wilt may be present on
old land. In Dade County Verticillium wilt is a
serious disease. A good rotation program will aid
in reducing damage from wilts and other soil-
borne diseases. Powdery mildew is sometimes
a problem and can be controlled with sulphur
sprays or dusts. Cercospora leaf spot, when
present, is readily controlled with maneb.
HARVESTING AND HANDLING
Okra pods generally reach prime condition for
harvesting in 4 to 6 days after flowering. Pods
should be harvested when they are from 3 to 4
inches long. If allowed to remain on the plants
an extra day or two the pods become too tough
and fibrous for food. For that reason plants must
be harvested every two days, or preferably every
day. Large and undesirable pods should be re-
moved to permit the plant to continue to bear
over a long period.
Okra can be kept satisfactorily for fresh con-
sumption for two weeks at a temperature of 50" F.
and a relative humidity of 85 to 90 percent. The
high humidity keeps the okra from wilting. At
temperatures lower than 50" F., okra is subject to
chilling injury, evidenced by surface discolor-
ation, pitting and decay.
M. E. Marvel and James Montelaro in cooperation witl
other personnel of the Institute of Food and Agricultura
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida,
Florida State University and
United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, Director