You can grow okra from seeds if you live in an area where the soil is nice and warm at planting time; but even so, you’re much better off starting your seeds indoors and transplanting your seedlings as soon as the soil has warmed up. That way, you’ll get a little jump on the growing season—especially important if you live in a slightly cooler region with a shorter growing season. If you’re going to do your planting in late spring or in the summer, then direct seeding is the way to go.
When starting from seeds, sow them directly in the garden in early spring, after the last frost (or in summer and/or early fall for succession planting). If you want another crop of young plants and you don’t want to deal with plants getting too tall, you can consider succession planting. But okra tend to be prolific enough that you may not need to do this unless you lose some of your first plants.
When you do get your okra garden going, don’t overdo it with fertilizer. Too much nitrogen-rich fertilizer at the beginning of the plant’s growth cycle will give you an abundance of leaves, but not many pods. You’ll have really robust plants, but you’ll wait longer for the pods to emerge.
Have you tried growing okra from seeds, or seedlings? Which method do you prefer—and why? Please share your experiences with us.