Okra Needs Some Growing Room

When you plant okra for growing sprouts, you can plant it closer together. If you plant your okra to harvest the pods, though, you need to plant it farther apart. The plants grow between 6 to 8 feet tall, so they need plenty room to get sunlight, develop their roots, and absorb enough water.


Spacing Okra Sprouts

If you use any vegetable to grow sprouts or “micro greens”, you will be harvesting the sprouts shortly after the first leaves or cotyledons appear. So, you can space plants close together to produce a large quantity of sprouts. Since you will be harvesting the sprouts before they develop the extended taproot, they can be planted in a shallow container, as long as you plant the seeds 1/2 inch deep.

Because of their hard shell, you will need to moisten or nick the seeds to help them germinate. You can accomplish this by one of the following methods.

  • Let the seeds sit in a pan or jar of water for 12 to 18 hours.
  • Place the seeds between wet paper towels overnight.
  • Cut nicks in the seeds with a file.

After you plant the seeds, put the container in a warm sunny location or use a cool white fluorescent light or a grow light and keep the soil moist but not muddy. As soon as the sprouts appear, you can harvest, wash, and use them, replanting more seeds for your next batch.

Spacing Okra Seeds in Your Garden

When you initially plant the seeds, plant them 1/2 to 1 inch deep and 3 inches apart in rows 2 to 3 feet apart. The exception to this is for those who have clay soil and live in a windy area. Clay soil can dry and crack leaving the okra unstable if it has not developed a good taproot. In this circumstance, you should change the depth of the seeds to 1 or even 2 inches deep.

After the seedlings grow to between 2 and 3 inches tall, you can thin the plants by choosing the strongest plants and leaving 18 to 24 inches between the strongest plants. This is the best method to ensure that you have enough healthy plants in your garden because not all of the seeds you plant will sprout and thrive.

One additional spacing concern in your garden is if you grow more than one variety of okra and want to save the seeds. In this case, the different varieties of okra should be planted 500 to 1600 feet apart from each other to prevent cross pollination.

Spacing Okra Seedlings

Because okra’s taproot is fragile, transplanting okra is not recommended. However those living in cooler climates may find that growing okra indoors and transplanting the seedlings helps them shorten the time they have to wait to harvest their okra.

To grow seedlings, plant two seeds each in multiple peat moss pots filled with vegetable potting soil. Cover the seeds with 1/2 inch of soil. When the plants are 2 to 3 inches high, cut off the weaker plant. When you are ready to transplant the seedlings, water them well an hour before transplanting and remove the pot or slit the sides of the pot. Then, plant the seedlings 18 to 24 inches apart in rows 2 to 3 feet apart at 1/2 inch deeper than they were in the pot.

Spacing Okra in Containers

If you want to grow okra in a container, the container needs to be 12 to 14 inches deep to provide room for the taproot and at least 10 inches in diameter or large enough to provide plants 18 to 24 inches between them. Plant the seeds 3 inches apart and 1/2 inch deep. Then, thin the plants to 18 to 24 inches apart when the plants are between 2 and 3 inches, leaving only the strongest plants.

Unless you want to can, freeze, or pickle some okra or save okra seeds, four to five plants should provide you with plenty of okra.

Text: Garden.eco