Abelmoschus esculentus, okra is a famous vegetable in Australia and starts producing fruits only after eight weeks of sowing. Okra seeds can be sown in subtropical, and temperate regions of Australia during summer and spring seasons.
Soil should be appropriately prepared before sowing okra seeds. The addition of organic matter, compost, and mulch is an excellent approach to improve soil health and moisture retention. Seed sowing in rich and drained soil helps to improve growth and development. The soil pH should be maintained between 6-6.8, and any fluctuation should be carefully corrected by using amendment.
Varieties of Okra Seeds
Okra seeds are available in both open-pollinated, and hybrid forms. The most adequately grown okra varieties in Australia is Okra Clemson Spineless. However, gardeners can select any type according to growing soil, prevailing climate, and taste preferences.
Okra seeds must be soaked overnight and must be planted in the warmer soil for good germination. Seedlings must be thinned to provide optimal distance between individual plants. Seeds can also be sown in the trays to protect them from harsh environmental conditions, and various biotic, and abiotic stresses.
Okra seeds are germinated after seven days of sowing, and gardeners can purchase healthy, and vigorous seeds from various online stores in Australia. If seeds are not properly soaked, the germination may take around 21 days.
Okra grows well in the warmer regions and requires full sun for optimal growth. So, the growing place must be carefully selected to allow enough interaction of plants with sunlight. If okra seeds are sown in the containers, they must be placed in the sunny conditions to avoid adverse effects of partial shade.
Okra plants need adequate growing space to grow so individual seeds must be sown at an appropriate distance of about 50 cm apart for single plants, and 45 cm apart in the rows. Okra plants are compatible with growing with eggplant and pepper, so it allows us to get maximum yield of vegetables in space-limited conditions.
Fertilization, and Weeding
Okra seeds can produce healthy and vigorous plants and high-quality yield by proper fertilization, weeding, and other management practices. Okra can also be grown along with green manure crops to improve soil fertility and plant growth by multiple folds.
Insect, Pest Attacks
Okra plants are susceptible to significant damage nematodes, caterpillars, whitefly, termites, and aphids. So, growers should be careful to avoid the adverse effects of pests and diseases. Use of companion planting, crop rotation, and biological control is much more helpful than chemical control.
Verticillium wilt is one of the very common diseases of okra and causes wilting and yellowing of leaves. In comparison, okra plants in the tropical regions are more prone to powdery mildew that drives the development of different spots on leaves.
The okra pods should be picked when they are still fresh and young as late harvesting does not offer good taste. Wearing gloves is strongly recommended before harvesting as otherwise, gardeners may suffer from itching and allergy.