Okra square foot gardening

Okra a unique vegetable is a warm-season vegetable that grows in the warmer parts of the US and the world at large. If you live in Texas and have space for a vegetable garden this is the crop for you. Okra provides a fair source of vitamins and can be eaten boiled, fried, in soups or casseroles. 

Okra square foot gardening is easy and great for small spaces. As far as placement is concerned you will need to plant 1 okra plant per square foot space. These can be grown in combination with other plants like lettuce, basil, peppers or watermelon. Okra loves warm conditions and soil that drains out quickly.

How much okra is in a square foot garden?

Okra is a plant that likes its space. These plants do well when planted far apart. This gives them a chance to grow to their best potential. You will need to plant 1 okra sapling per square foot in your vegetable garden. This being said you can plant them closer together while trying to sprout them and get them to the desired height before transplant. 

While planting okra saplings remember it needs some room to grow. These plants can grow up to 6 to 8 feet tall and need plenty of room to get enough sunlight and for proper root development. 

Okra Square Foot Gardening tips
Okra Square Foot Gardening tips

How to space okra in a square foot garden?

When having an okra square foot gardening spacing plays an important role. This is not only because these plants need space to breathe but also because this ensures better absorption of sunlight, nutrients and it makes it easier to harvest them. Spacing okra plants depends on where you are planting them and what stage the plant is at in the growth cycle.

Spacing okra sprouts

Starting vegetables in a separate sprouting container or space is a good idea to get a head start. These sprouts that are used to grow vegetables are known as microgreens as they are harvested not long after the first leaves appear. At this stage, okra saplings can be planted close. This is because they will be moved to a permanent location while the roots are developing. 

As the extended taproots are not developed in these saplings they can be planted in a shallow container, raised bed, or even in a corner in the garden. All you need is soil of good quality, enough water, and abundant sunlight. The seeds need to be planted about half an inch deep.

Here is how to plant okra seeds for sprouting

Let the seeds sit submerged in water for about 12 to 18 hours before planting. this is because the seeds have a thick shell and it will take time for the core to moisten. 

Alternatively, you can place the seeds in wet paper towels and leave them overnight or cut nicks in the seeds before planting. 

This will ensure that the seeds receive enough moisture to germinate. Once you have the seeds ready it’s time to plant them. 

To plant okra seeds for sprouting spread them in your germination tray or a designated place in your garden. this way the seedlings can grow without disturbance. As soon as the saplings gain the desired height they can be harvested and replanted in the okra square foot garden. 

Spacing okra seeds

When okra seeds are planted, they are generally half to one inch deep. This is great for sapling development and at the same time makes it easier for harvesting once they are ready to be transplanted. While planting seeds you can plant them in 2 to 3 rows. If you are planting them in the same place, they will remain permanently keep a distance of 3 feet between the rows. 

Clay soil is an exception to this rule. As this soil gets dry faster and develops cracks the plants are unstable, especially if the taproots aren’t formed. For this, all you need to do is increase the dept. when seeds are planted deeper, they hold on to the soil better. 

If you are planning to plant different variants of okra in the same space, make sure you have enough space between them. It is advised that these plants are placed 500 to 1600 feet apart. This is mainly done to prevent cross-pollination. 

Okra Square Foot Gardening
Okra Square Foot Gardening

Spacing okra seedlings in square foot garden

Okra seedlings are normally transplanted from germination trays or germination areas. This is done to reduce the time spent on germination once in the growing season. This is especially common when vegetable gardeners plant seeds indoors during colder months and then transplant them once it gets warmer. 

How to grow okra seedlings for a square foot garden? 

To grow okra seedlings for an okra square foot garden all you need is good quality soil, plenty of water, and seeds that have been moistened. 

Step 1 spot selection for okra seedling plantation 

Select a spot where you plan on germinating the seeds. This can be done indoors or outdoors as long as the conditions are right 

Step 2 soil preparation 

Once you have selected a spot that’s convenient, it is important to prep the soil. this can be gone by adding fertilizers and potting mix. Okra like soil that is moist but does not do well in soggy soil. Hence, it is important to opt for soil that drains well.  

Step 3 container or land the choice is yours

When it comes to starting okra the decision to plant the seeds in containers or raised beds is up to the gardener. We saddest you look for options that fit your needs keeping in mind the soil temperature and climate. 

Step 4 planting the seeds

Once you have the soil and seeds ready it’s time to plant. You can bury the seeds half to one inch deep. 

Step 5 water the okra seeds regularly 

Okra is a warmth and moisture-loving plant. This makes it important to keep the plant well hydrated. 

Step 6 water before harvesting

Once you are sure the plants are ready to harvest make sure you water the plants. This needs to be done at least an hour before harvesting. By watering the plants the soil around the roots loosens. 

