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Cultivation of Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)

Plant characteristics

It is a tropical direct sown vegetable with a duration of 90-100 days. This crop belongs to the family Malvaceae. A well drained deep soil is ideal for its growth. Optimum temperature range is 25-30 0C..

Varieties

Green / light green fruited: Pusa Sawani, Pusa Makhmali, IARI Selection 2, Kiran, Salkeerthi

Red fruited: Co-1, Aruna

Yellow vein mosaic resistant/tolerant: Arka Anamika, Arka Abhay, Susthira (all green fruited)

Seeds and cultivation

The three main planting seasons for Okra are February-March, June-July and October-November.

Seed rate

The seed rate is 8.5 kg/ha for the summer crop sown in February-March and 7 kg/ha for kharif crop.

Storage of seeds

Packing of okra seeds in polythene cover (700 gauge) increases the storage life up to 7 months.

Planting

For kharif crop, sow the seeds at a spacing of 60 cm between rows and 45 cm between plants. For the summer crop, soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before sowing and give a spacing of 60 x 30 cm.

Water management

Give pre-sowing irrigation, if soil is not moist enough. During summer, irrigate at intervals of 2 to 3 days.

Nutrient management

Apply FYM or compost as basal dose @ 12 t/ha. At the time of sowing, apply N, P2O5, and K2O @ 25, 8 and 25 kg/ha. Another 25 kg N per ha may be applied one month after sowing.

Note: For reclaimed soils of Kuttanad, a fertilizer dose of N:P2O5:K2O 75:5:15 kg/ha is recommended.

Weed management

Conduct weeding regularly and earth up rows during rainy season.

Pest management 

  • The important pests are jassids, fruit and shoot borer and root knot nematode.
  • Against jassids, use quinalphos, fenthion or fenitrothion as foliar sprays each at 0.05%. For controlling fruit and shoot borers, remove all drooping shoots and damaged fruits. Spray carbaryl 0.15% at intervals of 15 to 20 days. For controlling aphids, apply dimethoate 0.05%.
  • For the control of nematodes, apply sawdust or paddy husk at 500 g/plant or neem leaves or Eupatorium leaves at 250 g/plant in basins one week prior to planting and water daily. The effect of this treatment persists up to 75 days after sowing in summer season
  • Application of Bacillus macerans or B. circulans (1.2 x 106 cells per pit) before sowing is recommended for the control of root knot nematode (ad hoc recommendation).
  • For the control of pests, application of carbofuran granules at the rate of 0.5 kg ai / ha or phorate at the rate of 1 kg ai / ha at seeding followed by need-based application of foliar insecticides has been recommended. The application of granules is recommended only at the time of seeding.
  • In general, insecticides of plant origin may be used, as far as possible.

Disease management

Yellow vein mosaic

This is a common disease in okra, which shows vein clearing and vein chlorosis of leaves. The yellow network of veins is very conspicuous and veins and veinlets are thickened. Fruits become small and yellowish green in colour. White fly (Bemisia tabaci) and leaf hopper (Amrasca biguttula biguttula) are vectors of this virus. Hence, their control is very important. Use of resistant varieties like Arka Anamika, Arka Abhay and Susthira, and destruction of host weeds (Croton sparsiflora and Ageratum sp.) are also effective.

Harvesting

The crop comes to harvest 45 days after sowing. Since the pods get matured very quickly, the selection of pods with maximum size but still tender is the point to be considered. A total number of 15-18 harvests can be made

Average yield

10-15 tonnes/ha.

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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.