Introduction & Uses:
Okra commonly called as Lady`s finger of bhindi (Abelmoschus esculentus) is widely grown crop from tropics to sub-tropics & warmer part of temperate zones of Nepal. Tender fruit are used as vegetable whereas matured fruits & stem containing crude fibers which are used in paper industry. The medicinal properties of okra are associated with genito-urinary disorders, spermatorrhoea, & chronic dysentery. It is rich in vitamin A, B & C with little iron.
It is believed to be originated from Africa or Asia (Thompson & Kelly).
Herbaceous annual with bisexual flower.
Self-pollinated crop but usually upto 10% cross pollination occurs by insects which makes it as often cross-pollinated crop.
The major recommended varieties of okra in Nepal are:
- Arka Anamika
Introduced varieties include:
- Pusa sawani
- Parbhani Kranti
- Pusa Makhmali
- Pusa A-4
- Varsha Uphar
- Hissar Unnat
Hybrid varieties include:
DVR-1, DVR-2, Varsha and Vijaya, Adhunik and panchali, Hybrid No 6
Climate & Soil:
It requires hot & humid weather for growth of okra. Soil temperature required for germination is 16 degree Celsius whereas optimum temperature required is 24-27 degree Celsius. It is desirable to maintain range of 30-35 degree Celsius for optimum pollination.
Light soil ranging from sandy loam to loam is better for its growth. Heavy soil requires good drainage facility for better performance & ideal pH is 6.0-7.5.
Manuring & Fertilization:
The recommended dose of fertilizer for okra is 20 tons of well decomposed FYM & 160: 120: 60 kg NPK/ha. Full dose of P & K with FYM are applied at the time of field preparation with 1/3rd nitrogen fertilizer. Remaining dose of nitrogen should be applied after 4 weeks of sowing & at flowering period.
It can be grown all round the year except the frost & extreme cold. The sowing & harvesting period at different geographical regions are tabulated below:
Okra should be planted in ridges during summer season with priming for 12-24 hours. Ridges & lines should be prepared in east-west direction for easy passing of air during summer & rainy season. Seed drill can be used.
Seed rate & Spacing:
Summer: 20-35 kg/ha
Rainy: 10-12 kg/ha
Summer: 30-45 * 20-30 (cm * cm)
Rainy: 60 * 30 (cm * cm)
For hybrids: 60 * 40 (cm * cm)
Sufficient moisture is essential during period of sowing. First irrigation should be given after the seed has germinated subsequent irrigation, may be given at interval of 4-5 days in summer.
Weed competition is higher for okra crop that account for more than 50% yield loss. Hoeing & weeding should be done at regular intervals. It requires 2-3 weeding in summer with frequent in rainy. Pre- plant application of pendimethalin @ 0.75 kg ai/ha with 1 hand weeding at 40 days after sowing is recommended.
Harvesting & Yield:
Young pods tender & free from fibers should be harvested at every three to four days interval. Frequent picking is essential to increase the fruiting & yield of okra.
An average yield of 6-8 tons green fruits per hector during spring-summer & 9-13 tons in rainy season is optimum.
Since fruits are perishable, they degrade after harvesting. For local market long fruits are graded, cooled & filled in jute bags or baskets, covered or stitched & then water is sprinkled over them. It helps in maintaining turgidity of fruits & save products from bruises, blemishes & blackening.
Suitable storage condition is at 7-9 degree Celsius with 7075% RH for couple of days.
How can you produce okra seed?
Isolation distance between two varieties is 400 m since it is often pollinated crop. No special agronomic practices. When green fruits lose their green color & become hard, they are harvested. To avoid shattering of seeds it should be picked periodically before fruit burst from top. Fruits are dried for week & finally threshed. Average yield is 1012 quintal/ha.