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The Guide to Growing Okra: Pick a Perfect Pod—The Complete Guide to Growing, Cooking, and Eating Okra

Norann Oleson, Editorial Director of Food Gardening Network

Norann Oleson, Editorial Director of Food Gardening Network

Come—let’s plan your perfect patch of tender, sweet okra!

If your nose starts to crinkle when you think about okra, maybe it’s time to give it another look. Okra is so much more than something you add to soup. You can grill it, roast it, pickle it—and, of course, cook it up in gumbo to take advantage of its flavor and its ability to thicken up a sauce.

While okra loves those hot, humid summer days, you can actually grow okra just about anywhere, and in every setting from containers to open land. And it’s easy to grow! If you’re ready to give okra a try, let’s get going!

First is the collection’s Introduction, where you’ll learn some of the basics about okra and how to choose the right variety to grow. You’ll also get the history of this slender pod that has been pleasing palates for thousands of years!

Next, in the Feature Articles, you’ll get specifics about okra gardening—from the many different categories of okra plants to planting seedlings, watering, fertilizing, harvesting, cooking, and storing your okra. Okra’s a prolific plant, so you’ll have a lot of choices.

There’s a lot to know about okra gardening, so even if you’re a veteran, you might learn something new. We aim to gather everything there is to know about okra gardening into this single collection!

We’ve got seven fun Plant Profiles with the more popular varieties listed, including options for gardeners around the country and those who want to grow okra in containers.

While there are dozens of varieties of okra, we’ve chosen these seven okra plant profiles because these are some of the most commonly grown. If you’d like us to include another okra variety that appeals to you, please let me know by commenting below.

After all, this is Food Gardening Network, and we want to include the knowledge of all our gardening readers in everything we do. Your input is just as important to us as anything we come up with on our own!

We do think you’ll love the okra Recipes we’ve compiled for enjoying the fruits of your labor (and while we treat okra like a vegetable, technically, it’s a fruit). Our recipes cover age-old classics and modern takes on making the most of these tender, tasty pods.

From side dish to main dish to super snacks, you’ll find plenty to do with your okra harvest—and really be able to enjoy this unique food!

After that, you’ll be interested to learn how eating okra can improve your health in Nutrition Facts about Okra. You probably knew okra was nutritious—but did you know that slime factor has a healthy benefit?

Then there are the Home Remedies & Health Benefits of Okra where you’ll learn how okra is thought to help heart health, prevent cancer, and slow the progression of osteoporosis. You’ll even discover how you can use okra to take care of a sore throat, dry skin—even as part of a natural first aid kit!

Because we want you to have everything there is to know about okra at your fingertips, we’ve included a Resources section that’s complementary to this collection. You can take a deeper dive into okra growing like the pros and even buying okra plants when you check out these additional resources.

As always, we’ve included a brief Glossary in case you need a deeper explanation of any key terms. Be sure to let us know if there’s something else you need explained!

I’m off to start my gumbo right now, but I hope you’re ready to start planning your okra planting!


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