Okra is a fantastic plant packed full of much-needed vitamins and minerals. Not to mention the many tasty southern dishes okra’s pods can be used in. If your family really loves okra, you are probably wondering how many plants you will need to sustain your family of 4.
You need to plant 16 okra plants for a family of four. It’s recommended that you grow about 3-4 plants per person in your household. However, depending on how much okra your family consumes, you should increase or decrease that number accordingly.
In the rest of this article, I will go over important questions about planting okra. I’ll also tell you how to plant okra for your family, as well as a few tips for growing the healthiest okra. If you would like to learn more about how to grow an abundance of okra for your family, let’s dive right in.
How Much Okra Will One Plant Yield?
First, it’s essential to understand how many pods you can expect from a single okra plant. One okra plant can grow quite large and produce a lot of food, but how much exactly will one okra plant produce?
One okra plant will yield about 20-30 pods. Factors such as temperature, soil nutrients, plant variety, and how frequently the pods are harvested can significantly affect the number of pods produced. Okra plants that aren’t harvested regularly will stop producing pods prematurely.
Ultimately, how much one okra plant will yield can be dependent on several factors:
- Climate temperature.
- Variety of okra.
- Frequency of harvesting.
Does Okra Come Back Every Year?
Okra is a fantastic addition to any garden, so long as you have the space. However, when adding any plant to your garden, it’s essential to know what kind of commitment that plant will take, which largely depends on whether it’s an annual or perennial.
Okra can come back every year in warm climates since it’s technically classified as a perennial. However, this plant is more of an annual in colder climates, which means it will need to be replanted each year and harvested during the warmer months.
Okra certainly can be a perennial and grow on its own each year. However, if you live in a climate with cold weather, you will have to replant it. This isn’t a huge deal since okra is easy to grow, even from seed.
What Is the Best Month To Plant Okra?
When preparing a large patch of okra for a family of four or more, it’s essential to understand what months are best for planting. Okra is a hearty crop; still, there are times of the year during which your plants will grow much better, especially if they are just seedlings.
The best month to plant okra is in early March. However, this month can change based on the gardening zone you live in. Typically you should begin sowing your okra seeds 3-4 weeks before the last frost. Okra prefers soil temperatures above 65°F (18°C).
When preparing to grow a large number of okra plants, you should certainly do some research on the weather patterns in your area. Okra hates cold temperatures, and you can quickly lose your new plants to an unplanned cold front.
How Long Does It Take for Okra To Come Up?
Once you have your new okra plants in the ground, you won’t have to wait too long to see new growth. They tend to pop up quite quickly, especially in warm climates with full sunlight. However, it can take a little time before you will be able to harvest the okra pods.
It takes 2-12 days for okra to come up and about 65 days for the plant to reach full maturity. Once okra has matured, it will begin to produce pods 2 months after being planted. These pods will then need to be harvested regularly in order to maintain pod production.
As you can see, okra grows relatively quickly. Plus, you can harvest the pods all throughout the summer months. You may also be able to continue harvesting into the cooler months, like October, so long as you live somewhere with a warm climate or have access to a heated greenhouse.
How To Plant Okra for a Family of Four
Now that you understand more about okra’s growth patterns, it’s time to dive in and discuss how to plant okra for your family. Luckily, planting okra is pretty straightforward, and these plants are fairly forgiving in terms of care.
What you will need:
- Okra starts.
- A shovel.
- A hose.
How to plant okra:
- Sow the seeds indoors. You should begin to grow your okra seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before you intend on planting them. Generally, you want to aim to plant after the last frost in early spring. You should also plant them in large pots to make transplanting easier.
- Clear out any weeds. Okra is generally a sturdy plant, but it’s essential to clear out any weeds that might compete with the new plants for nutrients and light. As they grow bigger, weeds will stop being a threat. However, it’s still always a good idea to keep a tidy garden bed.
- Check the soil temperature. The soil should be 65°F (18°C) or warmer before planting your new plants. If the soil is too cold, wait to plant your okra until the ground has warmed up.
- Plant seedlings 12-24 inches apart (30-61 cm) and 1/2 to 1 inch (1.27 to 2.54 cm) deep. Okra plants grow quite large and will compete for light and space. Adequate spacing is necessary if you want your plants to produce many healthy pods.
- Water regularly. Okra doesn’t need a ton of water, but you should aim for about 1 inch of water per week. If you live somewhere hot, you may need to increase this amount. Just be sure the soil has good drainage.
Once you have your plants in the ground, it’s time to wait. Once okra fully matures, it begins to produce pods quite frequently, and you will find yourself harvesting them almost daily. Be patient, and you will quickly reap the rewards of this incredible plant.
Tips for Growing More Okra
Okra doesn’t need a lot in order to grow and produce pods. However, there are several things you can do to improve your okra plant’s pod production.
Tips for growing okra:
- Plant somewhere with full sun.
- Add manure to your soil.
- Add nutrient-rich mixture like Miracle-Gro Potting Mix to your soil.
- Keep your okra soil moist.
- Prune your okra plants regularly.
- Harvest pods at about 3-4 inches (8-10 cm) in length.
- Stake okra for added support as needed.
Okra does exceptionally well in hot climates, but it can certainly be grown in colder places during the warm months or in a greenhouse.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s cover some of the most common questions surrounding growing okra for a family.
Q: Do Okra Plants Keep Producing?
Okra plants keep producing until they get cold. Frost and cold weather will quickly kill okra plants and halt pod production. Okra will begin to struggle in temperatures below 70°F (21°C). Once your okra plant dies, you will need to replant them the next year during the early spring months.
Q: How Often Can You Harvest Okra?
You can harvest okra every other day. However, you should harvest it anytime you see a mature pod, approximately 3-4 inches (76-102 mm). This will ensure that your okra pods taste good and your plant continues to produce more fruit. The more you prune and harvest your okra, the better the yield.
Q: How Long Will Okra Plants Live?
Okra plants will live until the weather gets cold. Weather below 55°F (13°C) will kill your okra plants. Though this plant can technically be considered a perennial in warmer gardening zones, it’s an annual in climates with cold winters, which means it will need replanting each year.
Ultimately, how many okra plants you need for your family will be dependent on how much you guys enjoy consuming the pods. Typically you will want to plant about 16 okra plants for a family of four. That ultimately equals out to the yield of about four plants per person.