When to Harvest Okra

When to harvest okra for the soft tender pods perfect for the dinner table.  It only takes a few short days for an okra pod to get to harvestable size after blooming.  Harvest often and look for small pods.

It takes approximately 70 days for an okra plant to produce pods ready for harvest. This will vary according to your variety so be sure and check the seed packaging.  Some will be ready sooner some later.  But 70 days is a general idea. 

Okra buds just ready to blossom and produce fruit.

How Big Should Okra Be For Harvest

But that doesn’t mean just start picking on that date.  You’ll want to look for the pods that are perfect for your table.  

Okra pods form from the base of the blossoms.  When that bloom falls, the okra grows quickly and it can be just a few days before it is ready to pick.  Okra are good for harvest when they are about 2-4 or 5 inches long or about the length of your finger.  

If you leave them longer they may get woody.  The okra pod matures and the seeds inside mature as well.  The pod hardens up to protect those seeds and prepare for maturing and drying.  No one likes hard  woody okra. 

Okra blossom peeking out between the large okra leaves.

Okra Pods That Are Too Big

Sometimes when  you are harvesting you may miss a pod or two and they will get overlong before you harvest again.  If you are harvesting and end up with some too long okra that you missed last time you harvested (it happens!) be sure and cut it off the plant anyway.  

The okra plant is trying to produce as many seeds as possible.  If you keep it harvested it will keep on producing more.  If you leave those pods on the plant it will focus its energy to developing that seed.

How to Harvest Okra

To take the pods off the plant you want to cut the stems.  The stems of the okra pods are pretty tough. 

Be sure to use a snips, knife or pruners to cut them off from the plant. You could potentially damage your okra plant if you try to pull them off.  The bark will stick and you’ll pull a strip from the main stalk which will damage the plant. 

I personally prefer using a snips or a pruning tool to do this.  A knife certainly works but it can be awkward to cut through the stem and not slip and cut to the stalk of the main okra plant. 

What to do with the okra pods. 

Once harvested bring your okra in and either prep to cook or preserve.  The okra can store on the counter for a day if you are eating them soon.  Or you can wash them, put them in the fridge. What I usually do is freeze them right way if we are not having them for dinner that night.

To find more about growing okra from seeds to harvesting check out… Growing Okra in my new southern garden: Okra grows well in hot humid climates, and can produce abundantly. Easy with an abundant harvest.

Close up image of an okra pod.

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When to Harvest Okra image, linked to Pinterest.


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