Growing lady’s finger
Whenever I talk about lady’s finger, I remember, how I liked to eat the day before “maths exams”. As a child, my mom used to say,
“Those who eats lady’s finger more, they will become brilliant in maths”.
Haha! Whatever, the myths are, I loved to eat lady’s finger. Here is my story of growing lady’s finger from seeds to harvest.
How to grow lady’s finger?
Before stepping into the topic, let us make it clear that there are different varieties of lady’s finger, that can be grown. Meanwhile lady’s fingers are called using different names all over the world. Some of them are (that I came across):
- Bhindi in hindi
- Vendakkai in tamil.
If you are a newbie in gardening, starting this summer, then growing lady’s finger is the right choice.
HOW TO START?
Okra loves warm climate. Ideal temperature is 70F in daytime and 60F in nights. Summers are the best time for growing lady’s finger.
For growing lady’s finger, a well draining soil must be used. Usually, the plant grows faster and healthy in a well draining soil.
FERTILIZERS / MANURES
Natural / organic manures can be added initially at the time of soil preparation. Instant manures or fertilizers like seaweed, etc,. Can be added after the plants shoot shows up.
Lady’s finger should be “directly” sown. If you prefer transplanting, if planting before the last frost date, make sure you are giving more attention to the “fragile” tap root.
Or if you are directly sowing the seeds in the pots / containers, consider sowing seeds at a depth of ½ inch and 12 inches apart from each plant.
If you are using grow bags, then plant 2-3 seeds per bag with enough space.
Lady’s finger can withstand drought. But providing enough water in summers, the plant to grow faster and healthier. Water the plant in the mornings, to avoid pests.
Lady’s finger germinates and starts showing up in 2-3 weeks. If you see any weeds, clear it. At this stage, it needs good nutrients and warm climate. So water the plants daily.
2 weeks after germination, it is the best time to give, manures / fertilizers that enhances the growth of the plants.
This is the best time to provide fertiliser and manure. Keep adding nutrients to the plant at regular intervals to get healthier growth of okra.
FLOWER BUDS & POLLINATION
The flower buds of lady’s finger starts to appear in the 3rd to 4th week after germination.
The buds blooms so beautifully. Okra flowers are half-white or pale yellow with reddish core, so attractive.
These okra flowers are “self – pollinating” and we need not pollinate manually.
Pruning okra always makes the plant to grow faster. Okra grows up to 6-10 feet high. In that case, to make harvest easier, we shall prune them.
STAGES OF PODS GROWING
These are the stages of okra growing from flower to pods. A quick glance!
OKRA PODS – HARVEST
Okra pods starts to appear 3-6 days after the flowers appear. Wait for the tender lady’s finger to grow 2-4 inches and then start harvesting.
Harvest these pods daily based on their growth. Okra pods are ready for harvest in 2-3 days. If you let the pod to mature, their skin thickens and becomes unable to eat. Okra tastes good when they are tender.
If you missed any pods to harvest in their tender stage, dont worry! Instead save the pods for saving seeds. Generally speaking a lady’s finger plant can provide more yield in summers than winters.
The best way to pick okra pods is to wait for 2-3 days after the pods appear. Or try to break the last or tail part of lady’s finger. If it breaks easily then, it is tender!
DISEASE & PESTS
The common pests that I saw across my lady’s finger plants are aphids and ants.
I used neem oil cake to protect my affected plants. It worked pretty well. You can also use neem oil or any measures you prefer.
Meanwhile, when I see any pest in my plants, I usually water the plants especially at the infected areas forcely or wash the pests away. This helped me when the pests or disease is at the first stage.
SHEDDING OF OKRA FLOWERS
You can also come across many problems other than disease and pests while growing okra. Like, Shedding of flower buds, before they set to pods.
This is mainly because fluctuation of temperature. Either the temperature is not constant, too cold or too hot for the plant to grow.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF LADY’S FINGER
Lady’s finger is famous for its myth (as said before) that is
“Ladys finger is good for excelling in maths “
It is true because okra is rich in nutrients that helps the brain development. Okra mainly rich in
- Vitamin C
- Little amount of vitamin B, K
- Folic acid
- Calcium, magnesium
It helps in managing diabetes. Since growing lady’s finger is very easy to grow and maintain, do give a try this summer in your garden.
“Nothing tastes as good as growing your own greens!”
So I encourage you to grow okra in your garden and share your experiences with me. Hope you liked my story of growing lady’s finger. Comment me below how many pods you harvested this summer.
If you are interested in growing mint, click here : growing mint!