Whether you’ve already planted okra in your garden or are just thinking about it, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is what other plants to plant alongside it.
It’s essential that you choose companions for okra that not only complement and support it but also help it thrive.
The trick is to figure out which nearby plants may be beneficial and which might be bad for your okra crop.
To help you make the best decision for your garden-growing needs, let’s examine some of the best and worst okra companion plants.
Good Companion Plants for Okra
As mentioned, there are certain plants that will benefit okra and others that won’t.
Let’s start by looking at the good neighbors, as these are the plants you’ll want to consider planting near okra.
- Brussels sprouts
By planting some of these good companions around your okra patch, you’ll likely have a healthier crop this year.
What NOT to Plant With Okra
It’s not just about finding the right plants to help your okra grow; you also want to avoid planting certain plants next to it.
Growing bad companions nearby can leave your okra susceptible to diseases, pest invasions, and other problems.
Here are some of the plants to avoid growing with okra:
- Sweet potatoes
Other than these, okra does not have many bad neighbors.
How to Grow Okra
It’s easy to plant and maintain okra in an outdoor garden or even in containers, as long as you follow some basic requirements.
When planting okra:
- Choose a location with full sun exposure—at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.
- Make sure the soil is fertile and well-draining. It really prefers sandy soil.
- Plant seeds outside in the ground or start them indoors about 4 weeks before the last frost in the spring.
- Space out okra plants appropriately (60 x 60 cm) for optimal growth .
- Weed regularly when plants are young, and mulch heavily when plants are mature.
- Water deeply but infrequently.
- Harvest pods regularly; if you wait too long, they can become tough and difficult to eat.
- Don’t forget to fertilize your soil.
To make sure your okra grows strong and healthy, you’ll need to make sure it’s getting all the nutrients it needs.
Okra is not a heavy feeder, but it will benefit from adding a balanced NPK fertilizer once or twice during the growing season. So, you’ll also want to make sure you’re providing fertilizer that has phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium .
You should also consider adding compost or aged manure around your okra plants, as this will supply additional nutrients over time and help keep the soil moist.
Another thing to keep in mind is garden pests that can affect okra. These pests can not only cause damage to the plants but also reduce yields, so it’s important to be aware of them.
Aphids, stink bugs, and whiteflies are some common garden pests that might affect okra. Do what you can to prevent, eliminate, or keep plant pests under control organically.
One common problem that can arise when growing okra is plant disease. Diseases like Fusarium wilt, powdery mildew, and root-knot nematodes can create an environment that’s not good for your crop.
It’s easy to spot these plant diseases. Look out for yellowing of the leaves as well as wilting of the foliage.
In some cases, you may even be able to see white spots on the back side of your okra leaves. If you spot any of these symptoms, take action quickly.
How to Harvest
Harvesting okra is relatively easy, but you’ll want to know a few tips before you start. Here’s how to do it:
First, pick the okra when the pods are about two days old. At this point, they will be soft and gooey when cooked.
To pick an okra pod, hold it gently and cut the stem off with a sharp object.
Also, go out every day and look at your plant and pick the ready pods that you see. The more you do this, the more fruits will emerge day by day.
Store your harvested okra well to maintain freshness, or eat it within a few days of picking.
How to Store Okra
If you want to make sure your harvested crop stays fresh for longer, it’s best to store okra in the vegetable crisper in the refrigerator. However, put them in a perforated plastic bag before placing them inside.
Okra also freezes well if stored properly; just be sure to blanch it before freezing so it stays fresher longer.
If you don’t want to refrigerate your okra, make sure to use it within two or three days for the best results.
Where to Buy Seeds
So, now that you know all that you know, it’s time to purchase some seeds. Fortunately, there are plenty of online stores that sell good-quality seeds.
Most garden shops may also have some high-quality organic seed options in stock. And if not, they may be willing to order them especially for you if you don’t want to purchase them online.
If you want to save a bit of cash, try saving your seeds after each harvest.
Carefully choose the companions you want near your okra plants for an ideal garden. By carefully selecting the best companion plants and avoiding the bad ones, you can get the most out of your okra (lady’s finger) in the garden.