Step 7 okra sapling harvesting

Once the plants are about 2 to 3 inches tall you can harvest them. This is the right time as the plants are still developing and the taproots are yet to form. You can discard plants that look weak and transplant only the healthy ones.

Step 8 planting okra saplings

Once you have the harvested saplings you can plant them in your square foot garden. this can be gone easily but planting one seedling per square foot. These plants can be at a depth of 1 to 2 inches. Water the plants regularly and feed them well. This will ensure good growth and harvest. 

How much space do okra plants need
How much space do okra plants need

How much okra is in a square foot garden?

Okra is a warm climate plant with deep-set roots. These plants have taproots that grow deep into the soil the soak in nutrients and moisture. Another feature of this plant is that it grows to about 6 to 8 feet and requires to be pruned regularly. This makes it difficult to plant okra plants close. 

It is suggested that okra plants be places at least 3 to 4 feet apart while planting in rows. When planting okra in square foot gardens they need to be placed one per square foot. So if you are wondering how much okra to plant in a square foot garden it’s the number of square feet x 1 okra plant. 

How to harvest okra in square foot garden?

Okra is a fast-growing plant. These plants start to grow flowers in about 45 to 60 days after they have been planted or transplanted. After the flowers are large enough you will start to see okra pods on that can be harvested in about 3 to 4 days. While harvesting the pods make sure they are about 3 to 4 inches long. This will ensure that the okra is ripe for consumption. 

If okra pods are left on the plant for too long, they get too large and will be tough and stringy. Okra in square foot garden needs to be picked every 1 to 2 days or the yield will decrease. Once the pods are harvested, they can be stored in the refrigerator for about 3 to 5 days. 

Okra seeds for next season can easily be saved by leaving some pods on the plant until they are very large. You can then remove them and allow them to dry. These seeds will shell easily from the pods once dry. You can collect them in containers and store them till the next growing season. 

Other organic materials like leaves, stems, roots, and other leftover pods can be tossed into the compost bin or pile. 

Best and worst companions for okra

Companion gardening is the best method of controlling pests and diseases. By using this method you can ensure that your garden is healthy and at the same time increase your harvest. Okra as a plant can tolerate some drought conditions but hot weather is the most important. The soil needs to be well-drained and it needs at least an inch of water every week. 

Good companion plants for okra
PlantCautionadvantages
CucumberDon’t plant too close as they require lots of sunlight 
Pepper Repel cabbage worms
melonsNeed a lot of water and sun do not plant too close to okra. It is better to plant them on the east or west side of the okra plant. 
basil Strong fragrance repels pests
Flowering plants like cosmos, zinnias and calendula Help attract pollinators
How much okra is in a square foot garden
How much okra is in a square foot garden

What are bad companions for okra plant?

Okra is a good companion to most plants and garden insects but all said and done these plants do not get along with nematodes. Nematodes are beneficial for the garden but when it comes to okra they love feeding on the roots of the plant. Skip them at least a year before you plan to plant okra.  

When it comes to plants. Okra is a good plant to have in your square foot garden as it gets along with most plans. Most importantly almost all plants can be planted alongside okra and there is no bad companion for this plant. 

Can you grow okra close together?

If you are wondering, can you grow okra close together the answer depends on where in the growth cycle the plant is. If you are planning to grow saplings and then transplant them to the square foot garden, they can be planted close together. This is because the saplings can soak in moisture and nutrients from the soil. once these plants are big enough and the roots have developed, they need to be planted at least 3 feet away. 

In square foot gardens, they need to be planted one per square foot. This will ensure that the roots burrow deep into the soil and help the plant grow well. 

What can you not plant near okra?

Okra is a companion loving plant. There are a number of plants that you can use as a companion. These include Beans (Bush & Pole), New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia), Oregano, Acorn Squash, Marjoram, Butternut Squash, Peppers (Banana, Bell, Hot, Sweet), Cantaloupe, Spaghetti Squash, Eggplant, Pumpkin, Cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon and many more. 

When it comes to bad companions for okra there are none as this plant grows well and allows other plants to grow in the same space. 

What is the best fertilizer for okra?

Okra is considered as a no-fuss plant. This plant does well in most soil variants as long as it drains well. Along with this, it requires warm weather and enough water. If you are looking for a way to increase yield and better the health of your okra plant it is better to feed the plant once in a while. 

To feed an okra plant you can use about 2 to 3 pounds of fertilizer before planting. a 10-10-10 or a 15-5-10 is good for 100 square feet of garden area. In order for the fertilizer to work well, it is important to spread it evenly over the soil and mix it well into the top 3 to 4 inches. Let this sit for a while and then plant your saplings or seeds. 

Other than this you can also use compost to naturally enrich the soil. 

Can you grow okra close together
Can you grow okra close together

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In conclusion

Okra is a great plant and can be planted easily in your square foot garden. remember to plant one okra sapling per square foot of garden space. Along with okra other plants can be planted as companions to better the yield and safeguard the crop. 

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