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
(Prepared in cooperation with workers
Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations)
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
OKRA PRODUCTION GUIDE
Okra is grown in Florida in the home garden
and commercially for consumption as a fresh,
frozen or canned product. It will grow and pro-
duce good yields during certain seasons in all
locations in Florida. It is adapted to all soil types
found in Florida, but prefers rich sandy loams
with pH between 5,5 and 6.0. Okra will not thrive
in periods of cool weather and is killed by frost.
Probably the most important limiting factor in
okra production is the crop's susceptibility to
CLEMSON SPINELESS: A standard variety.
Pods straight with short taper at tip, spineless,
ridged, rich green in color, good quality and uni-
form. Plants 4 to 5 feet tall, free of spines and
PERKINS SPINELESS: Pods similar to Clem-
son Spineless. Plants 3 to 4 feet tall, well foliaged
WHITE VELVET: Pods white, straight, slen-
der, round and of good quality. For local market
and home gardens.
EMERALD and LOUISIANA GREEN VEL-
VET: Round-podded varieties suitable for pro-
Planting Dates Days to Maturity
North Florida-March-May; Aug. 50 to 60
Central Florida-March-May; Aug.
South Florida-Feb.-March; Aug.-Sept.
Distances Seeding Depth Seed Required
36" to 48" %" to 1" Per acre-5 to 6 lbs.
16" to 24" Per 100 ft. row-1 os.
Best results are obtained by applying fertilizer
at planting time in two bands, each located 2 to 8
inches below and 3 to 4 inches to the side of the
center of the planting row.
Sidedressing at intervals of 4 to 6 weeks with
150 to 200 pounds of 10-0-10 per acre may be
necessary, depending on rainfall and growth of
No research on minor element needs is avail-
able. In general, soil with a pH above 6.0 may
require manganese (25 to 30 pounds of manga-
nese sulfate per acre applied with the fertilizer).
Soil Type Fertilizer per Acre
Marl* ..................... 06-8-8 700
Muck ......................... 0-15-5 800
Peat** .................... 0-8-24, 0-10-20 800
Light sand* .............. 6-8-8 1,350
Dark sand* .............. 6-8-8 1,100
A 4-8-8 fertilizer can be used in place of 6-8-8 provided equiva-
lent amounts of nitrogen are used.
** On virgin peats use 0-8-24 or 0-10-20. changing after 8 to 6 crops
to 0-12-12 and finally to 0-15-5.
INSECTS AND CONTROLS
(30 to 40 (Amt. per
ounds 100 Gals.
Insects per Acre) Water) Baits
parathion (15% WP)
Aphids 1% 1 lb.
TEPP 1% TEPP
DDT 5% DDT
Caterpillars, (50% WP)
stinkbugs, or 2 lbs.
blister beetles, toxaphene toxaphene
cucumber 5% (40% WP)
beetles, or 2% lbs.
fleabeetles, parathion parathion
armyworms 1% (15% WP)
toxaphene toxaphene 2%
Cutworms* 5% (40% WP) toxaphene-
2% lbs. wheat bran
Sepentine parathion parathion
leaf miner 1% (15% WP)
*The bait for cutworm control should be moistened and distributed
in late afternoon at rate of about 80 pounds per acre.
PRECAUTIONS: 1. Do not use DDT, toxa-
phene or parathion after the blooms appear.
TEPP can be used up to 24 hours before harvest.
2. Insecticides and their residues are poisonous
to man and animals. Carefully read and follow
precautions on labels of packages.
Okra is highly susceptible to injury from nema-
todes and must be planted on land relatively free
of this pest. New land is preferred. However,
old land can be fumigated with chemicals before
planting and made to produce economically. A
practical and cheap way to fumigate is known as
the "in-the-row" method. The fumigating ma-
terial 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 fumiga-
tion. After the seedbeds are prepared, apply the
fumigant at least 6 inches deep and seal with a
drag or roller. About / pint of DD or 1/4 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. A good rotation program will aid in
reducing damage from wilt and other soil-borne
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 gone over 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 500
F. and a relative humidity of 85 to 90 percent.
The high humidity keeps the okra from wilting.
At temperatures lower than 500 F., okra is sub-
ject to chilling injury, evidenced by surface dis-
coloration, pitting and decay.