Okra requires a hot growing season, about two months from planting to beginning harvest. Harvest will continue as long as nights stay warm. Okra planted in cool soil germinates poorly or not at all. Seeds may be soaked for a few hours in warm to hot water to speed germination. I planted 5 year old seeds this year. Germination was spotty but I have plenty of plants for two people.
This is my okra. The other pics are from my neighbor's garden.
He planted earlier and is already cutting pods.
For best quality, harvest okra that is 3 to 4 inches long. Harvest the pods while they are young and tender and while they are easy to break or cut from stalk. For continued harvest, pickokra every day or two. Refrigerate harvested okra immediately.
To fry okra, slice the pods, roll the pieces in cornmeal, and fry them. I start mine in an iron skillet on top of the stove in just enough oil to start the frying. Once the okra is saturated in oil, I put the skillet in a 350 degree oven to finish frying. Oven fried okra cooks evenly and does not need stirring past the initial stir atop the stove. Restaurants batter and deep fry their okra.
Boiled okra is an acquired taste. Young pods of less than 3 inches long gently boiled and buttered are delicious. My MIL always put a few small pods atop lima beans or white field peas during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Okra is a definite improvement to vegetable soup. Sliced crosswise in small slices, it will almost disappear during cooking but imparts the delicious flavor and thickens the soup.
You can read even more about okra Here at TAMU.
Some of us do not thin to 12" apart as the experts advise.
A pod and a bud.
When the bloom falls off, the okra pod forms.
Four days from bloom to edible sized pod.