Okra is a vegetable that grows very well in Kerala’s climate. They can be grown in grow bags on the terrace or sacks. They also grow well in ground without shade. Saplings are developed from sowing seeds. Before sowing, it is ideal to soak the seeds in a solution with 20% pseudomonas for some time. This aids in the quick growth as well as in increasing immunity of the saplings. The seeds should be sowed in protrays first. The saplings should then be replanted. Dig holes and fill them with a mixture of neem oil cake, bone powder, dry leaves along with any organic manure like cow dung powder, goat or chicken manure. Then cover the holes and plant the saplings. Dropping a few leaves of chromolaenaodorata will ward of nematodes.
Plant the saplings 45cms apart. Make rows 60cms apart. If grow bags are used, then sow at least 3 seeds in one bag. Retain a healthy one and uproot the others. Once 3 -5 leaves are grown, give organic manure in liquid form once a week. Water every two days if there is no rain. Mulching during the summer season will reduce the amount of water required.
ArkaAnamika is a green coloured variety with no branches. Salkeerthi is a tall variety that has light green colour while Aruna is tall with red colour. Susthira gives yield for a longer period. Elephant tusk is a local variety that is tall with green colour.
Leaf curling bugs and pseudostem weevil are two major pests attacking okra. They can be driven away by using any good organic pesticide.
It contains many vitamins that help in digestion. Vitamin A, C, and K, Calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, iron, zinc, and copper. It can be used to cook many delicious delights like toran, mezhukupurati, theeyal, sambar etc. Okra can be easily grown on terraces or in kitchen gardens. Moreover it can be grown throughout the year.