online guide has been created for you to successfully
grow a variety of plants that thrive in the tropics,
using native seeds and plants to get growing with wise
advice from fellow backyard gardeners and
farmers. You are welcome to add your wisdom
and share growing and harvest tips and recipes. Send to
to the Pro-Organic Belize
Tropical Garden Grow Guide
Where you are the student and the teacher
start with okra, which will be one of the plants we will
to grow and eat as a featured plant for the month of May.
(Submitted by Josie Flowers)
OkraOkra is a warm weather crop that grows best in full sun. It is adaptable and will grow in most soils, though it performs best in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter such as compost. I really liked the Black Kow compost that I purchased at Reimers Feed Mill. However, a local less expensive source is Pyta Compost. Remember to work compost well into the first 6 inches if your native soil. If you are interested to testing your soil Ph before planting you can purchase a Rapitest Ph soil tester at Universal Hardware.
A common variety found at Reimers Feed Mill or Prosser Fertilizer is the Clemson Spineless. It is preferred for its tender pods as well as for not having those tiny spines that irritate your skin. Some other interesting varieties to look out for are Cow Horn, Burgundy and Zing Orange (pictured below) but there are many more out there to try out.
Okra can be grown all year round in Belize. Sow okra seeds about ½ to 1 inch deep and be sure to space them 3 to 4 feet apart in either direction to give them room to grow. You can soak the seeds overnight in lukewarm water to help germination. When the seeds are up, fertilize monthly with an organic fertilizer. I’ve found Jobes and/ or Espoma at Universal Hardware. It is suggested to water about 1 inch per week, but be sure to provide more if it is very hot.
Okra produces very quickly and is ready to harvest about 2 months after planting. Harvest the okra when it’s about 2 to 3 inches long every other day. According to the Farmer’s Almanac “Cut the stem just above the cap with a knife; if the stem is too hard to cut, the pod is probably too old and should be tossed. Remember wear gloves and long sleeves when cutting the okra because most varieties are covered with tiny spines that will irritate your skin, unless you have a spineless variety. Do not worry: this irritation will not happen when you eat them.”
After the first harvest, remove the lower leaves to help further and continue production. Also if your okra plant is getting too tall you can cut the leader steam to make the plant shorter. This will also encourage the plant to grow more vertical productive stems which will increase your harvest.
It is common in our wet and humid climate for the okra plant to get powdery mildew which is a fungal disease. Please find below an outline of ways to treat powdery mildew.
HOW TO TREAT POWDERY MILDEW
If your plants do develop powdery mildew despite your best efforts, don’t worry. There are many environmentally friendly options for eliminating the disease, including:
If you would like to try a new way to enjoy okra please find Fried Okra Patties recipe below.
Let us know if you like it.
Fried Okra Patties