Okra is a nutrient-packed vegetable used in many recipes. It also helps thicken stews, soups and gumbos. Originating in Africa more than a thousand years ago, this vegetable thrives in hot climates, is fast growing and ready for harvest in about 60 days. Home gardeners can grow okra in containers if they are short on space or only want a few plants.
Choose the appropriate container that is at least 18 inches across and a foot deep. Your container needs holes in the bottom to ensure proper drainage. The pots used don't have to be fancy. Possible examples include a big bucket, a homemade wooden planter or a whiskey barrel.
Fill the container with well-drained potting soil. Potting soil is available at most garden supply centers or it can be made at home by combining equal amounts of compost, peat moss and perlite together. Start the okra when the nighttime temperatures do not fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and daytime temperatures are 85 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer.
Plant two or three okra seeds an inch deep into the soil for every square foot of space. Insert the seeds into the soil with your finger or a pencil and then cover the holes with potting soil. Firm the soil gently with your fingers. It takes two to three weeks for the okra seeds to germinate.
Place the container in a sunny location of your yard and then water the soil until water comes out of the drainage holes. Check the soil daily for moisture. In order for the seeds to germinate, the soil must remain moist. When the seeds germinate and the okra grows, water the soil, not the top portion of the plants to reduce disease.
Thin the okra plants to one seedling for every square foot of space. Wait until the okra are 2 inches tall, and remove the spindly or weaker plants.
Fertilize the okra after it is 6 or more inches tall. Mix and apply a water-soluble fertilizer or a granular fertilizer according to label directions. Fertilize the okra every four to six weeks.
Harvest the pods when they are 2 to 4 inches long. Pods left to grow longer become tough and stringy. Pruning shears are often used to remove the pods from the plants. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and gloves when harvesting because okra can cause your skin to itch. Harvest the pods every two to three days for an almost endless supply of okra.