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Old February 8, 2011   #1
peebee
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Default Can you grow okra in So CA?

I have tried for the past 2 years to grow okra in my zone. Live a few miles from the coast a bit south of Los Angeles. Last year, one plant from seed did grow, but it was small and produced one lonely weird shaped okra that was inedible.
No local nurseries ever stock plants either, so I guess that tells me-DUH!-that it will not grow here. I see them at the farmers markets, but they must be from up north from me.
Perhaps any one of you has tried or can give me pointers?

Thanks!
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Old February 8, 2011   #2
RinTinTin
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Okra needs heat AND humidity. It is native to tropical W. Africa.
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Old February 9, 2011   #3
ireilly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peebee View Post
I have tried for the past 2 years to grow okra in my zone. Live a few miles from the coast a bit south of Los Angeles. Last year, one plant from seed did grow, but it was small and produced one lonely weird shaped okra that was inedible.
No local nurseries ever stock plants either, so I guess that tells me-DUH!-that it will not grow here. I see them at the farmers markets, but they must be from up north from me.
Perhaps any one of you has tried or can give me pointers?

Thanks!
I agree with RTT but I would modify that to say that heat and light are more important than humidity, as we simply don't have as much humidity as Houston and NOLA, two other moist places I have lived. Dallas is usually pretty dry mostly.

I grew Clemson Spineless in raised beds here last year and the ones that got the most light and heat were stout plants that produced continually. Most were about 2 inches in diameter at the base.

When the temperatures dropped in October and November the plants simply stopped growing, so if you have low temperatures or sunlight that might be the reason for your experience. They must have direct sunlight or they will be spindly and low yielding.

Only issue with this variety is that the pods will get tough once they get bigger than about 4 inches or so.

I have a good bit of seed I got last May left over, if anyone wants some they can PM me. Many people either can't grow it or don't like it because of the slime inside the pods, which frying tends to evaporate. I like okra in gumbo too though.

Walter
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Old February 10, 2011   #4
b54red
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I have grown okra for years and it needs a lot of water and not only hot days but hot nights as well.
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Old February 10, 2011   #5
recruiterg
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What is the farthest north it can be successfully grown? I am in Minneapolis and thinking of giving it a shot this year.
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Old February 10, 2011   #6
habitat_gardener
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I grew a few plants one year and got a few pods. I'd been told that it doesn't grow here in northern Calif. (cool dry summers, with nights in the 50s or rarely, and in a warm year, 60s), so I had to try it. I also saw a very happy and productive plant at the master gardener demo garden, which is warmer than my site and not windy, and they watered theirs a lot more. They grew a red variety from Seeds of Change, probably Red Velvet:
http://www.seedsofchange.com/garden_...tem_no=PS15999
So it depends on your microclimate and how much attention you're willing to give it.

Sandhill says the variety Emerald "yields well (even in the north)."
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Old February 10, 2011   #7
salix
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We shall see, I plan to try a few up here in northern B. C.!!
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Old February 10, 2011   #8
bitterwort
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Sure, you can grow it in Minneapolis, recruiterg. I've grown White Velvet and Aunt Hettie's Red (Victory Seeds) and a couple of shorter types, both by direct seeding and from transplants (carefully, they supposedly don't like their roots disturbed). Aunt Hettie was about 7' by the end of the season, at least in a warm summer. There are always a couple of growers at the Minneapolis Farmers' Market offering it as well. Give it a shot!
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Old February 11, 2011   #9
recruiterg
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Thanks Bitterwort...I tried to get down to Dowling CG this summer a few times, but my son's crazy sport schedule prevented me. I plan to check it out some time this summer.
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Old February 11, 2011   #10
freelancer79d
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I grow Okra in SOCAL. It does great for me!!! I plant Clemson Spinless.
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Old February 18, 2011   #11
b54red
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One other thing on okra is that it needs a lot of fertilizer to produce well. I give mine heavy feedings of liquid fertilizer every week or two especially once it starts setting pods. It really needs a good supply of nitrogen on a regular basis because it depletes the soil so fast. My plants generally get about 10 feet tall. If they don't get enough water and nutrients they stop producing or produce only small pithy pods. For the okra pods to get good size without getting pithy they need to grow very fast. You should have to cut them every other day and sometimes during peek production every day.
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