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How to grow Okra/Bhindi/Ladies finger from seeds to harvest in India. End to end guide for a beginner.
Hey there, I am excited to discuss growing Okra from seeds. Okra is also known as Bhindi in Hindi and Ladies finger in English. This is a comprehensive guide for novice gardeners. Let us get started now with a bit of introduction. Okra is a very common vegetable in the Indian diet. It is a favourite part of the recipe for many Indian dishes. This is a very commonly grown vegetable also. Simple steps and easy care for these vegetable plants makes it a favourite plant for home gardeners as well.
Step1: Seeds sprouting Okra/Bhindi/Ladies fingers end to end beginner guide
Choose the seeds of good quality. We suggest buying seeds from a trusted supplier. To start with asking your friends about their experience or observe user reviews if you are looking for buying online.
Image Source OKRA SEEDS
To germinate seeds quickly and effectively, we suggest soaking the seeds in water for around 8 to 10 hours. Use cocopeat based potting mix for sprouting seeds. Place the seeds around 1.5 to 2-inch depth. It is better to use a seedling tray for the same. You could cover the seedling tray or pot with a plastic cover for faster germination. Make few small holes in the cover for air flow.
Image Source GERMINATED OKRA SEEDS
Keep the seeds to germinate in a warm place. In harsh weather conditions, you could place them indoor as well. Choose a warm and well-lighted corner.
Image source SPROUTED SEEDS IN TRAY
Okra takes around a week to 10 days for germination. This is a summer season crop But work well in almost all seasons. Wait for the saplings to grow around 2 to 3 inches tall and then transplant them to a bigger pot.
Step2: Choosing the pot and soil for Okra
Choose a pot which is at least 10 inches in depth and 10 inches in width. One pot per plant is a good combination. If you are planting in a big container have one plant for square feet. You can also choose grow bags of the same dimensions.
Image Source OKRA TRANSPLANTED TO POT
Image Source OKRA PLANT IN GROW BAG
We recommend using a good potting mix. You can check out our DIY POTTING MIX. We do not recommend using the ordinary soil directly. Soil may contain pathogens and may not contain all required nutrients.
If you have decided to use any soil: check out our organic fertilizer.
Step3: Watering and taking care till harvest for Okra
Okra is a hot weather crop. It can sustain very high sunlight and can survive in low water levels.
We recommend watering the plants only when the top surface is dry. If you are using a cocopeat based potting mix, it retains water inside and help okra grow well.
Usually watering once in 2 to 3 days is sufficient. Under very hot and humid conditions water every day. during winter and rainy seasons check the moisture content of the soil before watering.
Many times plants are killed by overwatering. Insert your finger into the soil to check moisture inside before watering.
Step4: Pests and Harvest
Usually, okra plants get affected by Aphids, Leaf miners, Mealy bugs. We suggest using only organic fertilizers.
The best option for these insects is using neem oil. Dilute neem oil with water in the ratio of 1:50 and spray on the plants. We recommend spraying it in the morning or in the evening. Plants will not be able to withstand high sunlight as well as neem oil spray together.
It is easy to identify when the Okra veggies to harvest. Check when the veggies take good length and shape. Do not discard the plant until it gives around 15 to 20 Okras. The plant keeps growing high if you give good support. Let it lean on the compound wall or balcony railing for support. You can also use threads to tie it up for support.
Hope you enjoyed reading it. Happy gardening :)
Frequently asked questions about growing Okra/Bhindi/Ladies finger at Home and Balcony
1. How to germinate seeds
1. Should we soak the Bendi or Okra seeds overnight for better germination?
Better to soak the seeds before sowing. Some seeds may not require soaking but Bhindi needs soaking. Soaked seeds will germinate quickly.
2. Should we use the seedling tray or direct sow is recommended?
Start with seedling tray. We should transplant to pot 6 to 7 days after sprouting. Okra roots grow longer so it would struggle in the seedling tray after a week of sprouting.
3. What is the best season?
Summer is the best season to grow okra because hot weather crop. Its germination process will strong in this seasons.
4. Will it germinate in all seasons?
Bendi seeds are available in all the seasons. It can germinate in the season also, but it will give the best performance in this seasons.
5. How many days will it take to germinate? Minimum - maximum
It will germinate in a week. During the germination period, the soil should be moist.
6. Should we cover the pot with the plastic cover for better germination?
Starting 2 to 3 weeks, we can cover plants by the plastic. To maintain the constant temperature. Later need to transplants to the pot or directly to the land by removing the plastic
7. Can we keep it indoor after sowing or we should keep it outdoor?
It is better to grow in the outdoor because it needs 6 hours sunlight every day. So we need to place it where it can get the sunlight every day.
8. Which container is suitable? Rectangular, round?
Round container is enough for okra because its roots will not much longer.
9. What temperature is required?
It requires 20' to 35' temperature, to perform well. In this temperature okra will encourage the quick growing.
2. What potting mix to use?
1. Will the coco peat base potting mix be sufficient or does it need soil only?
Almost all the plants required fertilizer and compost. If you are using our potting mix, no need to invest for any other compost or fertilizer. Our potting mix has fertilizer and compost content on it.
3. How to water?
1. Does it need a lot of water or very less water?
In rainy season most all plants does not take more water. it requires less watering to grow. We suggest watering like below:
Summer: Water 3 days once.
Winter: 5 to 6 days once.
Rainy season: No need in case rainwater directly flowing to the plant. Otherwise 6 days once. This suggestion is with assumption that you use cocopeat based potting mix
2. Will it sustain high sunlight?
It can sustain the high sunlight because it is a summer season crop it needs 6 to 7 hours sunlight every day.
3. Does it grow indoor in a shade or less sun?
Better to keep the plants in the outdoor. Because it needs 6 to 7 hours sunlight every day. You can grow indoor also make sure that plants should be placed, where it can get four to five hours sunlight every day.
1. What are the common diseases it gets? Like root decay, white flies, many are there like this?
Aphids, stinkbugs, and corn earworms are the common diseases. In case your plant facing this problem we advise to use “Neem oil”. Neem oil can clear the complete diseases, also, it helps to keep healthy the plants.
1. How many days it takes to grow from seed to harvest stage?
Okra will take 50 to 60days to grow from the seed to harvest. Until those days, we have to add water, fertilizer, compost (potting mix) and Neem oil (In the case of any diseases) properly.
2. How to identify it is ready for harvest? ( mention the height of plant or fruit colour )
Only the color is not the good indicator. When okra reached 3 to 4 inches in the length it ready to harvest.
3. How Harvest? Should we remove from the root or just cut and it grows again?
You can pluck the Bendi directly from hand. But handle the plant gently while doing so. You can also cut the tomatoes from pruning secateurs safely, it will re-grow again.