Professional Tips for Outstanding Okra

Learn about the best ways to grow okra, along with a wire-and-twine trellis system for tomatoes and different critters that can help a garden grow.
plant okra in extra wide rows

plant okra in extra wide rows

One trick is to plant okra in extra-wide rows and with spread-out spacing to yield more pods per plant and make harvesting a snap.

Plant Wide

Backyard gardeners can adapt this technique to a small site by interplanting with a tall crop like corn.
Spacing okra plants 3' apart with 8' between rows allows more sunlight to reach the plants. The plants grow out like a bush instead of upright.

Remove Large Leaves

remove large leaves for larger pods

remove large leaves for larger pods

Make sure the okra pods are not shaded.

Larger leaves at the bottom third of the plant can be removed to avoid shading the okra pods. This will result in larger okra pods.

Interplant with Corn

interplant okra with corn

interplant okra with corn

Following these tips will result in more okra pods.

These techniques result in more okra pods per plant.
Where space is more limited, okra rows can be interplanted with rows of corn to achieve similar results.

Wire Cages

avoid using wire tomato cages

avoid using wire tomato cages

Avoid wire cages.

Traditional wire tomato cages encourage bushy plants (figure E) and can make harvesting a challenge.

Other Ways to Support Tomatoes

an alternative method of supporting tomato plants

an alternative method of supporting tomato plants

There are several different ways to support tomato plants.

Here's an alternative method of supporting tomato plants:

Run a wire over the tomato row, 6' high. Tie two lengths of twine loosely around the base of each plant. Connect to the guide wire in a V pattern off of each plant. Manually train the vines up the twine, rewrapping every two weeks.

The plants will get more sun, producing bigger, quicker, showier fruit that ripens sooner and is easier to harvest.

Deadheading, or pinching off spent flower blooms, encourages flowering plants to produce new blooms, which will attract more pollinators. Lantana and zinnia are especially effective when planted en masse since their large flower clusters are easier for butterflies to see.

Butterflies, hummingbirds and caterpillars can be extremely beneficial in pollinating a vegetable garden.

Butterflies can be guaranteed by introducing them to the garden as caterpillars. They need a sunny location and a host plant such as fennel, dill or parsley.

Butterflies also need a moisture source. A birdbath filled with wet mud or sand allows them to take in the moisture they need.

Next Up

Tips for Harvesting Tomatoes Early

These tricks will protect young tomato plants so that an early harvest is possible.

In Your Words: 9 Tomato Planting and Growing Tips to Try

These tomato tips from our readers combine folk wisdom with science and a little luck. Try them and see if they boost your harvest.

Vertical Gardening With Tomatoes

Growing tomatoes up rather than out is probably the most popular vertical gardening technique of all. Here are two tried and true ways.

A Few Tips for Healthy Tomatoes

You'll get the choicest summer fruit if you follow these tips.

Tips for a Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden

Raised-bed vegetable gardening takes very little space and allows vegetables to be grown closer together.

Growing Cucumbers Vertically

Cucumbers feel right at home growing vertically, either on a trellis or in a tomato cage.

Block Planting Vegetables in Beds

An easy way to grow crops is in beds, where the gardener can focus on improving the soil, removing weeds and planting dense blocks of vegetables in a manageable, defined area.

Tips for Protecting Corn From Disease, Pests and Animals

Use these DIY tips to keep weeds and insects away from corn crop before harvesting.

Tomato Types

This Latin American fruit comes in thousands of varieties. Decide what to grow based on your needs and your garden space.

Controlling Pests and Diseases on Pea Plants

Protect and maintain pea plants by taking a few simple, effective steps.

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Discover Made + Remade

See the latest DIY projects, catch up on trends and meet more cool people who love to create.

Make It. Fix It. Learn It. Find It.