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Many people develop contact dermatitis from touching the prickly hairs on okra plants and pods. The okra pods, called "lady fingers," should be bright green and free from shriveling and discoloration. To harvest the okra, use a pruner to cut the pods from the stem, leaving a portion of the stem on the pod; pulling the pods off may damage the plants.
Test the tenderness of the pod, try to cut into an okra pod with your fingernail. If you cannot cut through with your fingernail then it is tough and should be cut off and composted. Be sure to remove any overripe pods to stimulate continuing production. You should be able to make successive sowings from May through mid-August. The plants will produce until frost, which quickly blackens and kills them.
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