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

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

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

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 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

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.

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